This is a delightful rural ramble in mixed countryside and woodland around and about the iconic Craigievar Castle, a popular and well-deserved visitor attraction. On a sheltered hillside, the natural environment is particularly favoured, and there are great views, near and far.
Duration: 2 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport links nearby. There is a car-park where you start/finish the walk. National Trust for Scotland charges apply (free to members). Craigievar Castle is off the A980, 6 miles south of Alford and 26 miles west of Aberdeen.
Length: 6.260 km / 3.91 mi
Height Gain: 197 meter.
Height Loss: 197 meter.
Max Height: 350 meter.
Min Height: 209 meter.
Surface: Moderate. All the paths and tracks are well-maintained, although not surfaced. There may be muddy sections after rain. Steep gradients 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: There is a refreshments kiosk (The Barmkin) behind the castle. Options in Alford.
This is a memorable walk in the grounds of Craigievar Castle, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. On the undulating route, which combines the signed Woodland and Hill trails with a diversion along the tree-lined South Drive, there are wonderful views, near and far, at every turn. With its eye-catching pink lime harling, the castle is a magnificent and intact example of early Scottish Baronial architecture. Replacing a 14th C fortified house, the castle was completed in 1626 by William Forbes, brother of the Bishop of Aberdeen. William was nicknamed Danzig Willy for his shrewd trading success with the Baltic states. Internally, Craigievar is particularly noted for its exceptionally crafted plasterwork ceilings. In modern times, the castle is reputed to have been one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s castle motif. The Castle sits on a protected position half way up the SE slope of Craigievar Hill, 6 miles from Alford, just off the A980 road. The landscape around the castle was extensively re-designed in the mid 19th C to integrate natural features with the position of the building and its immediate surrounds. At that time, Douglas Fir, Sequoia, and Monkey Puzzle trees were planted where the South Drive opens up to the castle, and these have matured into mighty and magnificent specimens. The castle grounds and Craigievar Hill are renown for the variety of fungi to be found, especially in late summer and autumn months. During the walk, in addition to the wonderful visual impact of the surrounding hills, woods and farmland, there are striking views to the Lochnagar mountain on the edge of the Cairngorms, and the distinctive Bennachie range, a dominating feature for so many parts of Aberdeenshire. For more information, see: