Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Spilling down the northern slopes of the hill, the forest at Back O’Bennachie is a delight. There’s a large, open picnic area where you can have a barbecue or play a game of forest football, and trails through atmospheric forest.
On the hillside above the forest you can find the remains of the quarry that supplied stone to build local villages, and a superb circuit that takes in three of Bennachie’s summits.
From a fresh green burst in spring to an autumn blast of gold, the larick (larch) here provides a different colour for all the seasons.
A moderate to fairly steep trail, with varied surfaces: firm forest roads, earthy paths that can be muddy and rough sections with rocks, roots and large steps.
Allow 1 hour
The trail passes through native, naturally-growing trees like Scots pine, as well as forest planted with other species chosen for their timber value.
A great workout on the hill, visiting the Mither Tap and Bennachie’s highest summit - Oxen Craig.
A very steep, rough trail with long climbs, large steps, rocky and some areas on the summits which may be muddy.
Allow 3¾ hours
The longest route to the landmark of the Mither Tap, this trail also visits Bennachie’s highest summit at Oxen Craig. On the way you’ll pass the old quarry at Little Oxen Craig, where stone was cut in the 1800s to build houses in nearby villages. Watch out for the sculpture installed here.
It may not be a Munro, but climbing Bennachie can be a real mountain experience with real mountain dangers. Ice and snow make the paths extremely hazardous in winter and spring. Even in summer the wind blows constantly at the top and temperatures will drop suddenly in rain. Don’t get caught out - dress warmly, take boots and waterproofs and be prepared to turn back when the weather changes.
The toilets here are open from 1st April to 31st October. You’ll find places to eat in Oyne, Chapel of Garioch and Inverurie.
The charges to park at Back o'Bennachie are:
Payment options: Coin only
Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our local forest list without the £ symbol.
Annual parking pass available:
Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Follow the A96 north from Inverurie for about 7 miles (11.2 km). At the Oyne Fork turn left onto the B9002, signposted to Insch. Follow this road through Oyne village for about 2 miles (3.2 km), then turn left on a narrow road signposted ‘Back o' Bennachie Forest Walks’. The car park is about 1 mile (1.6 km) up this road.
Nearest postcode: AB52 6RH
Buses serve Oyne village, about 1 ¾ miles (2.8 km) away. Check Traveline Scotland for details.
The most popular route to Mither Tap - with good reason
The best place to start for Bennachie first-timers