This walk through pine forest and heather, above upland pasture at Glenbuchat in Strathdon, provides many opportunities for exhilarating views. The route is short, at just over 6 km, but involves a fairly steep climb with just over 360 m in overall ascent.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: There is a very limited Stagecoach #219 bus service to the Strathdon area from Alford. Check timetables. You can park at the walk start/end point off the A97, or in the small forest car-park (may be muddy) uphill, close by.
Length: 6.090 km / 3.81 mi
Height Gain: 366 meter.
Height Loss: 366 meter.
Max Height: 552 meter.
Min Height: 257 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Partly on good forest roads. The main ascent and initial descent between Waypoints 3 and 8 is on narrow paths, fairly steep at times. Occasional sections may be muddy or waterlogged.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and (considerable) overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead at the start/end point on edge of the busy A97 road.
Refreshments: The Goodbrand and Ross Tearoom in Corgarff is about 9 miles away on the A944. Otherwise, options in Alford, 15 miles away.
This is a short but steep walk to the summit of Ben Newe in Strathdon, at the north-eastern corner of the Cairngorms National Park. Although the slopes of Ben Newe are extensively forested with commercial plantations, the walking environment is mostly composed of mature, widely spaced, conifers. A long section on the fairly relentless ascent has a marvellous open perspective, overlooking upland pasture in Glenbuchat, above the old castle ruins. The views all around from the summit tor, where there is a cairn with seats and a trig point, are tremendous. In the middle distance, Morven is prominent to the south, and the more distant distinctive peak of Lochnagar is also visible. The unusual granite tors of Ben Avon are particularly prominent to the south-west, and the Buck of Cabrach stands out to the north. There is a stunning picture-postcard view down to Glenbuchat, on the north side, with the ruin of Glenbuchat Castle just visible on your right side, guarding the entrance to the glen. The summit of Ben Newe is known for its “sacred well”, supposedly with supernatural qualities. Actually a small sheltered rock-pool filled with rainwater [from Canmore] “…the well was renowned for its cures … many pins were found in the well, and coins and charms were offered …[and it] … may be the sacred place (the Celtic ‘nemeton’) preserved in the ‘Newe’ element of Ben Newe …”. Remote Glenbuchat was once home to a diverse community of 500 people – living off the upland landscape in a mostly self-sufficient and inter-dependant way, and having little need for the outside world. Today, the population is a tenth of that. 16th Century Glenbuchat Castle played its part in Scotland’s bloody history, and, although now a crumbling ruin, it is certainly worth a visit after the walk.