(137) Hopeman-Clashach Cove-Duffus Circuit (Moray)

Route Summary
One of our longer walks, but with mostly gentle gradients, save for the short diversion to a pretty cove. Overall, this is a nice combination of coast and country, with a pretty harbour to linger by, and a sprinkling of medieval history at Old Duffus kirkyard thrown into the mix.

Duration: 3.5 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach bus service to/from Elgin. Check timetables. Small free car-park at Hopeman harbour where the walk starts/ends.
Length: 10.500 km / 6.56 mi
Height Gain: 144 meter.
Height Loss: 144 meter.
Max Height: 59 meter.
Min Height: 3 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Good signposted paths. Long section on return leg on hard-surfaced cycle-way.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Hopeman and Duffus.

Description
This is a varied circular walk, heading out from Hopeman along the attractive Moray coast before diverting inland to visit the historic St Peter’s Kirk at Duffus. Hopeman is situated in a sheltered position, with excellent views across the Moray Firth to northern Scotland and the hills of Caithness. It was established in 1805 to house people forcibly displaced during the Highland Clearances. The harbour was built in 1838 to support the expanding fishing industry and the export of sandstone from nearby quarries. The harbour now boasts a busy little marina for leisure craft and a “sea-school” for the nearby Gordonstoun private school. Hopeman has two sandy beaches split by the harbour with the larger East Beach backed by grassy sand dunes set off by unusual and colourful beach huts overlooking rocky areas on the foreshore with excellent rock-pools for paddling in and exploring. Further east on the route, Clashach Cove and beach sits within a sheltered bowl open to the sea. It is a deservedly pretty spot for a summer picnic and a paddle, and to explore the large cave and stone arch through the cliff. Leaving the coast, our route heads inland for the small village of Duffus and the ruin of St Peter’s Kirk. Duffus is a grid plan village established as a planned settlement in 1811. It replaced an earlier medieval settlement which lay a little to the east where only the ruined parish church and market cross remain, at the turning point on our route. Thanks to Historic Environment Scotland for the following: “The ‘Church of the Blessed Peter at Duffus’ is first mentioned in a charter from 1190 The church was probably built by Freskin de Moray, who also constructed the mighty Duffus Castle nearby. The church was badly damaged in the early 1300s during the Wars of Independence. It is situated in an idyllic location among mature trees. A rare medieval ‘mercat’ cross survives among the grave stones.” See http://bit.ly/38ukr36 and http://bit.ly/2IdyejT. From the old churchyard, the walk returns to explore Hopeman, with much of the route following a new hard-surfaced cycle-way path. We suggest a visit to Duffus Castle after the walk (pics included in our Photos link).

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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