(028) Portsoy-Sandend-Old King’s Road Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
At just over our usual limit of 10 km, this is a mostly gentle walking excursion on the cliff-tops, likely to fill the lungs with fresh sea air! Although on a different scale, the harbour areas of both Portsoy and Sandend have a very attractive old-world feel about them.

Duration: 3.5 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach run frequent bus services that pass through Portsoy. Check timetables. There are parking spaces at various points on Links Road near to the walk start/finish point.
Length: 10.410 km / 6.51 mi
Height Gain: 221 meter
Height Loss: 221 meter
Max Height: 69 meter
Min Height: 0 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly good paths, beach and minor tarred road.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent. Please take care near cliff edges.
Difficulty: Medium.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads and near to any livestock. Please take care near cliff edges.
Refreshments: Options in Portsoy.

This is a bracing cliff-top walk with a particular interest when seabirds are nesting. Passed on the way, the 600 m sandy beach at Sandend is understandably popular on sunny summer days, while it attracts surfers at all times of the year. A large section of the return route follows the old coastal road, the King’s Highway, now a grassy farm-track and minor access road. The route starts and finishes at the charming and lively harbour area of Portsoy. The burgh was established by Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1550, and the first harbour was built at that time. Today, many old buildings, dating back to the end of the 1600s or early 1700s, survive to enhance the surroundings of the Old Harbour. We strongly recommend a visit to the Salmon Bothy museum, situated at the start and end point of the walk. The former working salmon fishing house has been sensitively restored and showcases displays and information about Portsoy, its industries and trade over the centuries, its harbours and the salmon fishing operations. For more information and opening times see: https://salmonbothy.org/museum/ .The pretty village of Sandend is the turning point of the walk and was well established by the early 1600s. Just outside the village you will spot the impressive 4-storey base structure of the Glassaugh Windmill, sitting close to the Glenglassaugh Distillery. The King’s Highway section between Sandend and Portsoy provides fine views of the surrounding countryside and a particularly attractive approach to Portsoy. This quiet lane is the old main coastal road and was used by 18th C travellers such as James Boswell and Robert Burns on their travels around the NE of Scotland.

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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