Old Deer footpath officially opened

Despite the inclement weather, a small crowd gathered to see the footpath officially opened.
Despite the inclement weather, a small crowd gathered to see the footpath officially opened.

A footpath between Old Deer and Stuartfield is now officially open thanks to the efforts of Old Deer Community Association.

The project to link the two villages and bypass the very dangerous bend in the road around Old Deer cemetery has been a long-term dream.

Essle Watt, Old Deer Community Association chairman said: “The area around us here in Central Buchan is very rich in footpaths and cycle ways, and we have the Buchan and Formartine Walkway right in the heart.

“We have extensive networks in Pitfour Estate, over towards Fetterangus and Mintlaw, and around Stuartfield. And, of course, there’s wonderful Aden Park itself.

“Although you could walk for miles around these, there was a definite ‘missing link’, and that was a stretch of pathway between Old Deer and Stuartfield.”

The challenge was taken up by John Ollason, a former chairman of Old Deer Community Association, but John had barely started this task when, sadly, he died. So the village association, to honour John, decided to complete this project.

The association received a substantial grant from Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Rural Development Programme’s ‘Improving Public Access’ scheme.

Sandy Thom, a committee member said: “We were supported on all fronts. Two farmers gave us land on long term leases which were prepared free of charge by Stewart and Watson, solicitors in Mintlaw. We simply couldn’t have managed without this kind of support.”

The path is extremely well used. Lynda Simmers of Stuartfield commented: “It’s a smashing path. I have to use a motorised buggy and I’m safe off the road and on the path. It opens my way up to Aden Park.”

The path was officially opened by Janet Ollason on a day of pouring rain.

She said: “This task was an idea of six years ago, and has been well worth working on and waiting for.

“Though it was a dreadful day weather-wise, it was still being used.”