A relatively short hill walk over varied terrain with a mostly gradual ascent. There are excellent views at many points on the route. The modern wind turbines and old abandoned slate quarries that surround the summit each provide interest and spectacle in their different ways.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: It is a 1.4 km walk from the bus-stop on the A96 at Colpy. Check Stagecoach timetables. You can park on the grassy verge by the old churchyard at the start of the walk, or beside unused (some) farm buildings (ask permission as you see fit – the farm-house does not appear to be occupied at present).
Length: 5.800 km / 3.63 mi
Height Gain: 256 meter
Height Loss: 256 meter
Max Height: 374 meter
Min Height: 181 meter
Surface: Moderate. Partly on hard-surfaced rough roads and partly on open, grassy hillside.
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. You are likely to encounter sheep on the open hillside.
Refreshments: We can recommend Morgan McVeigh’s cafe, just off the nearby A96.
This walk through farmland, conifer forest and on open grassy hillside, provides wonderful views from the summit of Hill of Tillymorgan, especially of the Bennachie range. The pastoral setting belies some important aspects of Scottish history over the last few centuries. The walk starts and ends at the ruins of the Old Kirk of Culsalmond, built, like many of its kind, to service the spiritual needs of the farm workers and support communities who engineered the massive agricultural improvements that were gathering pace, and transforming our rural landscape, in the late 18th C. The church bell-tower is striking, and very similar to the one at the Old Parish Church in Insch. Like many rural churches, the Old Kirk was the scene of violent protest in the period running up to great schism of 1843, known as “The Disruption”. This resulted in approximately one third of ministers and congregations leaving the Church of Scotland and constituting themselves as the Free Church of Scotland. For more info see: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about_us/how_we_are_organised/history After leaving the old churchyard, the route takes what remains of a section of the Old Turnpike (Toll) Road (named Lawrence/Laurence Road for reasons unknown). It was the main road between Aberdeen and Inverness before the arrival of motorised vehicles. Nowadays, modern technology is represented on the Hill of Tillymorgan by three large wind turbines, but, in times past, a different kind of technology made its mark on the landscape – slate quarrying. The Hill of Tillymorgan (and nearby Hill of Foudland) quarries were opened up in the mid 18th C. At their peak a century later, the quarries produced almost one million hand-split slates per year. The quarries closed more than 100 years ago, due to depressed demand and competition opened up by the new rail network. The quarries, spoil heaps, and stone shelters you will pass on the walk are a fascinating insight into a lost world. For more info, see:
https://www.e-architect.co.uk/scotland/scottish-slate (thanks to Mark Chalmers)
https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/smrpub/master/detail.aspx?Authority=ASH&refno=NJ63SE0022 (thanks to Aberdeenshire Council)