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The Formartine & Buchan Way

PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2021 12:12 pm
by Gordie12
The Formartine & Buchan Way was never going to be on my bucket list of long distance walks but with the Greens getting a seat at the table (or to be factual, two seats) the pressure was on to complete this walk before the path is returned to a working railway again :wink: I probably had about twenty years to do it but as it was in my head it was time to get it done.

I wanted to use a B&B somewhere around Maud so that I could base myself there for two nights and that way I could take a bag with me and keep the rucksack light, a nice guest house in Old Deer did the trick.

We took Mrs Gordie12's car up to Old Deer, dropped off the bag then headed back down to Dyce where I started the walk and she headed home.

Day 1

Dyce - Old Deer

Miles - 28.5
Ascent - 748ft
Moving Time - 08:26
Stopped Time - 00:20
Moving Ave - 3.4mph
Overall Ave - 3.2mph

There are some really picturesque starts to long distance walks but this isn't one of them. The starting point is at the far end (as you come into the car park turn right and head along to the end) of the railway station car park and across the railway line is the back of Dyce Airport. It was a noisy place at 7:45am with a plane taking off and helicopters heading off to the oil rigs every five or ten minutes.

Dyce Railway Station Car Park

The entire route is also a cycleway and the first couple of miles are on tarmac. It took about ten minutes to get away from the industrial area and about half an hour before I felt as though I was out in the country and away from the constant noise of traffic. Once I was away from the airport I could hear alll the helicopters going overhead but couldn't see them due to the low cloud.

Bridge over River Don

Grit track heading for the horizon

There are a lot of these.......

Although out in the country, these still appeared from time to time

The only train I saw in three days

Udny Station

As you would expect, nearer the city the cycleway was quite busy with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers but nobody that looked to be using the route as a long distance walk.

On flat ground and easy underfoot conditions it didn't take very long to reach the likes of Newmachar, Udny Station or Ellon. I stopped to grab a sandwich out of my rucksack on the outskirts of Ellon and a lady out walking her dog advised me I would love the next couple of miles as it was all really smooth tarmac till I was nearly past the golf course.........great :lol:

River Ythan



Maud Station

There was a shop at Auchnagatt so I thought a cold drink was called for but a guy standing outside the shop advised me that it had closed down and that he was waiting for a lorry to turn up so that the fixtures and fittings could be loaded up. So after 25 miles (at Maud) I found a cafe where I was able to get a cold drink (a few hours earlier I could have easily taken a fairly short detour off the track at Ellon but decided not to). It was here that I left the Dyce - Fraserburgh route and took the branch to Peterhead for the final 3.5 miles of the day to Old Deer.

Day 2

Old Deer - Peterhead - Old Deer

Miles - 23.8
Ascent - 490ft
Moving Time - 07:08
Stopped Time - 00:22
Moving Ave - 3.3mph
Overall Ave - 3.1mph

Yesterday was overcast all day but today promised sunshine and it was sunny and warm all day but there was also a nice breezing blowing to keep things a bit cooler.

The 11 miles to Peterhead town centre took about 3 hours and I then headed down to the harbour for a wander.

Leaving Old Deer

Golf course at Longside


I find harbours fascinating, there is always something going on and I could have spent hours here.




A quick stop in Morrisons for sandwiches and cold drinks and I was heading back to Old Deer.


I was using this walk as a bit of a footwear exeperiment. I have a pair of lightweight boots that I use for all my long distance walks as I trust them and have never had any issues with them. For this walk I had my approach shoes (and my boots back at the B&B as back up if things went wrong). A couple of months ago I did the Moray Coast Trail in a long day of 15 hours walking and used the shoes that day without any issues so this was their first multi day test. Things were going well but with around 3 miles to go I started to get a bit of pain in my right foot and by the end of the day things were a bit sore. Back at the B&B with the shoes off I could see that I had a large blister on the ball of my right foot and another blister at the bottom of my heel again on the right foot. Compeed time :(

Day 3

Old Deer - Fraserburgh

Miles - 19.8
Ascent - 622ft
Moving Time - 05:59
Stopped Time - 00:13
Moving Ave - 3.3mph
Overall Ave - 3.2mph

The sun was gone and it was back to the overcast conditions of friday but today there would be a few light showers as well.

I decided to stick with the approach shoes for a third day and hoped that the compeed would see me through. Because of the blister on the ball of my right foot it took me a few miles to get a decent pace going but at worst it was just a bit uncomfortable.

The first 3.5 miles was back to Maud on the Peterhead branch then I pick up the Fraserburgh route heading north.

I told her where I was going - she just stared at me

I always associate geese with September - suppose it's close enough!!

Another shower approaching

A hill..................I can see a hill (Mormond Hill - the only hill in 72 miles)

There are a lot of old railway huts (as you would expect) on this route, I liked this one as it was so overgrown.


Approaching Fraserburgh

Fraserburgh Beach

The rain stopped as I entered Fraserburgh, passing the golf course then crossing the road and heading along the seafront.

At the end I couldn't resist a wander round Fraserburgh harbour. I hadn't appreciated quite how much fishing has changed over the years..........

75m long and if it wasn't for the winch at the back it could be taken for a small cruise ship

In summary, this is a good walk but probably a much better cycle ride. There is very little variation in the scenery but being able to visit the two port towns was brilliant. Walking a disused railway line sounds good fun and it is, just maybe not for 72 miles.

This isn't a route I will ever repeat but I leave it with good memories and I enjoyed my three days. As for the approach shoes, they are back to single day walks and the search resumes for a pair of approach shoes that can survive multi day walking without trying to remove the skin from my feet.