MURLEY TO MAR LODGE
4 days riding, 3 nights accomodation
Riding Difficulty: Intermediate (click for more information)
Approximate Distance Covered: 65 Miles
The listed price includes accomodation and meals (B, L, D). Please note, this route requires that all riders must be able to ride at walk, trot, canter and gallop. Terrain can sometimes be boggy or steep and guests may have to lead their own horse periodically. Riders are encourage to help out with the morning routine of catching, feeding, grooming and saddling the horses for the day.
This ride is perfect for those who want to get a taste of what riding in the Cairngorms is like! Due to the popularity of our longer Cairngorms holidays, we have created a perfect 4 day route to show those of you who only have a few days to spare some incredible views in this vast and varied landscape. This trip is ideal for those looking for a short break jam packed with adventure and amazing scenery.
Murley to Glen Esk: 15 Miles
We start our ride at our secluded riding centre set in the heart of Royal Deeside. The trail takes us up through heather and bracken as we leave the rolling hills and farmland of Aberdeenshire behind. The trail winds its way through Caledonian pine forest as we venture to the Forest of Birse. In the distance, we see a majestic castle peaking out between the trees. The terrain opens in front of us and ahead our trail can be seen climbing up over the hill pass. IHere, we pick up the Fungle road which is an ancient right of way that connects Aboyne to the Angus glens. It was one of the most important mounth roads in the area and was frequented by cattle drovers and whisky smugglers alike. Our path gradually gets smaller and small rivers cross the path in front of us as we get higher. The view below is absolutely breathtaking, with uninterrupted views over Glencat and beyond. In the distance, we can see the small hill where we started in the morning. Keep an eye out for soaring eagles above as we reach the top of the hill pass. We descend into Glen Esk, where we spend the night in a beautiful historic building.
Glen Esk to Ballater: 20 Miles
Today we ride deeper into the Cairngorms as we explore Glen Esk further. We ride past the Queens Well which is where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were refreshed by the spring water before continuing on to Invermark lodge where they stayed overnight on one of their highland tours. We climb up and out of the glen as we make our way onto the shoulder of Mount Keen, an impressive munro that has been in our sights for the last two days. We venture almost to the top of this imposing peak, the summit a mere few hundred metres ahead. Keep an eye out for mountain hares playing in the heather. Our long climb is rewarded with stunning views over the surrounding glens. We drop down into Glen Tanar before picking up the Whisky trail, a barely discernible track that winds up the sides of the glen through the heather.
Ballater to Spittal of Glen Muick: 12 Miles
A shorter day today allows us to relax a bit after the excitement and stunning views of the last two days. We spend a lot of the day in the forest as follow the river Muick tumbling it's way down to Ballater from the loch up ahead. Our ride takes us to the head of Loch Muick - a stunning loch located on Balmoral Estate. Keep an eye out for red deer! We explore the stunning loch and have lunch before saying goodbye to the ponies and heading back to Ballater for the night.
Spittal of Glen Muick to Mar Lodge: 20 Miles
Today we leave Loch Muick behind and climb again, this time on a trail that winds it's way beneath the towering crags of Lochnagar. Lord Byron once wrote "England thy beauties are tame and domestic, to one who has roved o’er the mountains afar. Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic, the steep frowning glories of the dark Loch na Garr.” This area is a wildlife reserve, home to eagles, ptarmigan, otters, mountain hares and red squirrels, so keep your eyes peeled as we pass this magnificent peak and head back into the beautiful Calendonian pine forest again. Our final day sees us following the river Dee as it winds its way through forest and heather. We finish our ride at the beautiful Mar Lodge
Price based on sharing a twin or double room - single rooms may be available (but cannot be guaranteed) at an extra cost. Single supplement is £180. If you are travelling alone and willing to share a room, you do not need to pay a single supplement as we often have other riders doing the same who are happy to keep costs down by sharing with another lone traveller of the same sex and wherever possible we try to match sharers by age etc too. Payment can be made by cheque, bank transfer or credit/debit card via PayPal below. Please contact us if you require our bank details for transfer.
Please email or phone us to check availability on the ride before paying deposits.