An excellent half-day hill walk incorporating a good mix of pine forest, heather moorland and farmland environments. Along the way there are lots of opportunities to rub shoulders with the history and myth associated with the Bennachie range.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No suitable public transport links nearby. Free Rowan Tree car-park at start of walk.
Length: 9.870 km / 6.17 mi
Height Gain: 379 meter
Height Loss: 379 meter
Max Height: 462 meter
Min Height: 142 meter
Surface: Moderate. Well maintained paths. The Old Turnpike Road section after Waypoint 11 may be muddy in places.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: We can recommend the Old Post Office Tea Room in Chapel of Garioch (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Otherwise – Lil’ C’s Bar-B-Q in Oyne and lots of options in Inverurie.
The granite tor on Craigshannoch Hill is less commonly visited than its more popular sister peaks in the Bennachie range, Mither Tap and Oxen Craig. That’s a shame because the walking environment to Craigshannoch and the spectacular views from the top are very similar to those of its neighbours. This route kicks off from the Rowan Tree car-park on the north side of the Bennachie Hills, ascends to the Bennachie plateau, then descends to the Back o’Bennachie car-park before making a very pleasant return along a now green section of the Old Turnpike Road from Aberdeen to Inverness. There are echoes of history and myth throughout the walk. On the initial climb the route joins the Maiden’s Causeway, an ancient footpath to the Iron-Age fort on the Mither Tap with connotations of a maiden’s pact with the Devil! Just off the path, at a favourite picnic spot, is Hosie’s Well, where the spring waters are said to represent the tears of a soldier at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, who died of a broken heart and was buried on the nearby hillside, lamenting lost love. Soon after, the path passes the two granite tors that make up Little John’s Length, a hammock-like stretch of moorland where the giant, Jock o’Bennachie, took his rest. The focal point of the walk is then reached at Craigshannoch Tor (418 m) where there are fine views in all directions. On the cliffs under the summit is a cave where, in 1640, John Leith, Laird of Harthill Castle hid as he watched his home burn. After visiting the granite lintel quarry on Little Oxen Craig, abandoned after a waterspout destroyed the access road in 1891, the route descends to follow the green track on a stretch of the Old Turnpike Road, where coaches and horses once made their bumpy way from Aberdeen to Inverness.