(043) Monymusk-River Don-Clyan’s Dam Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
A short and easy walk in pleasant rural surroundings and on established paths from the eye-catching little village of Monymusk. There is negligible overall ascent over the varied circuit taking in mature woods, a riverside track, and a delightful little loch.

Duration: 1.25 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 1.25 hours.
Transport/Parking: Infrequent Stagecoach #421 bus service from Inverurie. Check timetable. Easy parking in the village square at the start/end of walk.
Length: 3.870 km / 2.42 mi
Height Gain: 55 meter
Height Loss: 55 meter
Max Height: 120 meter
Min Height: 90 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly on good paths and farm tracks. A short section on a quiet minor road.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near wildfowl, as advised by signs during the walk.
Refreshments: The Grant Arms inn in Monymusk has limited opening hours. Options in Kemnay and Inverurie.

***As at Jan 2022, fallen trees are blocking the path between Waypoints 7 and 8. It is possible to go right on an indistinct path towards the adjoining field to go around the obstacle, returning to the route beside the last of a series of Redwood trees.***

This is a short but scenic walk from the tidy and architecturally interesting little village of Monymusk through mature woodlands on the Monymusk Estate, along the banks of the River Don, and by the pretty artificial loch at Clyan’s Dam. There are good views of the Bennachie and Mennaway Hills, especially from the riverside. The Monymusk Estate was acquired by the Grant family in 1712 and Archibald Grant was made factor on his 20th birthday in 1716. Over the following 62 years Archibald, later 2nd Baronet, transformed the estate into one of the best examples of 18th century agricultural improvements, including a rebuild of the original 13th C Monymusk House. In the course of laying out a large formal landscape he planted over 48 million trees. Sir Archibald was also responsible for a re-made planned village at Monymusk. His design comprised of cottages, an inn, and places of work and trade surrounding a central square, partly with a view to encouraging cattle drovers bound for Aberdeen to rest up their cattle in safety, and some comfort for themselves. Most of the buildings in the first incarnation of the new village were replaced in the 19th C. However, the origins of the village church go back much further. The history is not entirely certain but it seems that Malcolm “Canmore” (King Malcom III of Scotland) passed through Monymusk prior to a battle with Lulach, son of Macbeth, in 1058. He broke his journey to pray at an ancient Celtic church in the village and vowed that, if the battle was won, he would build a tower to improve the existing humble church building. He defeated Lulach, and his rebuilt church, with tower (still standing), later became the basis for an Augustinian priory which existed until it was damaged in a fire in the early 16th C. Today, the village is a dormitory settlement for commuters, and a base for salmon fishing on the River Don. Monymusk House is available for events, such as weddings. For more information see:

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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