My Favouite Walks

Clashmach Hill Huntly

The Clashmach hill is a great short hill walk from the centre of the town of Huntly which has a beautiful glow of yellow in the Spring from the gorse that covers it. At the summit you will be treated to amazing views of Huntly and beyond. Although it is a relatively short walk it is a vigorous climb. There is a annual race up and down the hill in July and I believe the fastest time was under 24 mins in 2021.

Distance: 4.5 miles Time : 1.5 to 2 hrs Terrain: Mix of pavement, road and rougher path, sometimes slightly over ground in the summer but well-trodden. Level: Easy with some elevation and a little steep on some parts. Access: Arrive by car or public transport. There are good train and bus links between Aberdeen and Inverness. Car parking is available at the Market Muir car park AB54 8JY.

Route: The walk starts at the Market Muir car park. As you leave the car park take a right heading towards the roundabout. When you get to the roundabout keep to the right and carefully cross the A96 and head for the opening for the minor road. Pass by The Mart & Market cafe on your right and AM Philips on your left.

Head straight up passing the bungalow on your left. The road narrows and becomes a path and after a short time takes a sharp left. Continue along the path where it will take another left turn and head up the hill. You will pass a wind turbine along the way.

Keep heading straight on and go through the gate. You will will come to a second gate once through it walk up the path that heads to the left.

Soon you will see the trig point and cairn. You can admire the 360 degree views of Huntly and the hills around including Ben Rinnes.

Don’t forget to take a selfie at the summit before retracing your steps and enjoying the views on the way back down.

On a calm day the summit is a great spot for a picnic or you could stop off at The Market Cafe for coffee and cake.

My Favouite Walks

Linn Falls Circular, Aberlour, Moray

This circular route is based around Aberlour in the heart of Speyside, an area famed for its whisky distilleries and shortbread factory. The walk takes you out of the town and into the woods. Following the woodland path, you will come to the stunning Linn Falls (Linn of Ruthrie waterfalls). On your return to the town you will pass by the Aberlour Distillery before finding the hidden packhorse bridge.

Start: The Square Aberlour Distance: 2 miles Time: 1 hour Terrain: Sections of pavements and road, along with a section of forest path and track. Some steps and rough ground. Access: Arrive by car or public transport. Stagecoach No 36 bus runs between Elgin and Aberlour at regular intervals throughout the day. Car parking available at Alice Littler Memorial park (postcode AB38 9QP). The walk starts from The Square (postcode AB38 9PX).

Route: Starting from The Square, pass the Co-op on your left-hand side and head up Queen’s Road. Once past the Fleming Hospital on your right, you will see a sign for Glenallachie and Fairy Knowe. Follow the narrow path up on to the road turning right. Just past the street of houses, take the narrower road to the back of sheds. It is signposted to the falls.

At the end of the tarred , narrow road, you will come to a gate, pass through the gate and on to a woodland path.

Stay on the main path, ignoring any paths that branch off. The main path will curve to the right, and you will descend steps with a handrail and soon see the beautiful double-cascading waterfall.

Make sure you take plenty of photographs.

You can stop for a picnic here and perhaps even a paddle.

Once you have explored the falls, Follow the Burn of Aberlour round to the right and after a short walk you will pass the Aberlour Distillery on your left. This is another great photo opportunity.

When you arrive at the bridge at the main road cross over. Be careful of traffic as this road can be busy. Once safely across, look over the bridge and nestled in the undergrowth there is a small, old packhorse bridge that was built around 1624.

Take the path to the right-hand side of the packhorse bridge which will lead you back to the car park if you parked at the Alice Littler Memorial Park. Or take a right to take you along the High Street and back to The Square.

My Favouite Walks

Cullen Bay and Portknockie Circular, Moray

The Cullen and Portknockie circular takes in some of the Moray coast’s most amazing places, including Cullen and Portknockie harbour, the famed Bow fiddle rock, Cullen Beach as well as caves and a viaduct, There is an opprtunity to have a wee paddle along the way on Cullen beach. Towards the end, you walk along the disused railway line and top of the viaduct.

Start: The Square, Cullen Distance: 5 miles Terrain: Sections along a beach, rough cliff path, tar and flat smooth path. A small section may not be accessible at very high tide. Level: Easy with some elevation Access: Arrive by car or public transport. Stagecoach No 35 bus runs between Aberdeen and Elgin at regular intervals. Car parking is available in The Square in Cullen AB56 4RR

Route: Leaving from The Square in Cullen, start by walking down towards the viaduct. Once under the viaduct, keep going straight on down towards the harbour. The road veers to the right and be careful as there is no pavement on this section. Once you arrive at the harbour, take a left.

You will head towards the beach going over the Burn of Cullen by footbridge.

This is where you start walking along the sands of Cullen beach, passing “The Three Kings” as the three distinctive quartzite sea stacks are known.

