Showing posts from April, 2014

Walk: Whale of a time at Bow Fiddle Rock

Moray | Portknockie | Half day walk | ★★★★

Bow Fiddle Rock is one of the highlights of the magnificent Moray coastline. The huge stack is connected to another by a sloping rock arch, with the resulting sculpture variously described as a sinking ship, bow and fiddle or a whale's tail. If the latter, then the other end of the mammal is at the Whale's Mouth - an aptly-named, gaping hole of a cave / arch just to the south. This coastal walk visits both with an inland railway line creating a brilliant circular walk. Starting in smaller Portknockie enables a mid-trip visit to The Ice Cream Shop in Cullen (reputedly Scotland's best). Don't forget to visit the picturesque harbours in both villages.

📌 Walk: Whale of a time at Bow Fiddle Rock ★★★★
▶ 5 km / 5 miles | ▲ 90 metres
Features: Portknockie (village, harbour); Cullen (viaduct, village, harbour, beach); Whale's Mouth arch; Bow Fiddle Rock
Start / finish: Street parking on Bridge Street, Portknockie village centre, G.R.…

Kildrummy Castle

Aberdeenshire | Lumsden | Castle | ★★★

Approaching from the car park, it's clear to see that Kildrummy Castle was once a truly great fortress. It dates to the mid-13th century, was constructed by the Earl of Mar, and now overlooks the adjacent, tranquil Kildrummy Castle Gardens. Despite its ruinous state, the castle's imposing curtain walls, high windows and scale of the site still dominate the countryside here in wild Strathdon.

📌Kildrummy Castle★★★
Location: A97 4 miles south of Lumsden, G.R.: NJ 455164 ///rescue.mend.recover
Open (2019): Daily, April to October
Cost (2019): £5 (adults), £3 (children), free for Historic Environment Scotland members


Aberdeenshire | Lost | Region sights | ★

There's a unique secret hiding away in Glen Nochty, reached by minor roads and tracks from deepest Strathdon. The seriously remote Lost Gallery couldn't be more aptly named - it's difficult enough to find even if over-enthusiastic tourists haven't recently stolen the "Lost" road sign pointing the way from Bellabeg. By the turnoff, there's a parking area for the prominent mound known as the Doune of Invernochty. A Norman castle once stood on top: although almost nothing remains today, the earthworks are still impressive and easily climbed (steeply).

📌Doune of Invernochty ★
Description: Prominent motte on which a 12th century castle once stood.
Location: A944 at Bellabeg, Strathdon, G.R.: NJ 352129 ///intend.dizziness.landmark
Open: Always
Cost: Free

📌Lost Gallery
Description: Tiny art gallery in an amazingly remote location.
Location: Nearly 2 miles west of Glen Nochty, G.R.: NJ 312158 ///conceals.retained.vital
Open (201…

Walk: Summit of Conachcraig, spirit of Lochnagar

Aberdeenshire | Easter Balmoral | Full day walk | ★★★

Conachcraig's trio of rounded lumps are little visited compared to their illustrious neighbours. Their heathery summits aren't particularly notable, however, all eyes will be drawn to the magnificent views of Lochnagar from here - and also on the long approach, which is scenically more rewarding than the shorter ascent from Glen Muick. With a pathless descent to follow, you'll really have earned that dram by the time you stagger into Royal Lochnagar Distillery, perfectly positioned at the end of the circuit.

📌 Walk: Summit of Conachcraig, spirit of Lochnagar ★★★
▶ 21 km / 13 miles | ▲ 790 metres
Summits: Conachcraig (865 metres, Corbett); Caisteal na Caillich (862 metres) | Features: Royal Lochnagar Distillery
Start / finish: Royal Lochnagar Distillery (ask for permission, or park outside), G.R.: NO 268939 ///shuttled.glorious.treetop

Route: Start & distillery - Easter Balmoral - Dubh-chlais - track on east side of Gle…

Walk: Corwharn from the Cat's back

Angus | Angus Glens | Full day walk | ★★

The rolling hills surrounding Cat Law hide Glen Prosen away from passing crowds. Piecing together broad ridges and grassy tracks behind the summit creates a mostly easy-going circuit to lower Corwharn which delivers with views what it lacks in drama. Towards the end of the lengthy but beautiful return through the Glen Quharity to the start, keep an eye out for (private) Balintore Castle on the hill above Balintore - derelict until recently but now being restored to its former grandeur.

📌 Walk: Corwharn from the Cat's back ★★
▶ 19 km / 12 miles | ▲ 740 metres
Summits: Cat Law (671 metres, Graham); Corwharn (611 metres, sub-2000') | Features: Balintore Castle
Start / finish: Space for a few cars on minor road at front gate to Balintore Castle, G.R.: NO 296587 ///

Route: Start - Knowehead of Auldallan - Cat Law - Cormaud - Hill of Glendye - Tarapetmile - Cairn Corse - Corwharn - return to Cairn Corse - Long Drum - Glen Quharit…

Howe of Cromar

Aberdeenshire | Howe of Cromar | Region sights | ★★

As the B9119 winds through the pass between Craiglich and Pressendye, a magnificent vista opens up over the fertile hollow ahead towards the often snowy coire of Lochnagar. Welcome to the Howe of Cromar. Quiet and tiny Tarland is the main settlement, surrounded by several historical structures with construction dates varying from 4,000 years ago to the 21st century: all free, all worth exploration.

📌Culsh Earth House★★
Description: 2,000 year old, 15 metre long underground passage (or souterrain) probably used to store grain.
Location: B9119 2 miles east of Tarland, G.R.: NJ 505055 ///evolution.slicing.according
Open: Always
Cost: Free

📌Migvie Church ★★
Description: Stunning restored chapel in an unassuming building - a true hidden gem.
Location: Off minor road at Migvie, 4 miles west of Tarland, G.R.: NJ 437068 ///luckier.wealth.wants
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? Limited parking on the track to the churchyard - don't block gate…

Walk: Craiglich - Cromar's royal view

Aberdeenshire | Tarland | Short walk | ★★

Queen Victoria was suitably impressed with the view even from the start of this walk (giving rise to the name, "Queen's View") and you should be too, as the panorama from the summit of nearby Craiglich is even better. There's nothing special about the short ascent on forestry tracks, but once you escape the trees you're rewarded with views of many of Aberdeenshire's familiar hills: Lochnagar, Morven, Pressendye and Bennachie amongst others, the former shrouded in fog on our visit.

📌 Walk: Craiglich - Cromar's royal view ★★
▶ 3 km / 2 miles | ▲ 190 metres
Summits: Craiglich (476 metres, sub-2000')
Start / finish: Layby on B9119 at West Tillylodge, 4 miles east of Tarland, G.R.: NJ 527064 ///starlight.allow.presses

Route: Layby - Craiglich - return by outward route
Terrain: Reasonable tracks - the first few hundred metres churned up by logging activity on our trip.
Wildlife today: Birds in the forest, otherwise not m…