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NB. This board is for reports on multi-day long distance routes - reports on simply long walks should be added to the standard boards.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Mid-Winter Wild Camping Along The Formartine & Buchan Way

Mid-Winter Wild Camping Along The Formartine & Buchan Way

Postby doenaeld » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:44 pm

Route description: Formartine & Buchan Way

Date walked: 28/01/2018

Time taken: 3 days

Distance: 86 km

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Hi. To ease myself back into long distance walking after a long break, test out new kit, and not least to see if this could be a feasible wild camping walk during mid winter, I thought I’d embark on this for an adventure. To keep things simple, I’ve broken those points which occurred to me into pluses and negatives. Firstly,…


- By the nature of the landscape, opportunities for wild camping in some areas I found rather limited. It should be noted however that some other stretches present few issues in this regards. The most problematic area I encountered lay just to the north of Ellon, which for me, journeying south to north, was the logical and natural stopping place for a first night’s camping. I had to just soldier on, a long walk behind me, and the very limited winter daylight not withstanding. This, together with this challenges of finding showering facilities (see below) for me were the primary problematic issues of the whole walk.

- As a wild camper completing the walk ‘in a oner’, I did not wish to interrupt the flow of things by staying in hotels and bed-and-breakfast houses each night. As someone however who still wishes to maintain at least some standard of personal cleanliness (!), this may present problems without planning, as the availability and provision for example of campsites is extremely limited. Being rolling lowland scenery, appropriate lochs and burns were also very thin on the ground for these purposes too. Therefore, if wild camping, maintaining personal hygiene can present its challenges.

- This is a walk through rolling countryside, farmland and some woodland. If you are looking for a ramble through mountain scenery, this is not for you.

- South to north, the Way has a very modest, slightly confusing (and frankly unattractive) start in a car park at Dyce railway station. This is paralleled if one is taking the Fraserburgh route at least by it being very easy indeed to get ‘lost’ and not strictly follow the Way’s route through ‘The Broch’ to its rightful end point. The powers that be really need to sort out the route and its markers in here.

- Be mindful of cyclists coming up from behind you on the route, particularly in those commuter areas closer to Aberdeen. That said, I did not really find this to be a problem at all. And so to…


- With all three of the Way’s terminations lying within larger settlements, it’s an easy walk to reach if one wishes to start (and end) from a terminus point.

- I had a slight concern whilst planning the walk that there would be not adequate outlets for basic provisions along it. If one is sensible, I found my concerns to be completely unfounded. It seemed that every town and village one needed benefitted from at least one basic shop of some kind, and friendly faces were happy to replenish water bottles where needed. And of course within the larger towns there is a choice of supermarkets, takeaways, restaurants, and hotels etc…

- I found the very nature of the defunct Aberdeen/Peterhead/Fraserburgh Railway line which the route follows meant it was very difficult to get lost indeed, or to lose the Way. Moreover, one is never really that far away from settlements and roads. That said, this is no excuse to not putting adequate planning in before setting out, nor for carrying appropriate equipment. Also, see my comments above about the Way’s start and end.

- I personally found the sections between Ellon and Strichen particularly charming, lovely and refreshing.

Overall, I’m happy to say I found this walk to be well worthwhile, really enjoyable and satisfying. For those who do not relish being hopelessly lost in some snow-filled Munro peat bog, this could be for you. :)
A Way Too Modest Start In Dyce Railway Station Car Park
Dawn North of Dyce
Near Newmachar
Past Udny Station
Approaching Ellon
Iconic Bridge in Ellon
Hilly Woodland South of Inkhorn
Wooded Lochan South of Inkhorn
Approaching Maud Ghost Station
Maud Ghost Station
Maud Ghost Station Platform
Bridge Over Northern Ugie Water in Strichen
Mormond Hill White Horse
One of Many Workmens' Huts
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 8, 2018

Re: Mid-Winter Wild Camping Along The Formartine & Buchan Wa

Postby larry groo » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:10 am

Good stuff. Nice pics too.

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larry groo
Posts: 577
Joined: Apr 19, 2010
Location: Angus

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