(175) Kemnay-Place of Origin-Kemnay Steens Circuit (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This is a varied walk with fine views and lots of interest to enjoy along the way. After an initial short, sharp climb to a unique viewpoint above the Kemnay Quarry, this easy walk has very little ascent or descent.

Duration: 2 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach bus service from Inverurie. Check timetables. Free car-park at the start/finish of walk.
Length: 7.8 km
Height Gain: 107 meter. Height Loss: 107 meter.
Max Height: 129 meter. Min Height: 97 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of hard paths, grassy tracks, and tarred surfaces. Likely to be muddy in places. The route is suitable for off-road mobility scooters with the possible exception of the summit area of the Place of Origin viewpoint, but see also (steps avoidance) diversion advice at Waypoints 4 and 7.
Difficulty: Easy.
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 Kemnay.

Description
Set amongst an expansive farming landscape by the River Don, the busy village of Kemnay is an attractive place to live, reflected in the extensive housing developments over recent decades. This is a very pleasant walk, facilitating some historical insights, and goes mostly around the periphery of the modern village, giving the route a more rural aspect than you might imagine. The walk starts with a short climb to the unusual and striking “Place of Origin” viewpoint on a man-made low hilltop above the village. It was conceived as a ‘landscape as art’ project, addressing the history of granite quarrying in Kemnay, and receiving a coveted Saltire Award. The viewpoint reveals the drama of the flooded quarry, close by below, with a panoramic perspective on the wider landscape of fields, woods and mountains, particularly the Bennachie range. The next significant section of the route follows the River Don upstream, where we are introduced to the first of six of the “Kemnay Steens” to be encountered on the walk. Arising out of another local public art project, artist James Winnett was engaged to create a total of nine intricately decorated stones which were placed around the village public space in 2020. Each of the distinctive stones relates to an aspect of the history of the area. The route then heads away from the river, and out of the village to the south-east, in the direction of Leschangie Hill and Wood (where an extension to the route is possible). This section encloses Kemnay House and its policies, glimpsed through the trees, including the so-called “Wilderness” which was “…planned and planted by [local laird] George Burnett (1714-1780). He mixed indigenous and exotic trees, turning a peat bog into an area of beauty to be enjoyed by all who visited …” The Georgian (and earlier) house and grounds can be visited on certain days of the year. The final section of the route passes more of the Kemnay Steens in and around Bogbeth Park before returning to the start-point. Useful link: https://www.kemnay.info/

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

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