(052) Old Portlethen Ramble (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
An easy coastal ramble, mostly through arable farmland. The old fishing station and haul-out inlet for boats at Old Portlethen is a scenic highlight. It is important that walkers keep to the path on the stretch along the cliff-tops, where the slopes are steep and slippy.

Duration: 1.75 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 1.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent bus, and some train services, to Portlethen from Aberdeen. Check timetables. Park in the Parish Church car-park at the start/end of walk.
Length: 4.900 km / 3.06 mi
Height Gain: 119 meter  Height Loss: 119 meter
Max Height: 94 meter  Min Height: 10 meter
Surface: Moderate. A mix of paved paths, tarred road, and grassy paths. Sections may be muddy after wet weather. Stay on the path beside steep cliffs.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent. Ensure that children stay on the path beside steep cliffs. Not suitable for off-road mobility scooters due to narrow cliff-top paths and high stone steps.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Portlethen.

This is a short but varied coastal walk from the commuter settlement at Portlethen, close to the City of Aberdeen. The route encompasses a new community woodland, farmland, an old fishing village and a rugged coastline with steep cliffs, stony beaches and rocky inlets. Portlethen was originally a small fishing village. The haul-out inlet that serves as a safe haven now for “hobby” fishing craft is located in what is now called “Old Portlethen” or “Portlethen Village”, on a cliff-top position about 1 km east from Portlethen Parish Church, built in the 19thC, where the walk starts and ends. The modern town is to the west of the church, much of it built between 1985 and 2005 on an area of raised bog. Only about one half of the original moss survives and is recognised as an important nature preserve by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The track of the ancient Causey Mounth road lies on higher ground near the moss. This important passage once connected the Bridge of Dee with Muchalls Castle and Stonehaven, and played its part in the turbulent history of Scotland. What little remains of Portlethen Castle has been subsumed within the farm-house at Mains of Portlethen, passed on the walk. The castle was built by Robert Buchan, who owned the estate of Portlethen in the 17th century, and is reputed to have had a secret underground passage to the seashore. Also passed en-route is the Mill of Findon, by the Burn of Findon, an early 19th C three-storey rubble building on an L plan, now converted as a dwelling house.

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


2 thoughts on “(052) Old Portlethen Ramble (Aberdeenshire)

  1. If you do this walk again, go all the way down to the fisherman’s cottage above the beach in Old portlethen. Then take the path to the left just before the cottage. You can follow a trail all the way to Findon with amazing views of beautiful bays. Pity you missed that.


    1. Thanks for the very helpful information, Shirley. We’ll check that out with a view to putting together a new, additional walk taking in Old Portlethen and Findon. Best wishes, Alison & John Mackenzie


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