(009) Collieston-Old Castle of Slains Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This is a good walk along the low grassy cliffs N of Collieston where abundant bird-life and scenic views are guaranteed. The village has a pretty harbour and beach set in a sheltering natural amphitheatre. The ruin of Old Slains Castle is an evocative focal point on the route.

Duration: 2.5 hours

 

Route Overview
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No bus service to Collieston. Cranston Viewpoint car-park, which is on the northern outskirts of Collieston, and is signposted from the Collieston access road.
Length: 5.820 km / 3.64 mi
Height Gain: 159 meter
Height Loss: 159 meter
Max Height: 54 meter
Min Height: 2 meter
Surface: Moderate. The first few metres of the initial ascent to the cliff-top are rough and steep. Otherwise, good paths and roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent. Care required near cliff edges.
Difficulty: Moderate
Dog Friendly: Yes. Keep dogs on lead near to any cattle and sheep encountered, and on public roads and streets. Pick up, bag and remove any mess!
Refreshments: The Smuggler’s Cone cafe/ice cream vendor (scones especially recommended). Open at weekends in summer months, every day during summer school holidays.

Description
This moderately strenuous little walk nicely combines an often stunning cliff-top trail on the outward leg with a return section that ambles along a quiet country lane between fields. The route ends with the opportunity to explore the quaint and pretty village of Collieston. The focal point on the walk is the intriguing stack on the skyline as you approach the tiny hamlet of Old Castle. This is the ruined remains of the Old Castle of Slains, sitting on a rocky promontory overlooking the beautiful bay and beach at Broad Haven. One sturdy wall of the 13th Century castle remains standing. It was given to Sir Gilbert Hay by Robert the Bruce in recognition for his support against the English enemy. In 1594, Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, led a rebellion which was put down by King James VI. The castle was then destroyed with gunpowder and cannon fire by the King’s army. After returning from exile, Hay built a new, and better known, Slains Castle just a little north of Cruden Bay. There is an excellent view of Collieston at the Cranston outlook on the St. Catherines Dub headland, overlooking Tarness Haven, close to the walk start-point. The headland is named after the late 16th Century wreck of a Spanish warship, the “Santa Catarina”. There are excellent opportunities to observe a variety of sea-birds on the cliff-top sections. During the summer breeding season you may see puffins nesting on the grassy sides of the cliffs, near the ruined old castle.

Links:
Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Wikiloc  

 

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