A relatively easy walk, initially following a good way-marked trail. On the return route there is a gradual ascent into a pine wood on good forest roads before gently dropping back into the farmland surrounding the old church at Coull.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. See Waypoint 1 for directions to start/end point. There is a small parking area at the walk start/end point.
Length: 7.110 km / 4.44 mi
Height Gain: 150 meter.
Height Loss: 150 meter.
Max Height: 223 meter.
Min Height: 136 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Outward half is on good paths and farm tracks on
way-marked trail. Good forest roads on return leg.
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 Tarland and Aboyne.
This gentle walk provides fine views of the pastoral landscape of the Howe of Cromar, framed by the imposing backdrop of Morven Hill. The first section is on fairly flat terrain, through farmland alongside the Tarland Burn, whilst the return route ascends onto the pine-forested slopes of Aboyne’s Queen’s Hill in order to loop back across Gallow Hill to the old kirk at Coull, where the walk starts. The early Scots missionary, St Nathalan, is said to have established a small church here in the 7th C. In the 12th C the church was granted to Arbroath Abbey by William the Lion. The present church building dates from the 18th C and has a Mort House in the graveyard (for temporary storage of corpses prior to interment during a period when grave-robbers would exhume corpses and sell them for medical research). At the start of the walk, the route passes the old manse, an interesting Georgian building with a distinctive tower and sheltered walled garden. The old manse is believed to have originally been built in the 18th C, with the main building re-designed and rebuilt around 1834 by renowned Aberdeen architect John Smith. Very soon, the walk joins the Tarland Way, a way-marked cycle/walking route between Aboyne and Tarland, and passes, across the Tarland Burn, the remains of Coull Castle, which occupied an important and commanding position along the ancient northern approach to the River Dee crossing at Aboyne. It was built by the Durward family in the 13th C, when they were one of the most important power-brokers in feudal Scotland, as their principal stronghold in the barony of O’Neill. The castle was said to be ruined by the first half of the 17th C. Later on, we pass under Coull House, now hidden by trees. It is described as a stylish Edwardian villa, built to be his own private residence by Marshall Mackenzie, the architect of Marischal College, Aberdeen. All in all, a varied and enjoyable walk in very agreeable scenery, with interesting historical associations.