(020) Boddam Castle-Stirling Hill Quarries Walk (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
A varied and interesting walk over a moderate distance and overall ascent with some fantastic viewpoints. Nature has largely healed the post-industrial landscape, with picturesque flooded quarries sitting on heather hillsides. A coastal walk guaranteed to blow away the cob-webs!

Duration: 3 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach services to Boddam (e.g. #67 or #68, Aberdeen to Ellon, then #61, Ellon to Peterhead). Check timetables. On-road parking options close to walk start-point
Length: 7.340 km / 4.59 mi
Height Gain: 181 meter  Height Loss: 181 meter
Max Height: 95 meter  Min Height: 12 meter
Surface: Moderate. A mix of sometimes rough and uneven coastal paths and rough-surfaced roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Medium.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead near to any livestock, and near the main A90 road.
Refreshments: Buchan Braes lounge bar in Boddam. Otherwise, options in Peterhead or Ellon.

This is an exhilarating coastal walk along visually stunning cliff-tops. It also ascends Stirling Hill, a low hill but with wonderful views, and a wealth of history to absorb. The walk starts at the often overlooked ruins of Boddam Castle, sitting on a finger-like rocky promontory, and dating from the 16th Century. The remains consist of the entrance archway, as well as the complete foundation of the larger building. The castle was an important residence for the Keiths of Ludquharn, a key family in the politics of medieval Scotland. From here there are fine views of Buchan Ness Lighthouse. The area between Boddam and Cruden Bay had over twenty granite quarries and Stirling Hill was the most extensively worked in the area, the red “Peterhead” granite being an excellent decorative and monumental stone that was used across the world for famous buildings and statues. During the walk we encounter what is left of two separate railway systems. The Boddam Branch Line ran from Ellon and opened in 1897. The line was closed to passengers in 1932, and to freight in 1945. In 1884, the Admiralty started to build the breakwaters for Peterhead Harbour of Refuge. A railway was built between Stirling Hill and Peterhead Prison to transport prison labour and granite. This huge project was completed in 1956. At the furthest point on the route we come upon the very scenic Den Dam, whose water once drove granite polishing machines. The dam is used in modern times by model boat enthusiasts. On the far side of the dam is one of the few areas in Scotland where flint can be found, and the site was hugely important as a source of tools for the Neolithic people who lived here 5,000 years ago. On the return leg, there are excellent views of Boddam Power Station and Peterhead, beyond.

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

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