Walk 1 – St Erchard’s Well
1.1 km (0.7 mile)
From the Old Smiddy turn left, walk along the main street about 200 m and turn up the side road on the left, Neil Burn Drive. After about 100 m this bends right and develops into Craigton Rd., a minor tarmac road which soon dips to cross a small stream. Look out on the right verge for a fountain, commissioned by the Kinker Gruff Kids members of a local youth club and located near the site of the ancient St. Erchard’s well. The stonework is engraved with the words Wisdom and Eternity, in accordance with ancient Celtic beliefs.
Very shortly the road climbs and bends to the left and after another 110 m it crosses a farm track. From this point there is a good view of the whole village stretching along the valley of the Dee.
Turn left down the track which descends to the level of the Neil Burn and then turns left to cross the burn and goes on past the curling pond on the right before re-joining the main street beside what used to be the Gordon Arms Hotel.
Walk 2 – Riverside Walk
1.3 km (0.8 mile)
From the Old Smiddy cross the main street, turn left and walk eastwards to the ruined Church of St Mary. An information board here tells the story of the ancient church, the hospice which adjoined it and the riotous fairs which once took place in the kirkyard. Take the old track just west of the kirkyard which for many centuries was used by travellers on their way to the ford across the Dee. At the river look back for a view of Kincardine Castle on the hillside above the village.
Turn right and walk along the river bank where many species of wild flowers bloom in summer. The hill seen in the distance ahead is Morven. After approximately 230m you reach the point where a ferry plied across the Dee until 1937 when a great spate swept the boat away. The river reached the same height in the spate of 2015. The ferryman’s house stands on the opposite bank.
Turn right here and either follow the track straight up to the main road, or lengthen the route slightly by detouring through the Boat Wood (extra 400 m). In 1998 the Kinker Gruff Kids renovated the old pavilion located in the south east corner of the play park. They also commissioned the building of an archway into Boat Wood. To celebrate the year 2000 the Summer Playscheme then created a story trail for Boat Wood which is displayed inside the old pavilion. At the main road turn right to return to the village.
Walk 3 – Deeside Way
2km (1.3 miles)
From the Old Smiddy turn right, walk about 150 m and turn up on the first road on the right past the Episcopalian Christ Church. You are now on Pitmurchie Rd. the 18th century military road which follows the route once used by drovers bringing cattle south to market. Stay on the tarmac road past the turn off of the Deeside Way path and walk uphill until you have passed all the houses. Beyond the village the rough ground to the left and right of the road is Bartle Muir, site of Bartle Fair until 1912.
You have now arrived at a minor cross-road where a track takes off to left and right. Take the left track and after about 110 m you reach the Deeside Way. If you want a short walk turn left at this point and follow the Deeside Way back down to the village. If you want a slightly longer walk turn right along the Deeside Way and after 300 m you will have arrived at the end of a narrow pine wood stretching away to the left where you will find a gap in the stone wall by the track. Take the footpath along this wood which goes down towards Heugh-head farm and gives attractive views up and down the valley of the Dee. At the bottom of the wood the track crosses a ditch on a plank bridge. Turn left here along a farm track which was probably part of the Old Deeside Road before the modern road was built in the 19th century. After about 170 m the path takes a sharp left turn and soon joins the Deeside Way. Turn right now to follow the Deeside Way back to the village.