This section of the route resumes from the site of the old Peterculter Station and heads west initially on the old line of the railtrack before breaking off close to Coalford and the Aberdeenshire County Boundary. This element of the Way is significantly longer to that of the previously described Aberdeen City part, this being 11.4 miles in much more varied terrain. This section also breaks away from the general line of the Deeside Railway in parts and also comes alongside the banks of the River Dee towards it later stages.
At the small hamlet of Coalford the Way now crosses the old railway track and head to its south side along a single track public road. This is a quiet road but the walker should be prepared to meet traffic. The image above shows the trail passing through the wooded section close to Cairnton Farm as it head towards Dalmaik and Moss-side. Prior to Dalmaik the walker takes the right hand fork and passes by Moss-side now returning onto a non-vehicle pathway as it heads north west towards Drumoak.
With Drumoak within a close distance the Deeside Way takes a sharp left hand turn and heads south west away from the main centre as it heads towards Keith’s Muir with its woods and recreational area. The image shows that this and many other parts of the trail are open to equestrian users. The path leads out to the public road close to the old toll house, at which point the route is to the right heading up hill to the “T” junction with the A93 Deeside Road at the centre of Drumoak. For some this may be a stopping point if they are wanting to undertake a longer first section walk from the start in Aberdeen.
The trail at this point heads west and for the section between Drumoak and Crathes the walking path runs close and parallel to the Deeside Road but almost always separated from the road by trees. To the left is the estate containing Park House, and to its south is the meandering River Dee. Approaching the small community of Crathes the trail comes up on to a short pavement section before turn left for a short distance on the A957, then right to regain the general line of the old railway, taking the trail the short distance into Milton of Crathes.
Milton of Crathes is a significant visitor attraction and is on the banks of the River Dee. It is also close to Crathes Castle which is on the north side of the A93 and which can be accessed by a forest walk (approx. 1 mile) close by the visitor centre. Along with restaurant and refreshments, Milton of Crathes has craft shops, childrens’ playground and the adjacent is the station for the now privately operated Royal Deeside Railway.
Heading west from Milton of Crathes the path goes alongside the
Royal Deeside Railway, this is presently only a
stretch of about one mile before the active track ends at Birkenbaud. The Way continues on the track bed of the
original Deeside Railway as it clings closely to the banks of the River Dee.
It is the longer term aim to see the Royal Deeside Railway being extended west so that it will terminate at Banchory,
however like all private railways this is very dependent on funding and raising enough through visitors numbers on the
present short section.
This part of the Way has great attraction as it opens up river scenery and views to the west and the higher hills
to the west and south west that form the county boundary with Angus.
Looking across the Dee there is the area called Maryfield and it can be seen from the picture that the
River Dee is catering for the fishermen and women. Fishers bothies are to be seen at many points along
the rivers length, the fishermen seeking out salmon.
Not long after Birkenbaud on a slightly eleveated section, the outskirt of Banchory are seen. Banchory is a
community that has seen significant population growth in recent years and is likely to number slightly over
7000 inhabitants while also attracts many visitors. The walk on this section concludes in the large park area
just to the south side of the A93 and the High Street. This is at the King George V Park.
This is a point where the walker may very well decide to break the walk before embarking on the next part towards
kincardine o' Neil and Aboyne. Banchory has hotels, B&B provision and many eating establishments. It also have
frequent "Stagecoach" buses running west to Ballater and Braemar or east to Aberdeen.
Click on this link to move to the next section of the walk.