(068) Muir of Alford-Breda-River Don Circuit (Aberdeenshire

Route Summary
An easy rural ramble with very limited ascent. The highlights on the route are – the river path along the scenic valley of the River Don and the wider vistas to the Bennachie and Menaway Hills from the mid-point at Auchintoul Farm. As ever, some historical interest too!

Duration: 2 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport links close to the walk start/end point. Nearest bus service to Alford. A small parking area near the roadside outside the old church at the walk start.
Length: 6.04 km / 3.78 mi
Height Gain: 78 meter  Height Loss: 78 meter
Max Height: 193 meter  Min Height: 144 meter
Surface: Moderate. A mix of tarred surfaces, hard-surfaced rough roads and rough paths. The riverside path is through long grass in parts and will be wet after rain, particularly in the summer months. Not suitable for off-road mobility scooters due to narrow grassy paths, and a steel barrier across the track at Waypoint 9.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Alford.

This is a very gentle and pleasant rural walk in the Howe of Alford with a particularly scenic section along the River Don, where Lord Arthur’s Hill dominates on the north side of the river, and the Coiliochbar Hill on the south. Sixty-two miles long, the River Don rises in the shadow of Glen Avon and follows a sinuous route eastwards through Strathdon, the Howe of Alford, and the Garioch, before entering the North Sea just north of Old Aberdeen. In Roman times the river was recorded by Ptolemy of Alexandria as “Devona”, meaning ‘goddess’. The walk starts at the now unused Auld West Kirk near Muir of Alford on the A980 road. It is believed that there has been a place of Christian worship on this site since the late 12th C. The church was dedicated to St Andrew, and was given by Gillechrist, Earl of Mar, to the Priory of Monymusk. The present church was built in 1804. In the graveyard there are some interesting old stones from the 17th and 18th C, although most are from the 19th. The graves of early botanist John Duncan, and Alford-born poet Charles Murray are here. On the western exterior there are several good wall monuments including an armorial to George Melville (1678), and the Forbes of Balfluig mural monument (1725?). Before reaching the River Don path, the route passes close to Breda House, a red granite mansion in the Scots baronial style which is dominated by a three-storey main block with a circular conical-roofed tower. It was built in 1894, designed by the notable Aberdeen architect, Marshall Mackenzie, and was used as an auxiliary hospital in the First World War. In trees, close to the River Don path, but surrounded, now, by a cultivated field, is the Breda Mausoleum, built in 1831. This slab roofed single storey edifice was built for Andrew Farquharson, Laird of the Breda estate. There are some extremely fine views east towards the Bennachie and Mennaway Hills from the Auchintoul hillside at the turning point on the route. See also:

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

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