Glen Doll – Jocks Road to Davy’s Bourach

Glen Doll – Jocks Road to Davy’s Bourach. This is a 5m walk which follows Jock’s Road. Starting at Glen Doll car park, forest roads and good paths climb into Glen Doll before reaching the Bourach.

Hey Folks, how are you all doing?

Well, after getting all enthusiastic about our two days of summer last week, I was really hoping that we might keep that glorious weather.

We planned to get in some decent hillwalking over the weekend, doing part of Jocks Road.

Our wish was granted, the temperature remained above freezing, albeit dropping from 22.5 last Wednesday, a stunning day when I was in Edinburgh, to 9.5 on Saturday……

Still, our weather is what it is and I’d far rather spend my time, when it’s at least possible to get outside in Scotland, doing just that.

Getting out and about, spending time in our glorious mountainous scenery (not that we saw too much of it here πŸ˜‰ ) and with good friends too.

Plus there was also another reason for our quick jaunt and 10 mile hike up to Davy’s Bourach and back. Training.

Yep, our Ben Nevis climb is firmly in the calendar for the end of August.

It’s all very well going to the gym 3 – 4 times a week, but nothing compares to actually physically going up the mountains. That’s when you suddenly discover muscles, that you previously hadn’t known of!

You’ve seen me / us out walking with Liam in previous hillwalking posts, Dreish and Mayar and also Mount Keen. But this was Liam’s girlfriend, Catherine’s, first real jaunt up the mountains.

All of us are regular gym goers, but as I said above, nothing beats the true physical excersion of acually climbing the mountains, so this was Catherine’s induction.

Catherine did well. These mountains can be pretty intimidating in terms of their size, the terrain, the unexpected sheer cliff drops around each corner and the total effort and head around this whole thing that is required.

So, anyway, onwards with the photographs and talk through of the day….. 

Lynne Lockier standing in the entrance way to Glen Doll Ranger Centre

Glen Doll – Jocks Road to Davy’s Bourach

We arrived at 8.00 and parked in the Glen Doll car park.

That gave us just enough time for a quick cup of “posh” sachet coffee and a true Scottish snack, a tunnocks teacake, supplied by Liam.

A comfort break for all (it isn’t as easy for the ladies as it is for us blokes on the hillside πŸ˜‰ ), and we were ready to set off at 8.30.

Lynne, Catherine and Liam in the distance walking in the forest of Glen Doll.

We setting off through the trees.

Much of this areas has road built by the Forestry Commission.

It was particularly green and lush at this time of year.

Signpost "Jocks Road Braemar 14 miles".

From left to right, Catherine, Liam and a rare yours truly.

This is a brilliant and exhilarating walk. If you do do the whole 14 miles.

I’ve done the walk several times to Braemar. It’s possible to wild camp and pitch your tent anywhere between here and Braemar.

There’s no facilities and you’re fully exposed to all the elements.

But, then when you get to Braemar, you could have an evening in a hotel / hostel / bunk house there, before setting off to Aviemore via the Lairig Ghru, another 19 miles.

Lynne and start of Jocks Road path.

Above, Lynne showing off her new rucksack minus water bottle.

That water bottle had just tipped out all over my semi-new car. πŸ™‚

New trousers too, ready to hit the mountain trail!

End of the Glen Doll forest treeline and onto the mountain path.

After a good mile and a bit walking through the forestry plantation, we came to the end of the treeline.

This was now bare hillside.

Here the path begins it’s slow ascent some 700ft into the clouds.

Walking up Jocks Road looking back to Glen Doll forest treeline.

Above, looking back to the tree line where we began our ascent

There’s also a bridge in the centre of the photo.

We detoured onto that bridge on the way back.

You can also see just how low the clouds are over the mountain tops.

Further up Jocks Road path looking back to the Glen Doll Forest treeline.

Looking back again and now just over a mile away from the tree line.

Here you can see the path we followed as it winds it’s way upwards.

Lynne looking upwards on Jocks Road.

The Jocks Road to Davy’s Bourach path is well worn. But also well looked after with it being an ancient drovers route for cattle.

That’s what many of these ancient paths were in Scotland. Ways for farmers to get their sheep and cattle to market as quickly as possible, and no more so this one.

It was mainly sheep that were shepherded down this road, from Braemar to a market at nearby Kirriemiur.

A waterfall. The start of the White Water River.

The White Water river starts just above the waterfall here.

It begins it’s decent into the Glen then it flows all the way through Glen Doll and finally joins the River South Esk at Braedownie.

Catherine and Liam on Jocks Road with their waterproofs on.

As we headed further up Jocks road it was time to get the waterproofs on.

