Scotland’s most easterly Munro is ready to welcome walkers once more following the completion of a major path repair project.
Travel west from Aberdeen along the South Deeside Road for around an hour and you arrive at the Glen Tanar Estate, home of Mount Keen.
Although the shortest route to the Munro is from Glen Esk in the south, the most popular is the longer approach from the north, through the Caledonia Pine Forest of Glen Tanar – a route taken by many thousands of people each year.
As a result of the sheer number of walkers and the notoriously cold, wet, windy weather, the popular upland route had, however, fallen into serious disrepair.
It was highlighted as a priority path to repair as part of a project called The Mountains and The People, led by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland in partnership with the estate.
Nearly eighteen months after work began, the Mount Keen upland path has been completely upgraded and is once again ready for action.
Around 1,900 meters of path have been restored using locally sourced material at a cost fast approaching £200,000.
Keith Mackey, technical projects officer at the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, said: “The remote nature of the site and seasonal challenges presented by the weather, confined the majority of work to the summer months.
“The work was carried out using a combination of machine and hand build path teams, with all materials being sourced on site.
“As a result of the teams’ skills and their use of natural materials, the path retains its traditional, rugged, upland aesthetic and with regular maintenance will serve hill users for years to come.”
Mr Mackey added: “Outdoors access, recreation and tourism are vital to upland Scotland, with our mountain landscape providing one of our most significant national assets.
“Restoring the Mount Keen hill path has ensured that continued access to this magnificent area is not at the expense of the surrounding habitat. “