The second of my weekend walks was a rare visit to the North side of the Aboyne to Mortlich Hill. This picture shows Mortlich from Aboyne Golf club with the 17th hole lined by Autumn colors in the fore ground. Walking on the north side of the river Dee valley is a completely different experience from walking on the Fungle side. Mortlich does not reach the same altitude at a mere 1000ft but the walk packs in a lot of variety.
A flat walk through Aboyne takes you to Aboyne Golf club along side Aboyne Loch. Catch the Loch on a calm day and you will find a liquid Mortlich reflecting on its waters. The first, steepish climb takes you through bracken clad hillside with silver brich trees. As the ground flattens out modern fir plantation darkens the path in shade, all year round but this soon opens into a plateau of old birch, long grasses and ferns tracking burns and boggy areas. Just at the base of the next climb an old farm or bothy ruin lies tangled in bushes and vines. The trees disappear as the path inclines into the hill. At this time of the year the hill is rusty dressed in bracken ferns. A fence gives the opportunity to rest and to look across Aboyne to the magical fungle and to be honest you see Deeside more or less completely from east to west (on a clear day). Next is one of the steepest climbs I know of and funnily enough trees reappear, old and new Scot's Pine standing in a carpet of heather. Bright purple in late summer. A cairn adorns the summit, amongst the granite an old metal crest weathered and broken lies. Today the view was hugged in mist but the odd ray of sun shine pierced through.