A relatively easy walk with minimal overall ascent on good paths and estate roads. The route breaks into 3 main components – firstly, open outlooks from the old railway line; then the fascinating ruins of Deer Abbey; and finally, the picturesque beauty of Pitfour Lake.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach services to Mintlaw (e.g. #60, Aberdeen to Ellon, then #67/#68, Ellon to Mintlaw). Check timetables. It is approx. 2 km to walk from the roundabout in Mintlaw to the walk start-point. At the walk start/end point there is a small car-park for walkers to Pitfour Lake on the minor road to Fetterangus, just off the A950 leaving Mintlaw for New Pitsligo. See Waypoint 1 for how to get there.
Length: 6.080 km / 3.80 mi
Height Gain: 93 meter
Height Loss: 93 meter
Max Height: 80 meter
Min Height: 39 meter
Surface: Smooth. Good paths and estate roads. Sections may be muddy after wet weather. There are 2 sections walking on the verge of the A950, before and after Deer Abbey.
Child Friendly: Yes, but only if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead near to livestock and wildfowl, and on the main A950 road.
Refreshments: Options in Mintlaw and in nearby Aden Country Park. The walk passes the Saplin Brae hotel where there is a bar and restaurant.
This easy and pleasant walk in open countryside, and on woodland and lakeside paths, holds lots of historical interest along the way. The first section of the route follows the track of the old Buchan railway line (Peterhead to Maud). The line was opened in the mid 19th Century but closed to passenger traffic in the Beeching cuts of the mid 20th Century. Nearing the mid-point of the walk, the route stops off at the fascinating ruins of Deer Abbey, built in the 13th Century, but abandoned after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. The Book of Deer (now held by Cambridge University) is associated with the Abbey’s former library. It contains the first written examples of the Gaelic language and was created in the 10th Century. On the second part of the walk, the route meets the beautiful Pitfour Lake, covering more than 50 acres. With its four islands and three stone bridges, it was created in the mid 19th Century as the grand centre-piece of an opulent Scottish landed estate. On the lakeside we encounter a sadly dilapidated (at time of writing) ‘folly’ – in the form of a small replica Greek Doric temple, styled after the Temple of Theseus, and probably built around 1830. It contained a cold-water bath in which George, the fifth laird was believed to have kept alligators! Thankfully none survive, so you are safe to take the scenic grassy path close to the water’s edge. At one point, the route ascends to a marvellous vantage point over the lake and the surrounding countryside before returning to the lakeside and back along the old railway line.