Duration: 3 hours.
This is an enjoyable walk, mostly in conifer woodland of varying maturity, with some sections through heather moorland. The views from the return point at Knock Saul (412 m) are wonderful, taking in the patchwork of Aberdeenshire farmland and forests below you, then on to extensive vistas of more distant hilltops. The impressive panorama includes: the Bennachie and Menaway Hills in the east; Foudland and Tillymorgan to the north; the Tap o' Noth and Ben Rinnes in the north-west; and the Deeside, Correen and Donside hills, leading the eye to the faraway Cairngorms to the south and south-west. This “there and back” route is based on a reversed final section of the Gordon Way, an 18.5 km way-marked linear route that runs from the Essons car park at the Bennachie Centre, near Chapel of Garioch, to the Suie Road, between Clatt and Alford. Unfortunately, the trail is no longer maintained. On this walk, a partly broken set of wooden steps is encountered at Waypoint 5, descending into the Den of Drumgown. Take care here! Particularly in the first 1,000 m, or so, in dense forest, the opportunities for fungi spotting are first class. There is a low stone cairn at the summit of Knock Saul, probably of ancient origin. You will also encounter old boundary stones in places on the walk, marking where the parishes of Leslie, Tullynessle and Forbes meet. At the beginning or end of the walk, we suggest that you walk or drive to a magnificent nearby viewpoint on the Suie Road, looking down to the countryside between Clatt and Rhynie, with the hugely impressive Tap o’Noth hill dominating. There are benches there to relax, perhaps have a picnic, and absorb the view! The Suie Road has been an important passage from north to south since mediaeval times, and probably before that.
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.