A varied walk in a beautiful and unique coastal landscape, taking in two pretty fishing villages, dramatic cliffs, and rolling farmland. There is a considerable overall ascent at 336 m, rewarded by some wonderful viewpoints.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach #273 from Banff. Check timetable. There is a small public car-park at New Ground, Gardenstown, near the start/end point of the walk.
Length: 8.880 km / 5.55 mi
Height Gain: 336 meter
Height Loss: 336 meter
Max Height: 116 meter
Min Height: 8 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly on hard-surfaced farm access roads or minor public roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead near to livestock, and on public roads.
Refreshments: Teapot 1 Cafe (summer season only) and Garden Arms Hotel, both Gardenstown. Otherwise, Banff or Fraserburgh.
This walk offers the opportunity to enjoy one of the grandest and most picturesque coastlines in the NE of Scotland, if not the whole country. Deep valleys break up the landscape, separated by mighty cliff-tops, such as Troup Head, and punctuated by villages clinging to tiny strips of land, constantly threatened by the sea. Inland, the fertile farmland looks prosperous, assisted by a relatively benign micro-climate, protected by the Grampian Mountains and the Moray Firth. At the start of the walk, we take a dramatic coastal path, in places cut into the rocky headland that separates Gardenstown and Crovie. After exploring pretty little Crovie, the route climbs high to the level of the rolling farmland characteristic of the area, passing five farms before looping back to a viewpoint above Crovie where there is an information board and inscribed stone. A new cliff-top path back to Gardenstown provides some stunning perspectives on the coastline. On a clear day you can see the northern tip of Scotland across the Moray Firth. Originally, and still familiarly, known as Gamrie, Gardenstown was founded in 1720 by the local landowner as a planned fishing village, to provide rental income. On a remote and almost inaccessible hillside to the west of the village, are the eye-catching ruins of the Church of St John, built in 1513, on a spot occupied by monks to give thanks for a famous victory over an invading Danish army in 1004. Crovie (pronounced Crivie) was established by crofters who had been displaced from the N of Scotland by the Highland Clearances. They made a hard and precarious living from fishing, paying the local laird rent for the boats and the cottages. By the end of the 19th C, more than 50 fishing boats were based here. The village was almost destroyed in the Great Storm of January 1953. Since then most of the buildings, which all have “listed” status, have become holiday or weekend homes.