A good, there and back, coastal walk with a couple of diversions to take in fantastic views of the rugged coastline punctuated by rocky headlands, steep cliffs, and outstanding stone sea stacks, standing tall amongst the swirling waves.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach #7 bus service. Check timetable. Park in the Bettridge Sports Centre car-park at start/finish of walk.
Length: 7.430 km / 4.64 mi
Height Gain: 265 meter
Height Loss: 265 meter
Max Height: 80 meter
Min Height: 19 meter
Surface: Moderate. Some paths may be muddy after rain. Watch out for sharp brambles on the clifftop path near to the Burn of Muchalls return point.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes. Must be on lead on public roads and around any cattle or sheep encountered.
Refreshments: Teacake Cafe, Newton Arms and Quoiters Bar in Newtonhill. The Stack Restaurant/Bar in Muchalls.
*** As of April 2021 we have a report that the path to Grim Haven bay (see Waypoints 10 and 11) is closed due to landslips. Also, at Waypoint 16, the waymarked path is meantime being directed around a building site. ***
This invigorating coastal walk, mid-way between Aberdeen and Stonehaven, provides some spectacular views of cliffs, headlands, and rocky sea stacks. Our original ambition had been for the route to reach Doonie Point, about 1.5 kilometres south of Muchalls village but, unfortunately, the footbridge over the Burn of Muchalls is no longer there, and the water level in the burn was too high for us! The walk starts and finishes in the lower part of Newtonhill. Now a commuter settlement, it was originally a fishing village known as Skateraw (Gaelic for “a row [of houses, presumably] on a rock”). The 19th C railway station above the village was named “Newtonhill” and so gradually that name took precedence. It is believed that the last thatched roof on an old fisher cottage was replaced in the mid 20th C. The old houses that remain have all been modified and extended but an old 18th C smokehouse still stands on Skateraw Road. The best views (and best access to the rugged cliffs and stony beaches) on the walk are achieved after passing through Muchalls. It is here that footage was recorded for the 1990 film “Hamlet”. Charles Dickens visited Muchalls and declared that the area was remarkably beautiful. Between 1849 and 1950 the village was served by the Muchalls Railway Station, catering for day-trippers from the city of Aberdeen. All that remains of the railway station is an intriguing “Peace Sign” monument, passed on the walk, that commemorates the end of the Great War in 1919. From the seashore here there is a smugglers cave, believed to be one mile long, and reaching Muchalls Castle. It is now boarded up, which may be just as well as it is reputed to be haunted by a “green lady”!
Thanks to Julie Graham for the following suggestions for enhancing the walk: https://t.ly/ePA8b