(126) Cothiemuir Hill-Turf Hill Circuit (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
Although this is a short hill-walk to a relatively low wooded summit, the ascent provides good exercise and fine views. As it is one of the least known tops on the Bennachie range, you are unlikely to meet fellow walkers. The Cothiemuir Stone Circle makes for a memorable finale.

Duration: 3 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. See Waypoint 1 for directions to start/end point, just off the Lord’s Throat minor road. Small parking area at walk start-point.
Length: 5.870 km / 3.67 mi
Height Gain: 236 meter.
Height Loss: 236 meter.
Max Height: 370 meter.
Min Height: 169 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Mostly on rough moorland paths. Some road walking near start/ end of route.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, keep dogs on lead near to any farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Alford.

Description
This is a great wee hill walk with an impressive finale at the ancient Cothiemuir Stone Circle. Most of the route is on a heather hillside with good views in all directions. There is an energetic ascent, passing abandoned grouse butts, and gaining 236 m in a relatively short distance. At 363 m high, Turf Hill is one of the lower tops on the Bennachie range. It overlooks Keig on the south-western edge of the range, which provides it with a marvellous viewpoint over the Howe of Alford, the nearby Menaway Hills and up to the principal Bennachie tors visible from the southern side: Mither Tap, Oxen Craig, and Watch Craig. In the distance, Morven and Mount Keen are prominent. In the early part of the ascent up Turf Hill there are good views of the Hill of Airlie to the immediate west. Here, a patchwork of fields lead up to a wooded hilltop. Hidden in the trees are the remains of an Iron Age hill-fort, with double defensive rings, known as the Barmkyn of North Keig. The hill has very uniform slopes on all sides, allowing our ancestors who lived there, or who sought refuge there, to readily see any potentially hostile approaches. The Cothiemuir Hill Stone Circle, now also in a wooded glade, is known as the Devil’s Hoofmarks due to natural indentations in the recumbent stone. Although upright stones are missing around the circle, the recumbent stone and flankers are particularly impressive. The recumbent is thought to weigh over 20 tons and the flankers are around 9 ft tall. Typically, the aspect over the recumbent is towards the south-west, and the circle is believed to have been built over 4,000 years ago on the site of an earlier burial cairn with a central chamber (the covering stone still lies in the centre of the circle). For more information, see: https://tinyurl.com/y4yff5sc . After finishing the walk you may wish to take a respectful stroll around the woodland burials area. Beside the information board you can collect a leaflet about the woodland burials. For more information, see: https://tinyurl.com/y55k5ds4 .

 

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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