A fairly short and easy excursion into a birch and conifer woodland, returning on a path along the south bank of the River Dee, near Ballater. The focal point on the walk are the fine lines of the striking white-painted suspension footbridge at Cambus O’May.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach bus services along Deeside. A request stop may be possible at Cambus O’May. Check timetables. There is a small car-park at the walk start/end point. See Waypoint 1 for information about getting there.
Length: 5.660 km / 3.54 mi
Height Gain: 105 meter.
Height Loss: 105 meter.
Max Height: 184 meter.
Min Height: 234 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of good paths and forestry roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead in public areas and near farm livestock.
Refreshments: Options in Ballater and Aboyne.
This is a gentle little walk in mature woodland, to the east of Ballater, with the return route taking a scenic fishers’ path along the southern bank of the River Dee. Some areas in Torphantrick Wood have recently been felled, but this helps to give the walk a more open feel. Of course, the main event is undoubtedly crossing the white-painted Cambus O’May suspension bridge, built in the Edwardian era to replace a row-boat ferry. This handsome iron bridge was financed by a bequest from the estate of Alexander Gordon, a local man who made his fortune in the brewing trade in London. Apparently, when he was a boy, Alexander had witnessed an accidental drowning incident near this spot on the Dee, which inspired his desire to provide a safe crossing by bridge. He was also responsible for funding the similar Polhollick Suspension Bridge, west of Ballater. In 1988, the bridge had to be rebuilt for safety reasons, but was constructed to the same design as the original. The bridge was badly damaged during Storm Frank in 2015 and only re-opened in 2021 after a community funding effort that included contributions from the Scottish Government and Prince Charles. Soon after crossing the suspension bridge, in a small clearing in the woods, the route passes the ruins of Torphantrick “fermtoun”, all that is left of a small farming community, comprising the remains of longhouses and small enclosures. It is believed that an old droving road going south passed through here, following a forded crossing of the River Dee nearby. Before long, the outward route reaches an open area of farmland at Glascorrie, surrounded on all sides by trees. Here, the route descends to the riverbank for the return leg alongside the sparkling clear waters of the River Dee. At the start and finish, the walk has a very short section on the Deeside Way, a 66 km trail that follows, in part, the bed of the former Deeside Railway.