Mount Keen: Hiking Guide – Everything You Need To Know
Mount Keen is known for being the most easterly Munro in Scotland. The summit is not very distinctive and is a large dome which sits above the empty, bleak moorland.
The Munro reaches a height of 939 metres. It can be accessed from many directions, south from Glen Mark, north from Glen Tanar and east to Braid Cairn.
Mount Keen was the second Munro that I bagged. I bagged this Munro in September 2021.
On a clear day, there are great views across the Angus Glens, other mountains in the area and in the lowlands of Angus.
Height: 939 metres (3030 feet)
Distance: 17.5 kilometres (11 miles)
Time: 5-6 hours in good conditions
Ascent: 681 metres
Starting Point: Invermark Car Park
Where is this hike?
Mount Keen is located in the eastern part of the Cairngorms National Park. The route begins at Invermark Car Park where there is limited free car parking.
To get to Invermark car park you have to drive past Glenesk, Tarfside and Edzell. It is a long single track road with many curves and turns and you might meet a few sheep on the way.
How long is the hike?
The most popular and shortest route to bag this Munro is from Glen Esk via Glen mark. There is a good path to the summit.
The route is 17.5 kilometres (11 miles) long. The ascent is 9 kilometres long.
The initial walk through Glen Mark is almost 4 kilometres long and the steep ascent is five kilometres long. It is a linear route and the same route is followed for heading back to the start point.
As a rough guide, I climbed to the summit in September 2021. To get to the summit it took me two hours and 15 minutes.
For the descent, it took me one and a half hours. Overall, I completed the route in 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Are the paths marked?
The paths are stony and well-maintained. The path after the Queen’s Well up Ladder Glen is quite wide and stony.
As it begins to zig-zag the path starts to get narrower. There is erosion on the side of the mountain and a few boulders to climb over at the trig point.
In the winter months, the path can become quite frozen and slippery.
All around it is one of the easiest routes to follow. There are not a lot of steep parts and is it easy to get a pace on this route.
Is the trail suitable for beginners?
Mount Keen is considered one of the easiest Munros to bg and is suitable for beginners. Many people from Aberdeen, Angus and Dundee chose Mount Keen as the first Munro to bag.
There are clear paths to the summit, and minimal navigation is required, therefore it is a good route for those who are new to Munro bagging.
The Munro is best-climbed in the late Spring, summer and early Autumn months. Any lying snow in the winter and early spring months might hide the route that you need to take.
How to get to the Munro?
To get to the Munro you have to walk through Glenesk and Glen Mark from the Invermark Car Park. Glen Mark is four kilometres long and most people like to cycle through the glen.
Keen mountain bikers also cycle to the summit. I saw a few people take their mountain bikes along the Mounth Road.
The starting point for this Munros is approximately one hour drive from Aberdeen and Dundee. Meanwhile from Glasgow and Edinburgh the drive is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The route begins at Invermark Car Park. Follow the road over the bridge and past the church on the right.
There is a sign for Mount Keen and the Queen’s Well. Just before the house bear left following another sign and go through the gate.
On the left the sandstone tower of Invermark Castle can be seen through the trees. Keep following the track that leads into an open glen.
The tower was built by the local landownner to act as a garrison fort. Aberdeesnhire cattle raiders used the traditional routes through the glens and the tower acted as a place of protection.
Continue through the glen, through a metal gate and along the river, the Water of Mark. After approximately four kilometres walking through the glen, you will come across the Queen’s Well.
The Queens Well is a monument where two arches are joined together. The well was built over the site of a spring where Queen Victoria stopped on one of her pony treks.
“Rest traveller on this lonely green. And Drink and pray for Scotland’s queen” is inscribed on the well. Overshadowing the head of the glen are dramatic crags of Craig of Dounde.
The well can be reached on the right by following a narrower path. Back on the main track, you will pass Invermark Cottage on the left.
After passing the house, the Easter Burn is crossed, this is easy to cross in dry conditions but after heavy rain it can be more difficult.
Afterwards, the track crosses the Ladder Burn via an iron grid. The path continue to climb steeply up the Ladder Glen.
At one point the path begins to zig-zag and thre are excellent views down to Glen Esk. This track leads up north up high into the moors.
Near The Summit
Turn right onto a well made path at the junction. The left fork will take to Mounth Road which was used to pass Mount Keen.
The path becomes narrower and has been greatly eroded over the years. The trig point is in sight and you will have to cross large boulders and stones to reach it.
From the summit, you can spot the summit of Lochnagar which has a more craggy terrain. Also, there are good views of the White Mounth Munros, the other rolling hills in the area and towards the lowlands of Angus.
The descent is fairly easy, follow the same route that you came up.
What to wear for this hike?
The best thing to wear for this hike is loose comfy clothing. People tend to wear shorts, leggings, hiking trousers, t-shirts, thermal clothing and jumpers.
The weather on the Munros can change dramatically as you increase in altitude. Rural Scotland is well-known for experiencing four seasons in one day.
Comfortable sturdy footwear is essential when climbing Munros. Most people invest in a good pair of hiking boots, walking shoes or trainers.
Many people use walking poles as they climb to make easier. They are good for taking the pressure off your knees.
What to pack?
For a winter hike, make sure to pack plenty of layers, a waterproof or windbreaker jacket, waterproof trousers and gaiters. In the summer, make sure to put on some sunscreen, bring midge repellent and be aware of ticks.
Make sure to pack plenty of water, fluids and things to eat. Mount Keen is a remote Munro and the nearest place to get supplies is Edzell, which is 16 miles away.
The UV light in Scotland may be low, however, it is still possible to get burnt on the face at high altitudes.
How long does it take to climb Mount Keen?
The guided time to complete this walk is between 3.5 hours and 4.5 hours. The time it takes to complete this walk depends on your fitness and the weather conditions.
Overall the walk took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. When I completed the walk, the weather was amazing, warm with clear blue skies.
For myself, I got to the summit of Mount Keen after two hours and 15 minutes. Then it took 1 hour and a half to complete the descent and return to the car park.
Is Mount Keen hard?
The difficulty of Mount Keen depends on a person’s fitness and the weather conditions. Mount Keen is considered one of the easier Munros and is often completed by complete newbies or beginners.
Is Mount Keen easy?
Mount Keen is considered to be one of the easiest Munros to climb. The first part of the walk takes you through the glen and here is a gradual incline.
There is a wide clear path that leads almost leads all the way to summit. The paths gets narrower as you get closer to the summit.
At the top you have to navigate across the large boulders to reach the cairn on the summit. Minimal navigation is required through the walk.
For a more strenuous walk why not head to Glen Clova and try Mayar and Dreish.
Where is Mount Keen in Scotland?
Mount Keen is the most easterly Munro in Scotland. It is located in the Angus Glens and is on the border between Angus and Aberdeenshire.
This is a popular Munro to bag from Auchronie in Glenesk or Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. To get to Glenesk you will have to drive through Edzell in Angus.
Mount Keen is near Glenlee where you can enjoy walks to Loch Lee and Falls of Unich.
Mount Keen is a fairly easy Munro to bag. It is known as the most easterly Munro in Scotland.
It is located in the lonely Glen Esk. There is a good sense of space, vast open mountain country.
The route begins at Invermark car park, takeing you through Glen Esk, Glen Mark and ascending along zig zag paths to the summit. From the 939 metres summit, there are great views across Glen Esk, Loch Lee and the Cairngorms.
As you walk through Glen Esk make sure to look out for some red deer.