(044) Kirkton of Bourtie-Hill of Barra Return (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
The focal point of this easy walk in fertile Garioch farming country is the exhilarating view from the summit of Barra Hill, redolent with the memories of historical drama over the ages. There is also an opportunity to visit the old country church-yard at Kirkton of Bourtie.

Duration: 1 hour.

 

Route Overview
Duration: 1 hour.
Transport/Parking: No public transport close to walk start/finish. There is a small car-park beside the Old Bourtie Church at the start/end of the walk.
Length: 2.310 km / 1.44 mi
Height Gain: 62 meter
Height Loss: 62 meter
Max Height: 186 meter
Min Height: 162 meter
Surface: Moderate. Good paths, field edges and fields.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but note there are stiles to cross. Must be on lead on public roads and around any cattle or sheep (highly likely!) encountered.
Refreshments: Options in Inverurie and Oldmeldrum.

Description
This is a short but very satisfying there and back walk to the summit of Barra Hill. Barra is a low hill with a marvellous view from the top of the Bennachie range to the south, and sweeping open views of the fertile Garioch farmland all around. The walk starts from the churchyard at Kirkton of Bourtie, between Inverurie and Oldmeldrum, making a gentle ascent through farmland and a small wood to the slopes of the hill. Stiles are conveniently placed in order to cross field boundaries as you make your ascent. Upon reaching the summit area you will immediately discern the impressive remains of three grass-covered levels of tiered earth and stone ramparts. Barra Hill is, in fact, a remarkable example of an Iron Age fort. Archaeological excavations have uncovered four prior phases of human activity: 1) early Prehistoric, 2) Neolithic to mid Iron Age, 3) late Prehistoric, 4) Pictish and Medieval. The slopes of the hill also show evidence of pre-modern rig and furrow farming practice. Historical accounts suggest that the Earl of Comyn’s supporters camped on the hill-top in May 1308 before their bloody rout the next day at the hands of Robert the Bruce’s kinsmen, during Bruce’s savage military campaign to take over the kingship of Scotland. Bourtie Kirk, at the start/end of the walk has a long history. The present church building has an unusual pyramidal shape, and dates from 1806. Christian worship at this rural spot is believed to date back 800 years. The earliest gravestone discovered here is from the 16th Century.

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

 

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