I'd seen an AWD track up the ridge almost all the way to the last top on the Tops of Fichell last walk up Craigthran, and thought it would be a lovely walk, albeit not a circular walk. It would still give a bit ascent and the possibility of a climb up Manywee then either back to the car park by dropping to Glenmoy, or taking in Craigthran again.
OS Map No (Landranger 1:50,000)
44: Ballater & Glen Clova
OS Map No (Explorer 1:25,000)
Parking area at end of Glenmoy public road.
10m north past Parking area, then take left track heading West.
I had a lot off faffing about with dog harness, canicross belt, sorting bits etc before I eventually got going. I wasn't sure if I was going to do the Tops of Fichell or simply do Craigthran then drop to Glenmoy as I had done Friday past, and thought I'd wait until I saw how the track up the ridge looked. Anyhow, it looked quite easy but realised that Manywee would be too steep form this side, but my left foot was giving pain so thought that the Tops of Fichell ridge and back the same route was the best option. But, on walking along The Aud I could see a track that dropped off from just after The Aud to the glen on the East side and continued up the slopes of the 553m top of Craigthran. This made me think that I could drop off the last top of The Tops of Fichell to pick up on this track, then climb up to Craithran to get a bit more ascent. The AWD track ended on the 2nd last top, but it was a short walk to the last top from the track. I stopped for lunch here, then it was an easy drop and a walk of 100-200m to following a path 10m away from a line of 'Hides' to pick up the AWD track in the Glen. After climbing up to the 553m top it was a stroll along to Craigthran. On the descent down it's track I met a 72 year old man pushing a mountain bike up! I stopped for a chat - 15 minutes later I was on my way back to the car park.
Leaving car park, take the left track 10m on left. Walk past Shank and carry on to old Shielings. Take the track left to the West at Grid Ref: NO 39233 65867 and continue to The Aud. Follow the track to it's end at the 550m top on Tops of Fichell. Carry on through heather to top at 578m. Drop SE to Glen picking up on a line of Grouse Butts (there is a faint path following the line of Butts 10m from them) and continue to meet the track in the glen. Follow the track left heading NE then on near to the top of Craigthran at 553. The track splits, so take a right turn heading South onto the 550 top. Continue down the steep track to the glen then back to car park.