Duration: 3 hours.
This is a short but steep walk to the summit of Ben Newe in Strathdon, at the north-eastern corner of the Cairngorms National Park. Although the slopes of Ben Newe are extensively forested with commercial plantations, the walking environment is mostly composed of mature, widely spaced, conifers. A long section on the fairly relentless ascent has a marvellous open perspective, overlooking upland pasture in Glenbuchat, above the old castle ruins. The views all around from the summit tor, where there is a cairn with seats and a trig point, are tremendous. In the middle distance, Morven is prominent to the south, and the more distant distinctive peak of Lochnagar is also visible. The unusual granite tors of Ben Avon are particularly prominent to the south-west, and the Buck of Cabrach stands out to the north. There is a stunning picture-postcard view down to Glenbuchat, on the north side, with the ruin of Glenbuchat Castle just visible on your right side, guarding the entrance to the glen. The summit of Ben Newe is known for its “sacred well”, supposedly with supernatural qualities. Actually a small sheltered rock-pool filled with rainwater [from Canmore] “…the well was renowned for its cures … many pins were found in the well, and coins and charms were offered …[and it] … may be the sacred place (the Celtic 'nemeton') preserved in the 'Newe' element of Ben Newe …”. Remote Glenbuchat was once home to a diverse community of 500 people – living off the upland landscape in a mostly self-sufficient and inter-dependant way, and having little need for the outside world. Today, the population is a tenth of that. 16th Century Glenbuchat Castle played its part in Scotland’s bloody history, and, although now a crumbling ruin, it is certainly worth a visit after the walk.
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