Although not raining heavily there was enough moisture in the air to get you pretty wet.

That’s why you need proper gear when attempting any kind of walking in these hills.

Five minutes in these conditions and if you were wearing jeans and trainers you could easily get soaked through and extremely wet. Which could lead to potential hypothermia!

Davy's Bourach door. Liam and Catherine standing beside bothy door.

At 11am we reached Davy’s Bourach and had a quick stop for some photographs.

We had a quick look inside to check for anyone there.

Fortunately it was empty. Being that it’s only supposed to be used in an emergency as an emergency mountain shelter!

Then that was it. A quick about turn and back down the path we went.

Plaque on side of Davy's Bourach which reads "Universal Hiking Club Glasgow Erected To The Memory of Five Members Who Died New Year 1959. R.I.P."

Above. To prove a point about what I said earlier.

Walking in these mountains is a serious business, especially in the depths of winter.

This plaque reminded us of that. Five walkers lost their lives whilst attempting to walk from Braemar to Glen Doll New Years day 1959.

They encountered storm force 11 winds, deep and driving snow and a severe wind chill of -25C.

Tragically, those experienced hill walkers lost their lives here. All five men died in a winter so severe it was four months before all their bodies were recovered.

Standing on the bridge in Glen Doll overlooking the White Water river.

When we had walked all the way back down to the tree line again, we crossed over the bridge that I mentioned earlier.

Looking back you can see how far we walked, being as we were in the clouds previously!

Lynne insisted we do this detour back. Which was a marked alternative pathway alongside the White Water, and a more open walk than through the forest earlier.

Walking through Glen Doll forest on the forest road back to Glen Doll car park.

The final walk back to the car park was peaceful and serene.

There was just the sounds of the birds, a light wind and our boots on the path.

It was a nice gentle troll. The end of a nice and not too challenging walk.

Lynne and Catherine with wine in Glen Clova Hotel.

After packing up, and leaving the car park, we drove the 4 miles down the glen to the Glen Clova Hotel.

Lynne and Catherine decided to celebrate the end of their walk by sharing a bottle of wine.

The drivers (Liam and myself) opted for some of the delicious home cooked food. Liam had a superb looking lemon drizzle cake and I had a bowl of a really satisfying cullen skink served with freshly make brown bread. Delicious!

And just what I was looking for. We had taken rolls, fruit and snacks with us, but you can’t beat good home cooked food when you’ve truely earned it!

We all enjoyed the walk and the hospitality at the end. We’ve already booked into the climbers bunkhouseΒ at the back of the Glen Clova hotel for a future weekend.

We’ll be climbing up to Loch Brandy that weekend. I’m already looking forward to it.

The walk will be great, and I love the self catering part of using the bunkhouse. I wonder what kind of hillwalking breakfast I should prepare. Hmmmmm…..?

6 Comments

  1. lindsay

    i’m so glad you got away and enjoyed this time! it reminds me of new zealand, those mountains and green lush! gosh i miss it.

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com

      I loved your pictures of New Zealand and I can imagine how much you miss it, as I would miss this too. I’m so lucky that I have this just a few hours drive away.

  2. Shashi at RunninSrilankan

    Neil – wow – these pictures are simply breathtaking! With views like this, those miles must fly by – except when the rain comes! I was saddened to read the story behind that plaque though, but, I couldn’t help drooling at the sound of that lemon drizzled cake!

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com

      Thanks Shashi, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. It’s just such a lovely place to go at the weekend and clear your head from all things that you’ve had to deal with during the week!

      About the lemon drizzle cake. It looked absolutely fabulous. Liam said it was amazing, and I did take a picture, but unfortunately it did it no justice, sorry! πŸ™

  3. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    I would like a cuppa and a lemon drizzle cake, please. Especially after a colder rainy hike! But still, I continue to be struck speechless by what you and Lynne find on your adventures. It reminds me of a cross between the Pacific Northwest, North Carolina, and Hawaii. Nothing like what we have around here. Then again, we pretty much just have buildings, haha.
    One of my favorite qualities of you and Lynne is your adventurous spirit. I love that you make the time to go out there and hike and see the world around you. that is a beautiful thing!

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com

      Not only would we ensure that you have your cuppa and a nice slice of the lemon drizzle cake Susie, but also the prime seat to sit on beside the roaring log fire!

      Aw, thanks for your really kind comments. πŸ˜€ Lynne and I know we are so lucky in having such a beautiful (albeit wet) country to explore. It makes me sad when I talk to so many people on a daily basis that have rarely explored outside Glasgow or the larger Scottish cities. It’s actually pretty easy to get buses to the places where you can start these walks from too, so even the excuse of not having a car doesn’t work!

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