Duration: 2 hours.
This is a very pleasant woodland walk in the Ballogie Estate woodlands close to the hamlet of Potarch on Deeside. The Estate encourages walkers to enjoy this route, which is quite short and readily accessible to all. Less experienced walkers can be assured that the ascent to the tree-covered summit of Craigmore, a low hill on the southern banks of the River Dee, is very gradual. The woodland environment is mixed, with fairly widely spaced pines sharing the space with birch, rowan and alder. A very attractive feature of the walk, at the start/end point, is crossing the Potarch Bridge, where there are fine views of the River Dee and the Dee Valley. Completed in 1813, to a design by engineer Thomas Telford, this is a handsome 3-span bridge with pedestrian refuges. There were considerable delays during its construction due to timber being floated downstream during river spates (no HGV timber lorries to do the job in those days!) causing damage to the developing bridge structure. Just upstream from the bridge is a place called “Jock’s Leap”, where the river rushes between ledges of rough flat rocks. A local story from the 18thC tells of Jock Young, a local Deeside lad accused of theft, who escaped from his captors by jumping across the rocky gap where the river narrows. Apparently, his freedom did not last, and Jock eventually encountered the hangman’s noose. Just over the bridge you will pass a fine old building, the former Potarch Hotel, now an attractive bistro-style café/restaurant looking out over the Potarch Green. The first inn was built at Potarch in 1740, becoming a popular stopping point for travellers after the construction of the bridge. Outside the hotel you will find the “Dinnie Stanes”, a pair of lifting stones made famous by local stonemason Donald Dinnie, who carried the stones across the width of the Potarch Bridge in 1860, and went on to have an illustrious international career as a “strongman”. The stones are composed of granite, with iron rings. They have a combined weight of 332.49 kilograms (733.0 lb). For more info, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinnie_Stones
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