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Royal Deeside : Clachnaben near Banchory

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The area south of Banchory contains some fine hill and moorland. Indeed, the road from Banchory to Fettercairn, through lonely Glen Dye and passing Clachnaben before reaching the wonderful viewpoint at Cairn o' Mount, is a favourite among all those who know it.

Clachnaben (or Clach-na-ben) is a distinctive hill which is very popular with hill-walkers. Recently, great efforts have been made to protect the hill from damage. One phase of this work has recently been completed. The report presented below on the protection work first appeared in the Deeside Piper on Friday 24th October 2003.

Note: The hill is sometimes referred to as Clochnaben

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Clachnaben from Cairn o' Mount
Clachnaben viewed from Cairn o' Mount

Lovers of a Deeside hill have been celebrating this week after the completion of top priority footpath works on the popular landmark. And the Clachnaben Path Trust, who completed the project, have also announced plans for a new circular walk and a pioneering access agreement with the estate owners.

The well-loved walk up Clachnaben from Glen Dye takes in mature forest and heather moor before a steep climb to gain impressive summit views. The latest phase of footpath repairs on the hill has seen footbridges installed in the lower sections, completing the works considered most important to prevent environmental damage.

Until recently Clachnaben, which overlooks the Cairn o' Mount road south of Banchory, was a victim of its own popularity. Over 10,000 visitors a year had created a badly eroded path, scarring the hillside — prompting a group of concerned hill-walkers, inspired by the example of the Baillies of Bennachie, to try to repair some of the damage.

With backing from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Aberdeenshire Council, and with the active support of the landowner, Glendye Estate, they formed the Clachnaben Path Trust in 1997. Since then, the Trust has undertaken a long-term programme of phased path works. Some of Scotland's leading path contractors have been employed, while conservation volunteers from outdoor groups and Noranside Prison have made a vital contribution.

Alongside grants from SNH totalling over £120,000, the Trust has raised funding and support from hillwalking clubs, the Gannochy Trust, Cairngorm Club, Bristow helicopters and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.

Jim Maison of the Clachnaben Path Trust said ‘ Our over-riding aim has always been to protect this great wee hill and its character. Since 1997, path construction and repair dominated our work. Now, thanks to thousands of hours of volunteer work, invaluable support from our backers and consistent help from the Glendye estate, we can concentrate on maintaining a top quality path and consider new opportunities such as the circular walk.

Glendye Estate has proposed the development of a circular walk taking in the lower parts of the main path. This would give walkers an exciting new low-level option which, with annual visitor numbers now rising to 20,000, could take some pressure off the hill itself. The Estate is developing a formal access agreement for further collaboration with the Clachnaben Path Trust

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Introduction Journey through Deeside A Dram of Whisky 1 A Dram of Whisky 2 Forests and Woodlands Lochnagar
The River Dee Red Squirrels Craigendarroch Hill, Ballater Clachnaben by Banchory Braemar Weather  




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