(017) Castle Fraser Ramble (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
A varied walk through the woodland and farmland policies surrounding an iconic Scottish castle. The castle is viewed from a range of perspectives alongside fine views of the countryside. The pond area is a delight, and there are interesting historical structures on the route.

Duration: 2.5 hours.

 

Route Overview
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: There is no bus service close to Castle Fraser. National Trust Scotland car-park (charges apply for non-members).
Length: 7.420 km / 4.64 mi
Height Gain: 143 meter
Height Loss: 143 meter
Max Height: 136 meter
Min Height: 88 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly good estate roads and woodland paths.
Child Friendly: Yes, but only if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes. Must be on lead on public access road and around any cattle or sheep encountered.
Refreshments: Good NTS cafe accessed from the castle courtyard.

Description
This is a wonderful opportunity to take a gentle ramble through the designed landscape of a Scottish baronial estate, with mature woodland, farmland, a pond, and walled kitchen garden. Clearly the focal point of the walk is Castle Fraser itself, a visually stunning landmark, which features at more than one point on the route. It is probably the grandest example of its type in Scotland. The construction of the elaborate, five-storey “Z-plan” castle was begun in 1575, although there is evidence of an older, much simpler tower dating from the previous century. Of course, the best way to appreciate the history of the castle, and the wider Scottish historical context is to visit the interior. This walk joins and extends the two established trails on the estate (Alton Brae and Miss Bristow’s) in a way that provides interest alongside some impressive vistas. In particular, the unusual approach to the Flight Pond allows great views to open up to the Bennachie and Menaway Hills to the north and west. The Pond area is a delightful sanctuary. It was created in the 19th Century, in low-lying bog, to attract wildfowl for shooting, but the area is now a peaceful haven for wildlife. Amongst the flora and fauna to look out for is the rare Northern Damselfly. Interesting structures on the route include: Miss Bristow’s monument; the Moses Well; a memorial to the last male Fraser of the direct line of Lairds of Fraser; and, the Walled Garden, in itself so evocative of past times. Along the way, there is also an opportunity to check out the castle courtyard, where there is a cafe, toilets, a gift shop, and a 2nd hand book shop.

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

 

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