(148) Aboyne-Court Hill-River Dee Circuit (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
A varied walk, taking in the extended parkland grounds of Aboyne Castle before a gentle ascent onto the wooded shoulder of Court Hill where there are good views. The final section on the bank of the Dee provides an opportunity to appreciate the often sparkling clear waters.

Duration: 3.25 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3.25 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach run regular bus services to Aboyne. Check timetables. Free parking in the village car-park at the walk start/end point.
Length: 8.460 km / 5.29 mi
Height Gain: 123 meter. Height Loss: 123 meter.
Max Height: 200 meter. Min Height: 123 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Some walking on quiet tarred roads. Mostly good paths and tracks.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, keep dogs on lead on public roads and close to farm animals. From April to July, dogs should be kept on a short lead on the riverbank to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds such as dippers and sandpipers, inhibiting successful breeding.
Refreshments: Options in Aboyne.

Description
Although never far from the busy Deeside village of Aboyne, this varied rural walk often has an “away from it all” feel to it. Leaving the village centre, the route initially enters a parkland environment via the impressive entrance drive to Aboyne Castle, bordered at times on one side by giant Sequoia trees and, on the other side, the gently flowing Tarland Burn. Turning onto the west drive, we pass Aboyne Castle, with its eye-catching classic Scottish Baronial lines. The castle originates from the 13thC when its position provided strategic advantage for the “Mounth” crossings of the Grampian Mountains, particularly important for military purposes and for drovers herding upland “black cattle” to markets in the south of Scotland. The building has been extended and rebuilt at various times, most recently by the current Marquis of Huntly, whose family has owned it since the early 15thC. Soon, the route gently ascends away from the village onto the slopes of Court Hill, on a section of the Tarland Way, before heading west to enter an open attractive mixed woodland environment. Walking along the periphery of the wood, there are some fine views down to Aboyne and to the high hills in the SW – Hill of Cat and Mount Keen being prominent. Dropping back to the western boundary of the village, the walk takes an extended and very scenic route along the banks of the River Dee before returning to the village centre. With its large open “green” at the centre, and well-preserved and re-vitalised railway station square, Aboyne has a very relaxed ambience, making it particularly popular with summer visitors. There are good walking opportunities around and about the village. We are grateful to the Aboyne Paths & Track Group for the idea for our route, inspired by their “Paths and Tracks Around Aboyne” leaflet.

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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