Unusually, this walk starts and finishes on a hilltop, albeit not a very high hill. There is a wonderful panoramic view from the start, progressing to fantastic views of the Bennachie range in the mid-section of the route, from a grassy old road above the Garioch farmlands.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: There is no public transport route close to the walk start point. There is a small rough car-parking area at the start of the walk near the Meldrum Mast on Core Hill.
Length: 8.570 km / 5.36 mi
Height Gain: 135 meter
Height Loss: 135 meter
Max Height: 244 meter
Min Height: 134 meter
Surface: Moderate. A mix of soft grassy paths, hard farm roads, and tarred minor roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads and near to farm livestock.
Refreshments: Options in Oldmeldrum.
From the very start, at the summit of the 285 m Core Hill, this walk provides some wonderful open views of the rich farming heartland of Aberdeenshire, covering the fertile and productive Garioch and Formartine areas on either side of the hill. All along the lengthy mid-section of the route, on what may be the remains of an old turnpike road, there are particularly stunning views of the Bennachie range, and to the faraway Grampian Mountains in the west. The Meldrum broadcasting mast on the Core Hill, where you start and finish the walk, played an iconic role at the dawn of the television age, transmitting 405 line analogue BBC TV signals to the NE of Scotland from 1955 to 1985. Nowadays the mast transmits FM and DAB radio to the region. There is an interesting BBC coat of arms on the transmitter building, the background to which is explained in the guidance for Waypoint #1. Also passed on the route is the base for the Mackie’s Ice Cream empire, and the prominent wind turbine and solar panel farms that support the enterprise. The Mackie family have been farming at Westertown since 1912, and Mackie’s of Scotland is now a very well-known Scottish food brand. Mackie’s were formerly a milk retail company and in 1986 began making ice cream. In recent years, the business has committed to being self-sufficient in renewable energy and to take “… care of the land, wildlife, farm animals, staff and local environment in the best way possible”. They have four wind turbines with a total capacity of 3 MW and have also installed a 10 acre site of solar panels with capacity of 1.8 MW. The slurry from the cows is pumped up to a slurry lagoon on top of Easterton Hill and mixed with waste water. It is then used as natural fertiliser and spread on the farm fields via four miles of pipe-work. All in all, an interesting, and not over-taxing, walk with some fantastic views.