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Around Craigendarroch

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Around Craigendarroch
Author: Deeside Walks, Published: 17 Oct 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide
Aberdeenshire, Ballater
Walk Type: Woodland
Around Craigendarroch
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide
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A 2 mile circular walk from the village of Ballater in Aberdeenshire. Don't necessarily dismiss this walk, which leads you around Craigendarroch in a circuit, in favour of the walk to the summit. The views over the Pass of Ballater to the cliffs of Creag an t-Seabhaig and down the Dee Valley are beautiful and on the shaded north side of the hill the fauna around the path becomes almost tropical.

There is less climbing on this route as it does not head to the Craigendarroch summit. In fact, the total climb on this route is only about 50 metres. The path is at times very uneven underfoot, it can be narrow and on the last part of the walk the path can be a bit unclear. There are steep drops at the sides of some paths so take care with children and dogs. Generally there are a quite a number of paths on Craigendarroch, especially on the east side. The iFootpath App’s GPS map will help with navigation. If you get a bit lost and find your following a path that doesn't seem to fit with this suggested route, don't worry too much, it will almost certainly lead you back to Ballater before too long. You will need to negotiate gates but there are no stiles or livestock on route. Allow 1 hour.

Ballater is located on the River Dee, within the Cairngorms National Park and about 15 miles east of Braemar. The walk starts and finishes from the no-through-road called Craigendarroch Walk, accessed from the A93 at the north end of the village. Roadside parking is available on Craigendarroch Walk – park on the roadside soon after turning into this side road. Approximate post code AB35 5ZB.

Walk Sections

Start to Footpath
Start to Footpath

Start point: 57.0509 lat, -3.0471 long
End point: 57.0515 lat, -3.0469 long

The walk begins from the corner where Craigendarroch Walk meets the main Braemar/A93 road through Ballater. Walk a short distance down Craigendarroch Walk (10 metres or so) until you see a footpath branching off to the left (pictured) where the road bears right. There is a sign describing marker posts around Craigendarroch which you will pass on the walk, although one or two may be missing so do not be too concerned if you don't see them.

Footpath to Western Path
Footpath to Western Path

Start point: 57.0515 lat, -3.0469 long
End point: 57.0522 lat, -3.0474 long

Take the footpath. After a short walk between two houses you will come onto Craigendarroch Hill. Go through a gate. Immediately the footpath branches - take the right-hand fork. After a short distance there is a path off to the left with a marker post. Take this path to the left (pictured).

Don't be surprised if you get the feeling you're being watched - North East Scotland is one of the few remaining habitats for red squirrels and the trees on Craigendarroch seem very popular with them!

Now the footpath heads off in a steady westerly direction (i.e. to the left), around the side of Craigendarroch Hill and towards what was once a hotel, now holiday suites and lodges.

Western Path to Fork
Western Path to Fork

Start point: 57.0522 lat, -3.0474 long
End point: 57.053 lat, -3.0528 long

You will pass one or two benches by the side of the path as well as a few marker posts. You will also pass at least one information post – a hinged information board built into a post. Swing the sign up and you can see some interesting trivia about the local area. For example, one tells you how the old woodsmen used to coppice the oak trees that grow on the hill in order to produce lots of straight stems to build carriage wheels.

Keep following the path round the shoulder of Craigendarroch Hill. It continues west for some distance, leaving the summit of the hill behind you. Once you are almost directly west of the summit you will find a fork in the path (pictured). The right-hand fork would lead up to the summit. For this route around the hill, take the left-hand fork.

Fork to Pass of Ballater
Fork to Pass of Ballater

Start point: 57.053 lat, -3.0528 long
End point: 57.0572 lat, -3.0514 long

The path continues to curve around Craigendarroch to the west, climbing gently. Then the path you are on is joined by another footpath from the left. Where this path meets your main path there is a bench. Continue straight ahead, continuing to follow the path around the hill. For a period, the path follows a dry stane dyke on the left-hand side.

Pass of Ballater to Eastern Fork
Pass of Ballater to Eastern Fork

Start point: 57.0572 lat, -3.0514 long
End point: 57.0588 lat, -3.0432 long

By now you are to the north of Craigendarroch Hill, walking along the side of the steep-sided valley known as the Pass of Ballater. As the information posts along the side of the walk tell you, this narrow valley is the result of a "flaw" in the rock that over millennia has been hollowed out to form this valley. There is good rock climbing on the northern wall.

This side of the hill gets almost no direct sunlight and the plant-life around the path, in particular the thick-stemmed clumps of grass, is almost tropical. The sides of the hill are very steep and the ground is very uneven so take care, especially with young children and dogs, but it looks great. The north side of the valley is formed by the side of Creag an t-Seabhaig. The almost vertical cliff-face is popular with rock-climbers.

Eastern Fork to Viewpoint
Eastern Fork to Viewpoint

Start point: 57.0588 lat, -3.0432 long
End point: 57.0582 lat, -3.0426 long

As you come round to the east side of the Craigendarroch, the hill-side begins to level out a bit. There is an obvious fork in the path. It is very tempting to take the left-hand fork (as this one looks flatter), but don't. Take the right-hand fork which heads slightly up the hill.

A short distance after this junction there is another junction. Again, it is very tempting to assume that the sharp right fork leads up the hill and so to assume the left fork is the correct one for walkers going round the hill to take. But this is not the case. Take the sharp right fork that appears to lead up the hill. The path doubles back on the path you've been following so far, and leads uphill (but don't worry, it turns again soon).

Shortly after this junction you should pass a marker post which should re-assure you you're on the right path (although don't worry if you don't see it - you've probably missed it or it has fallen down.) The path turns to the left at this point. Now you will come out at a beautiful viewpoint looking east across the valley of the Dee.

Viewpoint to Crags
Viewpoint to Crags

Start point: 57.0582 lat, -3.0426 long
End point: 57.0552 lat, -3.0431 long

Shortly after the viewpoint you will come out at a small clearing with a wooden bench and a marker post. Follow the path round to the left, heading downhill. Note: if you can't find this bench then you've taken another path somewhere down the line - as I say, don't worry, they will all take you back to Ballater and no one path is categorically better than the others.

This path will take you directly under the distinctive crags on Craigendarroch that you can see from the village of Ballater. Below the crags the path doubles back on itself and then back again as it descends the steep hill. Some kind soul has placed stone steps in the path while it is doubling back on itself.

Crags to End
Crags to End

Start point: 57.0552 lat, -3.0431 long
End point: 57.0509 lat, -3.0468 long

There are two fallen trees over the path that you will need to duck under. Again, ignore any paths to the left, instead continue to follow the main path as it bears right back towards where you started. If you were to stay on this path it would emerge through a gap between houses to reach the road (you can simply do this if you wish). However, it is better to use a footpath on the right to complete the walk through the woodland.

Take the footpath (pictured) to the right shortly before the fence and houses at the bottom of the hill. This footpath continues for a short distance before delivering you back to the start of the walk. Congratulations you have finished the walk around Craigendarroch!

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

Check out these resources for your walk

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network Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author deesidewalks and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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11932_0deesidewalks1539789540 Around Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide Image by: Deeside Walks
Uploaded: 17 Oct 2018
There are lovely views to the east

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