deesidewalks.com

Welcome to Deesidewalks.com, a website for people looking for walking routes on Deeside in Scotland, in partnership with ifootpath.com.


At present there are 13 walks to choose from, from around Ballater and Loch Kinord - and with more walks added regularly.

Ballater to Cambus o' May and back through Torphantrick Wood

***PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY STORM FRANK IN DECEMBER 2015 CAMBUS O'MAY BRIDGE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED AND THEREFORE IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CROSS THE DEE AND COMPLETE THIS WALK***
Starting point: Ballater village centre, the Old Railway Station square
Distance:  long (7 miles / 11.2 km)
Climb: none
Difficulty: easy - but long
Underfoot: mostly good flat paths but on rabbit paths in parts and does ford a small stream.
Estimated time to complete: 4 hours 
Scenic value: 5 /10
Overall rating: 6 /10
View Ballater to Cambus o' May and back through Torphantrick Wood in a larger map

Comments: This walk is long but without any steep climb and mostly on flat, wide, well-maintained footpaths. You could take a mountain bike along most of it but note some short parts on the way back are along rabbit paths or at one point across a field. The walk passes Tullich Church, the souterrain and the very elegant Cambus o' May suspension bridge (which the adventurous can jump off into the river in the summer) but be warned there is about a mile of fairly boring walking along the south Deeside Road on the way back. 



After another half a mile the path passes the ruins of Tullich Church or Tullich Kirk on the left-hand side. Originally the settlement in this part of the Dee Valley was at Tullich and Ballater didn't exist. Tullich grew up because it was directly across the river from the Well of Pannanich, which was a popular attraction. Marker-posts give you further information about the ruined church and the old settlement. Walking around the churchyard you may notice - the wall is circular instead of square or rectangular. Why? Allegedly it was to avoid there being any corners in the walls for Devil to hide in. 


Just a few paces on from Tullich Church, on the opposite side of the path is a piece of Deeside history thought to be over 2000 years old - the souterrain. This is an underground space, painstakingly constructed of granite blocks and buried in the ground. It is thought to either have been a storage space for crops or - decades before the Romans arrived - a hiding place for villagers when enemies approached. 

Access to the soutterain is gained by going through the gate. Be careful though, the Souterrain is in a working field. Do not enter if there are livestock or growing crops there. If you do enter be sure to close and secure the gate behind you. 

The souterrain on the Deeside Way
The souterrain is in the field on the other side of the blue gate. 

The souterrain doesn't look much from the path but when you approach you can see a square of of barbed wire designed to keep cattle away from it. At the end furthest from the path is the entrance to the underground space. 


At the souterrain looking up Deeside to Ballater
The entrance to the souterrain is at the side furthest from the path. 

A gap between granite flagstones leads down into the chamber. It's not easy to see into now but it appears that the gap is only about a foot high. Not very pleasant to have to hide in packed in with your fellow villagers with enemies all around. 

The souterrain on Deeside, halfway to Cambus o'May
The underground chamber is only about a foot high

If you do visit the souterrain be sure to close and secure the gate of the field behind you. Afterwards the path continues along the old railyway line. To the left across the road is what is now a stocked pond for anglers. The hill behind it, Crannach Hill has recently been purchased by the RSPCA to encourage the nesting of ospreys.

A short distance further on the path passes through a wood. To the right is the Cambus o'May Cheese Company creamery making Deeside's own variety of cheese. 


The Riverside Cottage

Just beyond the creamery to the left, the path gives access to the road and on the other side of it is a lovely little cafe and bakery called the Riverside Cottage which features 'Crannach' home-baked bread and pizzas from its wood-fired oven. 

Deeside Walks: The Riverside Cafe near the path
The Riverside Cottage cafe is across the road.

As I say in the walk "Ballater to Cambus o' May" walk it is possible to take a bus here back to Ballater, at the bus-stop just a few feet down the road from the Riverside Cottage cafe, but since this is the 7 mile walk all the way to Cambus o' May and back I'm assuming you won't want to be doing that.

The 201 bus-stop for those who don't want to walk back to Ballater
A short way from the Riverside Cottage cafe is a handy bus-stop.

So, instead of taking the bus back to Ballater from the bus-stop, cross back to the path you have been on up until now, on the south side of the main road. Start off again walking east along it. 

Walk along the Deeside Way through Cambus o'May
After the Riverside Cottage, walk continue walking east along the old railway line.

To your right is Cambus o' May proper. The path continues along the side of some fields by the road and turns right by a cottage and left again, following the river. A short distance downstream you can see Cambus o' May Bridge, an elegant white metal suspension bridge.

