(147) Lumphanan-Cairnbeathie-Hillhead Loop (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This walk from the historic village of Lumphanan occupies a pleasant pastoral landscape in mid-Deeside, with wide-open views throughout. The ascent on an old drove and military road to an area of undulating farmland is gradual, but reveals some breathtaking scenery to enjoy.

Duration: 2.75 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: The Stagecoach 202 service from Banchory stops at Lumphanan. Check Timetables. Free public parking in Station Square at the walk start/end point.
Length: 7.700 km / 4.81 mi
Height Gain: 169 meter.
Height Loss: 169 meter.
Max Height: 216 meter.
Min Height: 166 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of surfaces, taking in tarred access roads and, often grassy, farm tracks.
Difficulty: Easy.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep on lead near to farm animals and on public roads.
Refreshments: We can recommend the Meet Again Tea Shop on Perkhill Road. The village shops sells hot drinks to take out.

Description
This is a very enjoyable hike in delightful rural surroundings, taking in a gentle ascent to the watershed between Lumphanan and Kincardine O’Neil, mostly walking between old stone field dykes on an old road used by cattle drovers and later consolidated into the 18thC military road network. In the early stages of the ascent you look down on the attractive St Finan’s Church and Manse, and the Peel of Lumphanan, the impressive earthwork remains of an important 13thC fortification now maintained by Historic Scotland. As you climb, fine open views to a broad western aspect open up, where you can readily identify prominent hilltops such as Mount Keen, Lochnagar, and Morven. Below you in the middle distance, under Craiglich Hill, is the shallow bowl of farmland that was formerly the Loch of Auchlossan before it was drained in the time of agricultural improvement. At the mid-point on the route there is a short descent from Hillhead of Dess Farm in the direction of Kincardine O’Neil. Here, there are good views of the Deeside valley, with the peaks of Kerloch, Mount Shade, Clachnaben and Peter’s Hill particularly standing out. Much of the route follows a section of the Old Military Road that ran from Fochabers to Fettercairn, completed under the direction of General Wade’s deputy, Major William Caulfield, in 1761. The village of Lumphanan is famously associated with King Macbeth of Scotland. The Battle of Lumphanan was fought on 15 August 1057, between Macbeth and the future King Malcolm III. According to traditional sources, Macbeth was killed at Lumphanan, having led his retreating forces north to make a final stand. There is a well close to the village where Macbeth is believed to have taken his last drink in the heat of battle and, nearby, “Macbeth’s Stone” is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded before his body was buried under a cairn. The Lumphanan Paths Group are doing a great job in way-marking and maintaining walking routes in the area. Be sure to check out their excellent Lumphanan Paths leaflet which describes the local walking opportunities and includes a comprehensive summary of local history. See: https://bit.ly/3nuTz8J

Links:
Photos from walk  
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Outdooractive
Access Walk on Wikiloc

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