Over a relatively short distance, this is a fine hill-walk through mixed woodland, pine forest and heather moors. The views over the Howe of Cromar to the Cairngorms are particularly stunning, but there are wonderful perspectives all around Deeside and Aberdeenshire to enjoy.
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach #201/202 service from Banchory. Check timetables. There is a large lay-by to park in at the walk start/end point. See Waypoint #1.
Length: 5.440 km / 3.40 mi
Height Gain: 206 meter.
Height Loss: 206 meter.
Max Height: 471 meter.
Min Height: 286 meter.
Surface: Moderate. The route doesn’t appear to be well used, so may be a little overgrown in summer months. We encountered a couple of very wet sections on the early part of the ascent.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on the public road, on or near the B9119.
Refreshments: We can recommend the Commercial Hotel and Angie’s Cafe in Tarland Square. Other options: Aberdeen Arms, and Tarland Pharmacy and Coffee Shop.
This is a fairly straightforward hill walk, with an initial ascent through open mixed woodland on the north-western shoulder of Craiglich Hill before passing through moorland, some commercial pine forest, then moorland again at the extensive summit area. The first part of the walk is close to the Queen’s View viewpoint on the B9119 road to Tarland (from Westhill). Here, the mountains of Lochnagar, Morven and Mount Keen set an exceptionally beautiful backdrop to the rolling patchwork of fields and woodlands of the Howe of Cromar. Queen Victoria was said to be enchanted by this view of the Howe, and the viewpoint is named in recognition of that. It’s no surprise, therefore that the views ahead of you and below you, as you climb and descend on this route, are equally, if not more, breath-taking. On reaching the summit, you will find that there is a trig point, a partly broken down memorial cairn, some fire beating implements, and a small tree. On a clear day, the views in every direction, near and far, are truly fantastic. If you are like us you will spend some time identifying hilltops all around the splendid panorama! There is no sign of a memorial plaque now on or about the crumbling cairn, but, apparently, the “…monument was erected by the tenantry of the estates of Farquharson of Finzean, who owned three quarters of the land hereabouts in the 19th century …” Thanks to Stanley Howe for this information, who photographed the monument’s (then broken) plaque in the 1980’s. See: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3473742. There is archaeological evidence of an ancient hut circle and field system on the SW slope of Craiglich but these have been largely obscured by forestry, and the site is not passed on our route. The nearby village of Tarland is certainly worth a visit, perhaps for a post-walk snack. It has a fine old square, with some buildings dating back around 300 years.