Walk the Deeside Way to Cambus o'May suspension bridge
The path begins to follow the river, ahead is Cambus o' May bridge.

Cross the bridge. Upstream of the bridge, on the near side of the river, are some flat rocks - good for sunbathing on in the summer. The water is quite deep so, if you're feeling brave, in the summer you can jump off the bridge into the deepest part of the river, just beyond where the flat rocks stick out into the water. 

Walk across Cambus o'May suspension bridge to south Deeside
Cross over the bridge. 
Well done, you're now at the halfway point of the walk! 

On the far bank of the river there is a grass path that leads away in to the left. Take it. 

Walk into Torpantrick Wood on South Deeside
Take the path leading away from the bridge and round to the left. 
The path quickly reaches a fence with a wooden gate. Go through the gate and follow the footpath through the open woodland beyond. 

Walking through Torphantrick Wood, south Deeside
Follow the footpath through the wooden gate. 

After another short while the footpath joins a Land Rover track that leads runs alongside a fence. On the other side of the fence is Torphantrick Wood. Follow the Land Rover track. 

Walk along the path through Torphantrick Wood
Follow the Land Rover track alongside Torphantrick Wood. 

The Land Rover track meets another Land Rover track. On the far side is a recently laid-down footpath. Go straight ahead following the footpath. 


Follow the path through Torphantrick Wood, south Deeside
Cross over the Land Rover track and take the footpath. 
The footpath takes you into Torphantrick Wood, with tall fir trees on both sides. 

Trees in Cambus o'May, Deeside
Follow the footpath into Torphantrick Wood.
After another short distance the footpath meets another well-used Land Rover track. Turn left onto the Land Rover track, bearing west back up the valley. There is a signpost showing you the way. To your left you may just be able to hear the occasional car on the south Deeside road. 

A signpost in Cambus o'May, Deeside
Turn right onto the Land Rover track. 

After a couple of hundred metres the Land Rover track bends right further into the wood. There is another well cared-for footpath pointing straight ahead. Take the footpath. 

Walk along the path towards Ballater, Deeside
Take the footpath pointing straight ahead.

After another 200 metres or so the trees begin to thin out and then you will emerge into the open by some fields. This is Glascorrie farm. There is a view up the valley to Craigendarroch. The footpath curves round to the right. Continue to follow it. 

You can see Ballater, Deeside from the walk.
Coming out of Torphantrick Wood follow the footpath round to the right by a field.

The path arrives back at the top of a steep bank that leads down to the river. Now you may get a bit of a surprise - the lovely wide footpath you've been following all the way since Ballater suddenly disappears! Instead there is a grassy footpath which leads along by the side of the field. A marker post points the way. Follow the path alongside the field. 

The path follows the Dee on the south side of Deeside
The path becomes a grassy track. Follow it alongside the field. 
The grassy path follows the field, curves around a spot of woodland by a brook and then arrives at a gate leading into another field. Read carefully the sign on the gate - if there is livestock in the field you should follow the footpath around the field. If not you can go through the gate and take the short-cut across the field. 

The route back to Ballater, Deeside
If there is no livestock in the field go through the gate and cross it. 
The footpath curves through woodland. You are now approaching Pannanich Well. Before Ballater was founded tourists came to Pannanich to sample the water from the spring there. 

The trail along south Deeside from Cambus o'May
The path continues through woodland. 
Pannanich Wells / Deeside Water

Now the path crosses a shallow burn. There is a line of larger stones in the river bed you can use to cross or walk upstream or downstream of the path a couple of steps and cross where it is narrower. 

This is Pannanich Burn, which follows from the famous Pannanich Wells. Now the water is bottled under the name Deeside Water. Records of the the spring on Pannanich Hill allegedly date back to 1245 and the Knights Templar, the King's Bodyguards who are reported to sampled the waters when travelling through Deeside. For more information on Pannanich Wells see the "places of interest" section.

The trail passes Pannanich Burn, south Deeside
Cross the Pannanich Burn
The path continues west back up the valley becoming a well-defined Land Rover track.

There is view up Deeside from the path around Ballater

About half a mile after Pannanich Wells the Land Rover track joins the south Deeside Road. 

The path from Cambus o'May joins the south Deeside Road
The track rejoins the south Deeside Road. 

For the last mile the route is along the pavement by the side of the south Deeside Road. The view down the road may not be too inspiring but at least you've still got the views north across the river and down the valley. 

Deeside and Cambus o'May from the path around Ballater
Looking from the south Deeside Road down the Dee valley. 

After the final mile the road reaches the Bridge of Ballater. Cross the bridge back into the village of Ballater. 

Congratulations! You've completed the walk from Ballater to Cambus o' May and back via Torphantrick Wood. 

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