Updated: Apr 18, 2020
As mentioned on the Lickleyhead Castle website, it's possible to access the Bennachie range directly from the castle grounds without crossing any roads. Here I want to outline exactly how this is accomplished for anyone wanting instruction (or photographic proof!). The range has several peaks, this takes you to the nearest, Hermit's Seat. This is a 3 hour return walk, judged to be of medium difficulty.
The easiest place to start is at the gardener's cottage, behind the castle.
1. Opposite the vegetable patch is a lane leading up to the right alongside the field. Follow this & start your walk to Hermit's Seat. (See picture 1). Do not take the more established dirt track immediately to its right.
2. You will soon come across a field gate, hop over this and continue walking over a small dried up riverbed and into the field to the right at the end.
3. Continue walking right along the edge of the field and cross into the second field. Then head up to the top right corner of the second field. (See picture 2)
4. At the top of the second field you will find another gate. Hop over this and continue on the path in front of you through the field of felled trees. (see picture 3)
5. At the top of the field of felled trees you will get to a loggers' track. Turn left at the top and walk 180 steps.
6. On the right you will see a very small path leading up into the forest (see picture 4 for recognition as it may be difficult to spot).
7. Follow this path up and round slightly to the right.
8. At the top of the path through the forest you will come to a fence, which you can duck under, on the right hand side. (see picture 5)
9. You will then be on another overgrown loggers track. Follow it up to the left.
10. You will then follow this path round to the right for a small while.
11. At the end of this track is a larger track again follow this up to the left heading up the mountain.(see picture 6)
12. After a while you will come to a fork in the road. Take the left turn heading up the hill. (see picture 7)
13. You are now on the Gordon’s Way walk!
14. After a few minutes you will come across a signpost with a yellow arrow and the letters 'GW'. Follow this to the left and find a little path leading into the heather. Easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled (see picture 8).
15. Along this path you will come across another fork that is difficult to see. (See picture 9) take the path to the left away from the main path (At this point you can see Hermit's Seat ahead of you).
16. You will then come to another fence with a step to jump over. (See picture 10)
17. Keep following along the path and eventually you will reach Hermits Seat! A pile of stones marks the top (see picture 11).
18. From here you can make your way back down to Lickleyhead on the same route or join back onto the Gordon’s Way and walk all the way to Bennachie visitors' centre or any of the other peaks you can see in the distance.
19. Check the Bennachie centre walking trails on forestryandland.gov.scot for maps and more information.
This route requires passage through farmers' fields. Please bear in mind that Scotland has more relaxed laws with regard trespass than England and it is perfectly acceptable to walk through a field provided you are respectful of property and livestock. Dogs should be kept on leads.
A big thanks to Liz and Vince for taking the photos!