Bennachie

Bennachie is one the most distinctive and best loved sights in Aberdeenshire that, for thousands of years, has provided shelter and sustenance to local communities. From the hilltop fort carved into the rock to the stone that was quarried to construct houses, Bennachie is a part of Aberdeenshire folklore, a place where giants reputedly dwelled and threw gigantic boulders in a rage.

Part of a ridge of hills, the highest of which, Oxen Craig, soars 528 metres above sea level, Bennachie offers astounding views to Lochnagar and across Aberdeenshire. The slopes of the hill, once cultivated by prehistoric communities, are blanketed by sweeping forests, a delightful refuge for a diverse collection of wildlife. From red squirrels foraging for food and siskins sheltering amid the Scots pines, to red grouse ambling on the heathland slopes near the summit, Bennachie is a dream for nature lovers.

Walking trails for every age and ability wind their ways through the woodland: a 20-minute leisurely stroll under the canopy or a strenuous, yet exhilarating, hike to the top of Bennachie. The visitor centre is an ideal starting point, offering an informative insight into the history of the hill and its communities, the wildlife that prospers there, and how sustainability promises to secure the future of Bennachie for generations.

Admission to Bennachie Visitor Centre is free.

GETTING THERE AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Arriving by car

Bennachie is situated 12 miles west of Inverurie, from where visitors should take the A96 towards Huntly, turning left towards Chapel of Garioch after approximately 3.5 miles, before following signs to Bennachie Centre.

Car parking is available (charges apply).

Arriving by bus

The closest bus stop is in Pitcaple, approximately 3 miles from Bennachie, which is served by Stagecoach route 10 (Aberdeen – Huntly). Travel time: from Aberdeen, one hour; from Huntly, 25 minutes.

Facilities

Toilets are available at Bennachie Visitor Centre.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEARBY

  • Explore the prehistoric heritage of Aberdeenshire, with a visit to East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, Maiden Stone, or the Loanhead of Daviot Stone Circle.
  • The medieval ruins of Kinkell Church to the south of Inverurie are notable as the site of Mons Grampius, where the Picts were defeated by the Romans in 84AD – likely to be the first battle to take place in Scotland!
  • Discover the history of the communities who have lived in the area at the Garioch Heritage Centre, where you can experience life in a loco works colony house or on a traditional dairy farm.

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

Nearby Inverurie is teeming with fantastic places to grab a coffee, light lunch, or substantial evening meal.

For delightful cakes, pancakes, paninis, or salads, the Fly Cup Café is the place to head. Daily lunch specials are also available.

The award-winning Shahi Darbar showcases a range of traditional and contemporary Asian dishes that combine authentic Indian cooking with locally sourced produce. Another award winner, The Porterhouse at the Thainstone Centre, claims to serve the finest food from the north-east of Scotland and, as part of a local agricultural community, is committed to sourcing outstanding Aberdeenshire produce for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

DID YOU KNOW…?

There have been two aircraft crashes on Bennachie, in 1939 and 1952. A plaque on the cairn on the south side of Oxen Craig was established in memory of those who died.

Inverurie AB51 5HZ Scotland GB
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