(087) Meikle Tap (Hill of Fare) Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
Close to Westhill and Banchory, this is an accessible walk in open conifer forest and heather moorland, easily accomplished in a half-day excursion. The ascent to the top is gradual, whilst the views from the top are wonderful. A good hill-walk for walkers of all abilities.

Duration: 2.5 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport passing walk start/end point. Roadside lay-by at start/end point. Space for about 4 to 5 cars.
Length: 7.220 km / 4.51 mi
Height Gain: 257 meter.  Height Loss: 257 meter.
Max Height: 353 meter.  Min Height: 111 meter.
Surface: Moderate. The first half of the walk is mostly on good forest and land-rover roads. The second half is mostly on a rough path which may be muddy after rain. We believe that a modified (there and back) version of the route may be suitable for off-road mobility scooters. See the note at Waypoint 1 for details.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead at the start/end point on the busy B977 road.
Refreshments: Echt Tandoori in Echt. Jaffs in Dunecht. Options in Westhill, Banchory and Torphins.

Starting and ending in mature conifer forest [lower slopes now felled as at August 2022] close to the village of Echt, this is a short but invigorating hill-walk that should be within the scope of most walkers. The woodland environment is very pleasant and reasonably open, followed by a sweeping steady ascent which affords some marvellous views along the way. Just below the summit is a tall and intriguing solitary standing stone, alongside other, fallen stones, indicating the possible remains of a more extensive stone circle. However, the origin of the stone, or stones, does not appear to be documented, and nor is the position marked on the OS map. The 360° panoramic views on reaching the trig point and mast at the summit are fabulous, providing lots of scope for identifying points of interest, and peaks, near and far. An unusual stone cairn there provides 4 roughly-seated alcoves at the 4 points of the compass so that you can enjoy the view and a mid-walk snack in relative shelter! The return leg of the walk takes an, at times, steep descent on a rough path, which may be muddy, before regaining the forest. Meikle Tap is on the north-east corner of the extensive Hill of Fare massif, an area of forestry and rough moorland north of Banchory with a number of distinct peaks. Meikle Tap featured in the topography of the Battle of Corrichy in 1562. It was fought between the forces of George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly, against the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, under James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray. Mary had come in person to the north of Scotland intent on confronting the power of the Gordons, whose force originally took a vantage point on the lower northern slopes of the Meikle Tap. However, damaging arquebus musket shot drove them down to marshy ground. Apparently, the Gordon’s tactic of charging with swords was defeated by Moray’s long pikes, and they were speedily routed.

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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