This is a very scenic half-day hiking excursion in a beautiful area of West Aberdeenshire, mostly through mature pine forest and on open hillside. Although classed as a “low hill”, the panoramic views from the top of Tom’s Cairn on a clear day are especially breath-taking.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. Parking will usually be available at the walk start/end point in the grounds of Birse and Feughside Church. Thank you!
Length: 10.770 km / 6.73 mi
Height Gain: 261 meter.
Height Loss: 261 meter.
Max Height: 305 meter.
Min Height: 122 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of good forest roads and grassy paths. May be muddy in places. There is a 650 m section on the B976 South Deeside Road.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes. Keep dogs on lead in the Finzean Estate, on public roads and near livestock.
Refreshments: We can recommend the Finzean Farm Shop and Cafe (located near the end of the walk).
This is a highly enjoyable walk in two halves: the first section meanders through mature forest around Finzean House, where you are likely to spot red squirrels and hear woodpeckers at work; while the final section ascends over a grass and heather hillside to a panoramic vantage point before descending to the start through open farmland with sweeping views of the Feughside valley. The area around Finzean is renown for its scenic beauty, and was the subject of landscape paintings by the celebrated 19thC Scottish artist, Joseph Farquarson (the “Painting Laird”). Finzean, on the banks of the fast-flowing River Feugh, is set in a wide valley comprised of a patchwork of fields and small woodlands, with scattered houses, farms and hamlets. A ridge of low hills, with their highest point at Tom’s Cairn (310 m), delineate the valley to the north, separating it from the River Dee. To the south and west, Finzean is sheltered by higher hills. Especially prominent in the views towards this aspect are the distinctive granite tor of Clachnaben (589 m) and Peter Hill (617 m). The Birse Community Trust has preserved three watermills for woodworking on the River Feugh, all that remains of over 40 mills that operated in the area at one time. At the mid-point of the walk, before crossing the South Deeside Road, we pass three stone monuments: the ancient Dardanus Standing Stone, the Birse Parish War Memorial and the Birse Parish Millennium Stone. Further up the wooded hillside there is another standing stone. The Dardanus Stone may have been a Bronze Age cist slab, but local tradition asserts that it marks the spot where Dardanas, a Pictish king, was killed. There are two stone cairns and a trig point at the summit of Tom’s Cairn, the focal point on our walking route. From here, on a clear day, the views are breathtaking – most immediately, the hilltops of Hill of Fare, Kerloch, Mount Shade, Clachnaben, Peter’s Hill, and, further away, Mount Battock, Mount Keen, Lochnagar, the Cairngorms, Morven, and Bennachie.