(195) Aboyne Stone Circle-Queen’s Hill-Aboyne Loch (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
Never far from popular Aboyne village, on Deeside, this attractive route takes in walking in pine and broad-leaf woodland, open parkland, and by the shores of the pretty Loch of Aboyne. The visit to the unusual Aboyne Stone Circle, an historical curiosity, adds an intriguing further element.

Duration: 2.75 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach bus services along the A93 Deeside route. Check timetables. Free parking in the car-park off the A93 Ballater Road, at the walk start/end point, or in Station Square.
Length: 8.4 km / 5.22 mi. Height Gain/Loss: 157 meter.
Max Height: 218 meter. Min Height: 125 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of tarred roads, hard-surfaced and rough uneven paths. The circuit is not suitable for off-road mobility scooters due to a kissing gate, and a stile.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads, and on the golf course.
Refreshments: Options in Aboyne.

Involving moderate effort, this is an enjoyable walking route, in an attractive mixed environment, which ascends onto the wooded slopes of Queen’s Hill on the northern outskirts of the large Deeside village of Aboyne. At various points there are fine views of the Strathdee countryside, with a particularly eye-catching perspective on Mount Keen from the Tarland Way section. With its large open “green” at the centre, and well-preserved and re-vitalised railway station square, the settlement has a very relaxed ambience, making it particularly popular with summer visitors. In the early part of the walk we divert to visit the Aboyne Stone Circle in Image Wood, on the policies of Aboyne Castle. The circle is unusually small, and some doubts have been raised as to its authenticity, with the suggestion that it may have been created as a landscape feature (see Waypoint 4 for a link to more information). After ascending into the fairly open conifer woodland on Queen’s Hill, there is an option to divert left and uphill to the summit of Mortlich Hill, where there are the remains of a Pictish fort and a Victorian monument. This optional diversion adds 1.5 km to the route, and a further 156 m of fairly steep ascent. On the return leg, after a pleasant descent through open woodland, the route meets the shores of the scenic Aboyne Loch. Having once served as a reservoir for a nearby mill, the loch is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest owing to its aquatic flora and fauna and rich reed-bed and fen vegetation. It is also an important site for butterflies. It provides a valuable habitat for waterfowl, including wigeon, goosander and whooper swans, with osprey regularly seen fishing there. Towards the end, the walk crosses the attractive undulating fairways of the Aboyne golf course before following the Tarland Burn back into the village.

Note: Aboyne Golf Club have asked us to emphasise the following ”…this is an active golf course and warning signs are situated warning of the dangers…”. More details here: https://t.ly/0LZqG . See also the Scottish Outdoor Access Code guide to walking on golf courses: https://t.ly/KlwYp .

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 Alltrails
Access Walk on Wikiloc

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