(021) Strichen White Horse-Waughton Hill Loop (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
Walking from the village of Strichen to a huge “white horse” laid out in stone on the hillside above the settlement. After checking out the ruin of an 18th C hunting lodge higher up the hillside, there are breath-taking long-distance views from the summit of Waughton Hill.

Duration: 3 hours.

 

Route Overview
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach #68 from Mintlaw or Fraserburgh. Check timetable. Easy parking on the High Street or adjoining streets close to the walk start-point.
Length: 9.030 km / 5.64 mi
Height Gain: 206 meter
Height Loss: 206 meter
Max Height: 55 meter
Min Height: 232 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly a mix of tarred minor roads, rough hillside paths and grassy tracks.
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 on public roads and streets. You are VERY likely to encounter sheep at the White Horse and on Waughton Hill in general.
Refreshments: The Old Auction Room Cafe, the Lodge Cafe at Strichen Lake, the White Horse Restaurant and Bar.

Description
A good leg-stretching half-day walking excursion offering historical interest and very fine views from the flanks and summit of Waughton Hill, to the west of the linked but better known Mormond Hill. The large Buchan village of Strichen lies on the east bank of the North Ugie Water in a sheltered valley. The combination of water power from the river, a booming local linen industry, and the potential for improved agriculture, led to the development of Strichen as a planned village in 1764. The walk starts and finishes from the impressive Town House building in the centre of the village, dating from 1816. The most obvious feature of the walk is the very large representation of a white horse laid out on the hillside in quartz stones. It is said to have been placed here to commemorate an incident during the Battle of Tourcoing in 1794 when Captain Fraser, the 9th Laird of Strichen, had his horse killed underneath him during the retreat. A sergeant by the name of Henderson offered to give Captain Fraser his horse, but was killed. On returning to Strichen, the Laird built the white horse as a memorial. Also built by Captain Fraser is the nearby ruin of the Hunter’s Lodge, dating to 1779. A single room on the lower floor is described as having a fireplace large enough to roast a deer. The door lintel still bears the words “In this Hunter’s Lodge Rob Gib commands, MDCCLXXIX”. The words “Rob Gib” were used as a loyal toast in Jacobite circles and it is unclear whether the words were merely meant to invoke good cheer, or represented a political statement. On reaching the top of Waughton Hill, you can pick out, in the distance to the west: the Bennachie range; Lochnagar; Morven; Tillymorgan; Hill of Foudland; Buck of Cabrach; Ben Rinnes; and, Knock Hill. Looking to the other side of the hilltop, there is a great view of Fraserburgh, and along the coast in both directions.

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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