The beach is approximately one mile long. When you come to the rocks and cliffs at the end, you will see a rough path between the golf course and rocks. The path is a little rough here. As you go between the rocks and round the corner there is a large cave that is worth exploring.

Further along you come to Jenny’s Well to the left and Whale Mouth Rock to the right.

There is then an uphill section with some steps. Keep following the path, admiring the views and keep an eye out for some of the many seabirds. There are plenty of benches on this stretch if you want to take a seat and rest your legs.

When you come come to a yellow and grey bench, this is where you get the best view of Bow Fiddle Rock. There are several paths if you want to get down closer for a better look and a great opportunity to take photographs.

Returning to the main path, walk along to a workshop area with a garage. Take a right here walking past the residential area. Continue on look out for the views of more rock formations to your right.

The road will bend to the left above the harbour. Keep going until you come to a dead-end sign. Turn left here heading for the main road. Passing the war memorial, branch left and head towards the bus shelter. Once past the bus shelter you will see the disused railway line path to the left. This is a relaxing stroll along a great, well-maintained path with views of the golf course on your return to Cullen.

Once back in Cullen, you will leave the railway line just after you pass the Castle Hill. To the right there is a blue sign. Head along North Deskford street, then take a left along Grant street and return to The Square.

My Favouite Walks

Meikle Balloch Hill Circuit, Near Keith

The Meikle Balloch Hill overlooks Keith and on a clear day you can see the hill path from my house in Keith. It is a beautiful and peaceful walk through the forest and among the heather, the views of Moray and Aberdeenshire are incredible.

Start: Balloch forestry car park near Keith Distance: 4 miles Time: Allow one and a half to two hours Terrain: Mainly forestry roads. Downhill section is uneven in parts Access: Arrive by car. To reach the car park , turn up Bridge street from Keith and follow the road until you come to a parking area after approx two miles. The postcode is AB55 5NT

Route: At the car park you will see a information board. To the right of the board there is a blue-marked post at the start of the a narrow path into the trees. Follow this path for about 200 yards. You come to a forestry road, take a right here and then keep on this road. There are some nice views of the countryside through the trees as you pass along this section. After about three-quarters of a mile, there is a fork to the right; ignore this and continue on. The road does gently climb here but nothing too taxing.

You will pass a Scottish Water reservoir and the Balloch Quarry. Not long after passing the quarry there is a signpost for Coachford; ignore this if you wish to proceed directly on the planned route. But, for those with the time time and inclination, it is well worth a brief detour. About 20 yards along the Coachford turn off, there is a small pond to the left where dragonflies can be spotted in the summer.

Back on the main track, about 80 yards further on from the Coachford signpost, there is a turn to the left. Take this road and head further up the hill where it will begin to get steeper. Keep on this road. There are plenty of great views on the way up where the trees have been felled. Less than a mile along the stretch, the road will narrow as you come out the trees and reach a fork with two paths. Take the path to the right. This will take you up to the summit and trig point where 360-degree views of Moray and Aberdeenshire await.

After enjoying the views, it is time to descend. Take the path to the right. Once you are back in the woods the path will zigzag before coming to a straight downhill section that can be quite uneven. You will reach a crossroads, take a left here and this will bring you back to the forestry road. After a short stretch, you will come to the last fork in the road. Take a right which will take you back to the gate at the car park.

My Favouite Walks

Whiteash hill woods Duchess of Richmond Cairn, Moray

Whiteash hill woods are between Keith and Fochabers. They are home to a maze of many paths and forestry tracks. With a short uphill climb you find one of Scotland’s pyramids, the huge cairn erected in memory of Frances Harriet, Duchess of Richmond by the 1st Duke of Gordon in 1887.

As well as the cairn there are great views of the Moray coastline and, on the really clear days, the hills in the Black Isle can be seen in the distance. Just before the end of the walk, there is also a lovely view of Ben Rinnes in the distance.

Start: Whiteash Hill woods near Keith, Moray Distance: 4 miles Time: 1.5 hours Terrain: Forestry track and a section of rough track. Access: Arrive by car. Situated about 3.5 miles north-west of Keith on the A96. Turn up the road on the right that is sign posted Braes of Enzie and drive about three-quarters of a mile along the road where there is a opening on the left with two gates. There is space for at least six cars. The OS map grid reference is NJ38803 56383

Route: Leaving the car park, go past the forestry gate on the left and head up the forestry track for about 1.2 miles until you come to the crossroads.

Take the road to the right and you will see a wooden post with a No 14 on it. Just ahead the pyramid-shaped monument dedicated to the Duchess of Richmond – also known as the Whiteash Cairn – can be seen.

Once you come to the cairn, go straight ahead and admire the coastal views.

Head down the narrow rougher track. Keep going until you come to a crossroads with a forestry track. Take a right here. The track will veer to the right, keep going until you come to a junction and take a right.

Stay on this track for just over a miles, where you will come back to the car park.

Don’t miss: Taking a photo of yourself with one of Scotland’s pyramids.