Cryne Corse Mounth
Start location: Spyhill (NO 761 916)
End location: Public road Cleuchead (NO 763 841)
Geographical area: Grampian
Path Type: Medieval Road
Path distance: 8.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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The route leaves the car park at the north end and rises up a steep tarmac road which is the access to the Durris transmitter. Just before reaching the transmitter site a disc signs a turn to the left onto a track. After a short distance a right turn is made onto a footpath following a break in the forest used by power lines. This path is followed until it crosses a forest track and then onwards downhill until it joins a main track onto which a right turn is made at a sign. This is followed with signs until a left turn at another sign to cross the Cowie Burn on a concrete bridge. The road rises and passes the Lady Leys ruin, continuing uphill with disc signs until the Forestry Commission sign is reached. Follow the right hand track to the car park at Quithel.
OS Landranger 45 (Stonehaven & Banchory)
This old path over the Mounth has been used for many centuries as an alternative crossing of the Mounth to the nearby Slug Road. It said to have been used by Edward I in 1296 and also William Wallace. Long after the Wars of Independence, it was by the Cryne Corse Mounth that the Marquis of Montrose reached Aberdeen in September 1644, following his victory against another Covenanter force at the Battle of Tippermuir.
The Cryne Corse Mounth was used by drovers to get to St Palladius' Fair (Paldy Fair) on Herscha Hill north of Auchenblae, by Fordoun. According to ARB Haldane's The Drove Roads of Scotland, it was a tryst of some importance. In 1795, it was said that up to 3000 cattle were sold at this Fordoun cattle fair each July, and that most of them had come from the north. In 1863, the Ordnance Survey Name Book for Kincardineshire notes that Paldy Fair is held from the first Tuesday after 11th July for three consecutive days - the first day being for Sheep, the second day for Cattle, the third for Horse and also Reapers for the harvest. The site of Paldy Fair can be seen clearly marked on OS 6" second edition mappping (1892-1905) and also on the OS 1" mapping until at least the 1950s.
Cryne Corse is also known as Cryne Cross although the origin of either name is not known. In Grampian Ways Robert Smith gives a number of theories such as that the pass may have been named after a local Aberdeen Family called Cryne,
The route passes Red Beard's Well, which is located at the source of the Adequoich Burn. The well is named after the head of a group of highwaymen who would wait in a cave on Craigbeg for pasing victims. The site highlights the danger to travellers on lesser known routes and also the importance of wells, springs and fresh water to the course taken by old roads. As people took so long to travel from place to place and would exert a great deal of effort in doing so, there was a great need for roads to pass many sources of fresh water; often old wells would be ornately decorated.
The Heritage Paths project is pleased to announce that Neil Ramsay (our former Project Officer) and Nate Pedersen (one of our earliest volunteers) have teamed up to write an ebook - The Mounth Passes - with photography by long-standing ScotWays member Graham Marr. If you too are interested in the heritage of these old ways through the Grampian Mountains, we highly recommend it.