Coronation Road (Scone to Abernethy)
Start location: Pickstonhill (NO 134 256)
End location: Abernethy (NO 189 165)
Geographical area: Perth, Kinross and Stirling (part)
Path Type: Medieval Road
Path distance: 13km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash! ScotWays have produced lovely Christmas cards depicting a snowy day on the Coronation Road, available now in their online shop - get yours quick! A lovely way to support ScotWays work including the Heritage Paths project.
Travelling the Coronation Road today is difficult, due to the lack of ferries over the Rivers Tay and Earn, but the sections which lie between Scone and Abernethy are described below. A further section of the Coronation Road heads from near Carpow to Macduff's Cross.
From the A94 at the southwest edge of New Scone, a minor road climbs steeply to the ESE, up the side of the cemetery and continuing beyond along a mud and grass tractor-track. At a minor road at NO138252, a green-and-white Perth & Kinross Council sign on the far/south side indicates 'Coronation Road'. The next 1.5km consists of a grassy path, wet in places, climbing steadily all the way, following a fenced/dyked defined route, with flanking bushes and trees and fields beyond. At the forest edge at NO149246 make a loop to the east through a grazing field (faint path-line only). On entering the forest at NO152244, there is a further green-and-white sign. Continue through the forest on a grassy forest track to the edge of the forest, where a self closing gate takesyou onto a recently upgraded path through land belonging to Northlees farm. Follow the fenced path downhill, past a small pond and through a gate. Continue along the path to another gate which brings you out onto a farm track, next to some houses. Turn right and follow this track to the public road at NO160230, near The Binn. Turn left and follow the road east for about 500m before turning right to pick up the path to Kinfauns Church, and then on down the hill to the A90 at NO165220.
On the far side of the River Tay, the route can be picked again. From Elcho Castle follow the minor public roads in a generally southeast direction past Elcho, Balhepburn and Easter Rhynd farms to the River Earn.
On the farside of the River Earn, head from Ferryfield of Carpow along the minor road for 100m. The traditional route of the Coronation Road may have continued southwest towards the A913 in order to link up with the route towards Macduff's Cross. However to reach Abernethy, turn right onto a grassy track for 200m. Cross the burn by the footbridge, turn south (left) and in roughly 200m turn right onto a field track, just two muddy ruts, between two unfenced fields for 400m to the junction with a farm track. Turn left and follow this track (initially a rough tractor track), taking the right hand fork, continuing through houses in the village of Abernethy to the A913.
This route is a very old carriage road that must have seen a great deal of traffic over the centuries. One theory as to why it is called the Coronation Road is because the Earl (or Mormaer as they were then known) of Fife had the hereditary responsibility of Crowning the King, so would have had to travel to Scone. This journey would have had to take place perhaps at relatively short notice and with a great retinue. If this is the case then the road may date to the very early Medieval Period as the Stone of Destiny was taken to London by Edward I (1239-1307).
Another theory is that it was used by the Scottish Royal Family to travel between their palaces at Scone and Falkland. If this is the case then it would have been in use quite a bit later as Falkland Palace was not a particularly favoured Royal residence until James III in the 15th century.
The Coronation Road may have been a route used for both the above purposes; the later Stuarts re-using what was by then a very old road with royal connections. As it has two ferry points, the route probably fell out of use as easier land connections opened up.
In February 2018, the Courier carried an excellent article on Scotland's ancient routes featuring the Coronation Road along with Wade and Caulfeild's military road network.