Stonehaven, Queen Elizabeth Park
Stonehaven is a pretty harbour town south of Aberdeen, famous for its Hogmanay fireballs ceremony.
Stonehaven is the site of prehistoric events evidenced by finds at Fetteresso Castle and Neolithic pottery excavations from the Spurryhillock area. The town lies at the southern origin of the ancient Causey Mounth trackway, which was built on high ground to make passable this only available medieval route from coastal points south to Aberdeen.
This spot is a great meeting point to start your walk . There are bike racks and parking available, as well as ample buses connecting Stonehaven to the surrounding areas.
Top up from the tap and prepare yourself for an easy 8k round trip walk to Dunnottar Castle, returning to Stonehaven harbour to relax, having enjoyed visiting one of Scotland’s most iconic castles.
Beach and harbour
With your trusty reusable bottle and snacks of your choice, set off along the beach, heading south. Follow the boardwalk round to the harbour, taking time to enjoy ‘Scotland’s Banksy’ sculptures along the way.
The path to Dunnottar Castle is signposted with the right turn at Wallace Wynd. A sharp left turn takes you on the ascent to the Coastal Tourist Trail and ultimately to the Castle.
Sturdy footwear is recommended, particularly in wet weather. Follow the path up – this is the steepest part of the walk and is over really quickly! Rewarded with great views back across the harbour and beach, take a moment to get your breath back and imagine how it might have looked as a bustling fishing village of yesteryear. Rumour has it, the bay was notorious for pirates!
Back Hill War Memorial
Next point of interest is Stonehaven’s war memorial on Black Hill. Designed by architect John Ellis, the monument was unveiled in 1923 to commemorate the fallen from WW1 and a plaque was added to commemorate those who were lost in WW2. The memorial is visible from almost all points in Stonehaven and further afield.
Carrying on the main path – take care, steep cliffs mean dogs should be kept close to owners – the Castle comes into view. A winding path leads you to the steep steps down to the beach and to the castle. You can enter the castle, but make sure you purchase your tickets at the gatehouse before descending the steps, unless you are keen for a major thigh workout!
The end Stonehaven harbour
The beach or the cliffs above offer various picnic points – swig your water and drink in the views and fresh air.
Of course, everyone prefers a circular walk however the return journey offers views worthy of retracing your steps. Back down into the harbour, have a seat on the harbour wall or boulders and watch the world go by.