The walk to Kincardine O’Neil rewards with some fine views over some historic terrain. Continuing along the Deeside Way, gives some excellent riverside walking to the Potarch Bridge and an ideal watering stop at the nearby bistro. The route described below is an excellent cycle, or can be the basis of two or three walks, driving to Kincardine O’Neil to reduce the distance.
Leave the village centre descending the minor road immediately east of the Learney Hall. After approximately 50 metres a path leads off to the left passing the cemetery. Following this path and cross the newly refurbished Waulkmill Bridge over the Beltie Burn. Pass through the farmyard, taking care not to impede farm operations, and respecting the privacy of the residents. At the end of the farm track turn left then immediately right on to an unclassified road leading uphill, over the horizon to Kincardine O’Neil. This brisk ascent passes the farms of Tillyneckle and Leyton. According to one account, the name Tillyneckle derives from the Gaelic “Tullach na Faicille”- The hill of the watch. Imagine the farmer of the 15th Century using the hill above Tillyneckle as a lookout point to watch for the marauding cattle reivers from the western clans that plagued agricultural Deeside for centuries up till 1745!
Continuing towards the summit you pass the Farm of Leyton which is remembered by many as the “Turkey Farm”. Each year, in the run up to Christmas the surrounding trees were full of turkeys seeking shelter from four legged predators, unaware of their fate at the hands of the two legged variety.
After some great views from the summit the road descends steeply to Kincardine O’ Neil. On reaching the village, there are two alternatives. Turning left, access to the Deeside Way is well-marked shortly before the end of the village. Turning right leads to an alternative route back to Torphins.
The Deeside Way continues for approximately 3km to the Potarch Bridge. This Bridge was built by Thomas Telford in 1811-1813, with much of the funding coming from branches of the Innes family. The bridge provided a vital link for the now legitimised droving of cattle from the north, over the Cairn o’Mount Road towards the markets and cities of the south.
The alternative route back to Torphins leaves from the west end of Kincardine O’ Neil turning right on to Pitmurchie Road, at the church. After leaving the village follow the road as it swings right and ascends steadily. At the top of the hill, bear left at Lodge Croft, then about 1km later turn right onto an estate road signposted Mill Cottage. Continue to follow the track passing the private driveway to Mill Cottage, descending through a tree lined avenue, eventually reaching the tarmac road. Follow this road for 2km to the farm track leading to Waulkmill Bridge, then back to the village.