(041) Fraserburgh-Waters of Philorth Return (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This bracing coastal walk is longer than our usual 10 km limit but this is offset by the very low, and hardly noticeable, overall ascent. The focal points are an historic lighthouse, a busy fishing harbour, a wonderful sandy beach, and a peaceful little nature reserve.

Duration: 3.5 hours.


Route Overview
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach #67 and #68 from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh. Check timetable. Spacious car-park at Lighthouse Museum/Heritage Centre where walk starts/finishes.
Length: 11.350 km / 7.09 mi
Height Gain: 91 meter
Height Loss: 91 meter
Max Height: 18 meter
Min Height: 0 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly paved surfaces, beach or sandy paths.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Difficulty: Medium.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads.
Refreshments: Small cafe with excellent sea views at Lighthouse Museum. Options in Fraserburgh.

This coastal walk has a nice mix: the oldest lighthouse in Scotland; one of the busiest fishing harbours in the UK; a wonderful sandy beach that seems to go on for ever; a peaceful estuarine nature reserve; a golf course sheltering amongst the sand dunes; an interesting town centre; and, the old fishing village of Broadsea tucked around the Kinnaird headland. Fraserburgh sits on an exposed knuckle of land where the North Sea meets the Moray Firth. It dates back to when the Fraser family bought the lands of Philorth in 1504. By 1570, the Frasers had built a castle at Kinnaird Head and by the 1590s there was a small harbour. The growth of the herring fishing industry in the 19th century saw major expansion with more than 1000 drifters based there. Huge modern vessels from the long-distance pelagic fleet dominate the harbour today. The Frasers’ castle was sold to the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1787 to be converted into Scotland’s first mainland lighthouse. In 1824 Robert Stevenson undertook a major re-design and improvement, uniquely still based upon the old castle. Fraserburgh is renowned for its long, golden sandy beach, backed by an extensive dunes system. On the walk, we reach a turning point at the Waters of Philorth Local Nature Reserve which includes the estuary of the Philorth and an ever-moving sand dune complex. There are also areas of reed bed, salt marsh and mud flats associated with the estuary, which is known for the diversity of its bird life resulting from the range of habitats. The return leg weaves its way through the sand dune system, skirting the golf course. At the end of the walk there is the opportunity to visit the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses (and Kinnaird Head Lighthouse itself), and the neighbouring Fraserburgh Heritage Centre (summer season only). See:
http://lighthousemuseum.org.uk/ and https://www.fraserburghheritage.com/ .

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




One thought on “(041) Fraserburgh-Waters of Philorth Return (Aberdeenshire)

  1. Hot tip, the 69 and 69B buses serve the villages between Peterhead and Fraserburgh if you wanted to make your walk a longer one way trip, returning via the bus. I did that yesterday for a walk from Peterhead to St Fergus.


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