The main paths and tracks all head past the estate visitor centre and head south to Loch Muick to access walks around the loch, to the popular Munro of Lochnagar and over the mountain path of Jock's Road to Glen Doll. My route left the path before the visitor centre and headed south east into the mouth of a twisting glen; from this point on I didn't see another person until I arrived back at Spittal, despite the car park being very busy - proof that quiet routes can be found even in popular areas.
A narrow path follows the Allt Darrarie up the glen; the water quite low on this day but usually this burn has a significant volume of rich brown water, stained to a coffee shade by the peat moorland where is rises.
A simple bridge crosses the burn half way up the glen, placed high above the water level so it isn't washed away.
At a stream junction the path swings left and climbs, giving a good view back down the Allt Darrarie.
Emerging onto flat and featureless moorland, there's a splendid view back to Lochnagar, the steep crags a contrast to the ground near at hand. From here on, accurate navigation and a certain faith in map and compass were essential to reach my destination. Two kilometres of wet, peaty ground climbs very gently with little in the way of features to mark the way. When the ground starts to drop, it's a case of trusting your navigation.........
........because the small bothy at Shielin of Mark doesn't come into view until you're about a hundred metres away and just above the patch of flat ground it occupies at the head of the Water of Mark. Just across the boundary from Aberdeenshire, the bothy is the first building in Angus for quite some way.