Rowantree is the starting point for a popular trail up the Mither Tap, the landmark hill that dominates Aberdeenshire’s countryside. Many local folk reckon it’s the best choice for your first trip to the top. Our map will help you explore.
The route follows an ancient track called the Maiden Causeway, which was probably the main approach road for the Pictish fort at the top of the hill. Legend tells how the track was built by the devil to win a bet for a maiden’s hand. Not surprisingly, the maiden tried to run away – and was turned into stone!
A walk of legends to the impressive Pictish hill fort. The Maiden Causeway itself is named after a local girl who bet the devil that she could bake a batch of oatcakes before he could build a road up Bennachie.
Steep, rough and uneven rocky trail with steep rock steps. Some parts are narrow and can be wet and muddy after rain.
Allow 2½ hours
There are other stories along the way too: look for ‘Hosie’s Well’, which springs from the tears of a heartbroken soldier. You can also see ‘Little John’s Length’, a long ridge that’s the bed of Jock o’Bennachie, the giant who guards the hill.
The climb to the Mither Tap makes a great outing, and for such an impressively craggy summit it’s very accessible. But this is open hill country where the weather can change quickly, even in summer. Check our advice about hillwalking before you set off.
The toilets here are open from Easter to September. There are places to eat in in Oyne, Chapel of Garioch and Inverurie.
Follow the A96 north from Inverurie for about 7 miles (11.2 km). Turn left onto a minor road signposted to ‘Maiden Stone’, just before the turning to Oyne. After about ½ mile (800 metres), take a right turn signposted ‘Rowantree Forest Walks’. The car park is about ½ mile (800 metres) along this road, at grid reference NJ 692 244.
Nearest postcode: AB51 5HZ
The nearest point for public transport is the village of Pitcaple, about 2 miles (3.2 km) away on the A96. It is served by buses between Huntly and Aberdeen. Alternatively, you could take a taxi from Inverurie, which is served by buses and trains. Check Traveline Scotland for details.
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