Duration: 3 hours (including castle visit)
This is a very pleasant and easy walk amongst the gentle rolling fields and hedgerows of the Formartine area of Aberdeenshire. The focal point on the route is, of course, the ruin of Tolquhon Castle, built in the 1580s and highly regarded for its visual attraction and completeness. During the summer months the castle and grounds are open to the public for a modest charge and are well sign-posted by Historic Environment Scotland. We strongly advise a visit (see Waypoint 11 for entry information). From the 1200s Tolquhon was one of the main residences of the Thanage of Formartine. In 1390 the Thanage was granted by Robert III to Sir Thomas Preston, who built the Preston Tower in the early 1400s, part of which still stands. The later, much bigger castle was built to emphasise the wealth and status of William Forbes, the 7th Laird of Tolquhon. A contemporary inscription on the grand gatehouse tells us about the building of the castle: "Al this warke excep the auld tour was begun be William Forbes 15 Aprile 1584 and endit be him 20 Ocober 1589”. The 11th Laird lost the family fortune by backing the disastrous scheme for a Scottish colony on the Darien peninsula in Panama, and the castle was sold in 1716. It remained inhabited as a farmhouse into the 1800s, but a painting from the 1850s shows how it had already fallen into disrepair. At the end of the walk there is the option to take in the gardens and museum of farming life at Pitmedden House maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. The gardens are recreated in the formal 18th Century Renaissance style. In summer, the floral borders and fruit gardens are also a delight, whilst the museum is an interesting and important record of agricultural life in former times.
Book recommendations for this region:
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.