(092) Potarch Bridge-Craigmore Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
A relatively gentle forest walk over a tranquil wooded hillside in the Deeside valley. The attractive arched Potarch Bridge at the start/end of the walk makes for a very scenic outlook over the River Dee and surrounding countryside.

Duration: 2 hours.

 

Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: There is a bust stop at the public car-park at the walk start/end point. Frequent Stagecoach Deeside bus services. Check timetables. There is a public car-park at the walk start/end point.
Length: 6.120 km / 3.83 ml
Height Gain: 164 meter.
Height Loss: 164 meter.
Max Height: 221 meter.
Min Height: 89 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A small section on tarred road/pavement at start/end. Otherwise, good forest roads and paths.
Difficulty: Easy/Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead at start/end on, or near, public roads.
Refreshments: The Potarch Cafe/Restaurant near the walk start/end serves snacks. We can also recommend the take-away sandwiches and hot snacks at the Village Store in Kincardine O’Neill.

Description
This is a very pleasant woodland walk in the Ballogie Estate woodlands close to the hamlet of Potarch on Deeside. The Estate encourages walkers to enjoy this route, which is quite short and readily accessible to all. Less experienced walkers can be assured that the ascent to the tree-covered summit of Craigmore, a low hill on the southern banks of the River Dee, is very gradual. The woodland environment is mixed, with fairly widely spaced pines sharing the space with birch, rowan and alder. A very attractive feature of the walk, at the start/end point, is crossing the Potarch Bridge, where there are fine views of the River Dee and the Dee Valley. Completed in 1813, to a design by engineer Thomas Telford, this is a handsome 3-span bridge with pedestrian refuges. There were considerable delays during its construction due to timber being floated downstream during river spates (no HGV timber lorries to do the job in those days!) causing damage to the developing bridge structure. Just upstream from the bridge is a place called “Jock’s Leap”, where the river rushes between ledges of rough flat rocks. A local story from the 18thC tells of Jock Young, a local Deeside lad accused of theft, who escaped from his captors by jumping across the rocky gap where the river narrows. Apparently, his freedom did not last, and Jock eventually encountered the hangman’s noose. Just over the bridge you will pass a fine old building, the former Potarch Hotel, now an attractive bistro-style café/restaurant looking out over the Potarch Green. The first inn was built at Potarch in 1740, becoming a popular stopping point for travellers after the construction of the bridge. Outside the hotel you will find the “Dinnie Stanes”, a pair of lifting stones made famous by local stonemason Donald Dinnie, who carried the stones across the width of the Potarch Bridge in 1860, and went on to have an illustrious international career as a “strongman”. The stones are composed of granite, with iron rings. They have a combined weight of 332.49 kilograms (733 lb). For more info, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinnie_Stones

Links:
Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Wikiloc  

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