Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve

Update - there have been blooms of blue-green algae on the surface of Loch Kinnord recently (August 2021).

To keep safe around a bloom

– Keep children and dogs away from the water

– Keep dogs on a lead

– Carry a bottle of water for your dog to drink and use it to wash off any scum 

Local Access Guidance for Water Users - updated 31 August 2021

For access on Loch Kinord between 31 Aug and 1 March.

  • Launch from the north or south shores and stay in the recommended zone marked on the map.
  • Otters breed and rest on the islands, please do not land there.
  • Please kneel, not stand, on paddleboards.
  • Avoid the reedy bays on the east and west shores.
  • Avoid groups of birds.
  • Please consider going elsewhere if the loch is already busy with paddlers.

Please do not take any water access onto Loch Davan. The loch is too small to access without disturbing wildlife.

For more information on responsible outdoor access in Scotland, see

Access map

A magical mosaic

Lying within the Cairngorms National Park, Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve (NNR) is a mosaic of wetlands, woods and moors. It’s a great place for wildlife and has a wealth of connections to Scotland’s past.

Although the last glaciers melted more than 10,000 years ago, the marks they gouged in the landscape survive today. One of these is the Vat Gorge, where the Burn O’Vat still flows. The Vat itself is a cauldron-shaped pothole. It was gouged out by rocks tumbling along in a stream beneath a glacier.

Today you can make your way into the Vat through a narrow crack in the rock. Stand in this atmospheric cavern, and listen to the strange echoes of water that seems to pour out of the rocks.

You can also stroll through the woodland, looking out for birds, animals and delicate woodland wild flowers. You may also spot breeding and wintering birds on Loch Kinord.

The visitor centre at the Burn O’Vat explores the natural and cultural heritage of the reserve. From here there are lovely walks through the woodland and around Loch Kinord. Or take the path to the Burn O’Vat and on to a viewpoint with sweeping views across Loch Kinord and beyond.

Find out more about visiting Muir of Dinnet NNR.

View a video of Muir of Dinnet NNR.

Muir of Dinnet NNR (Click for a full description)

A seasonal look at the wildlife and landscapes of Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve.

Top attractions

  • Explore the Vat – one of Scotland’s natural wonders.
  • Enjoy our trails through peaceful woodlands and around the lochs.
  • In spring, look for wildflowers and listen for calling birds.
  • In summer, watch dancing dragonflies and damselflies.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.

What’s on?

Visit our Events page to see what upcoming events you can get involved in at this reserve.


Reserve manager: Catriona Reid

Burn O’Vat Visitor Centre
AB34 5NB

Telephone: 01339 881667

Find out more

Discover more about why Scotland’s National Nature Reserves were created and the partners who manage them.

Related Links

Follow us on Facebook or read the Muir of Dinnet blog to keep up to date with news from the reserve.

Follow Scotland's NNR on Facebook  for up-to-date information on reserves across Scotland.

Find out more about our partners at Muir of Dinnet – Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Our visitor centre is rated Gold under the GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme).

Muir of Dinnet NNR is a member of VisitScotland.

Enjoyed your visit?

  • Make a donation to support nature and visitor facilities on our NNRs.
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