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PITLURG TO ACHMACOY

(Update April 2015)

Update 20th April 2015. A record of my walk between Pitlurg and Auchmacoy when I managed to walk over the actual track bed in fine weather. After my enjoyable visit to the pitlurg
station site the day beforehand  as the weather remained fine I decided to give walking the track bed from Pitlurg to Tattershall a go. I caught the bus from Aberdeen to the bus stop at
Bogbrae for the road junction for the old station site.


as it leaves the short cutting and then over the high embankment down to the road junction at Tassatshill is still easily made out. The ground in the cutting immediately by the railway
bridge is still very boggie, even after three days without rain. I had to keep to the higher side of the cutting until meeting dryer ground nearer to the start of the embankment. In wet
conditions the cutting would be unwalkable without wearing Wellingtons.


Looking south from the site of the Ex over bridge at the south end of Pitlurg station site. The way is blocked by the building up ahead and then fenced off where a
number of trees have been planted on the track bed. To get back onto the track bed you follow the road to the right down to the Farm where on the west side you
come to an an over bridge where you can get back onto the track bed. (19th April 2015).

 
Left The filled-in south side of the old station over bridge. The Down controling signals would have been here. The points into the goods siding and Down station platform would have been seen from here.
Right: Same view from further southwards along the farm track bed. The Daffodills stand on the track bed.

 
A touching scene. Someone's pet Dog had recently died and has been buried on the old track bed.


A lovely dedication to 'Sandy' a much loved family pet.

September 2008 Photos

 
Looking south from the same spot. The line ran straight ahead and is fenced off at this point.                                     Right: On the trackbed is a couple of barbaque fires and seats.

 
Left: A closer view looking through the gate built on the centre of the trackbed.                          Right: Pointing the camera through the wire of the gate with the line running straight ahead. Someone is camping on.
                                                                                                                                                    the site,  which suggests, along with the barbeque equipment and seats that this is a regular camping spot.

April 2015 Photos

 
Left: An uncompleted building stands at his spot where the Barbeque fires and seats stood in 2008.The bulding is a failed attampt to build a Winery along this section of the track bed.
Right: To get back onto the track bed you have to take the path to the right and walk down to the Farm and then through the farm buildings until you come to the railway over bridge.

   
The view of the track bed from the road to the over bridge by the farm.

 
Left: A you approach the over bridge you can see the track bed curve back towards Pitlurg, the uncomplted building on the far left. Right: the rough farm track up to the over bridge.
Right: The still complete over bridge by the old Farm.

 
Left: View towards Pitlurg station site from the overbridge.                                                                           Right: View looking south towards Auchmacoy from the over bridge.

 
Left: Wide view from the over bridge, looking southwards.                                                 Right: The old farm buildings seen from the railway bridge.(Sept. 2008).

 
Left: The footpath continues through a field back up to the Pitlurg-Auchmacoy road via Leask but is only passable when not ploughed over as it was the last time I visted here.
Right: View from the eastern side of the over bridge back to the farm.

 
A wider view making the scene look more railway like. Right: I would have liked to have got down onto the trackbed and photographed the bridge at that level but not only that there was no safe way down the bank but it
was just too wet and over grown after the heavy rain of the day before. (Sept. 2008).


Thankfully, it was a lot dryer on my 20th  of April 2015 visit. The farm footpath bridge from the south side and at track bed level. The way is blocked between
here and Pitlurg station site. Beware, the ground is very boggie at this point.

 
This spot at the centre of the Cutting is extremely muddy, in spite of three days without rain I had to walk higher up the side of the embankment for a short distance to keep my feet dry until reaching
the end of the cutting.


Not sure if this is an old sleeper or something a farmer may have put there over the years! It's at the top
of the cutting. Behind is the path I took through the farm to reach the over bridge from Pitlurg.

 
This was as far as I had to walk along the edge of the cutting before finding reasonably dry ground on the track bed.

 

   
Approaching where the Forvie Burn runs below in a culvert. On the north eastern side fishing lakes have been formed. This was approx. the spot where the Down Distant signal for Pitlurg stood.

 
Not sure if these are genuine railway gates or not! However, it indicates where the Down Distance
signal is shown on the map by a farm crossing.

  
Left: Fom the railway embankment with the man-made fishing lakes on the north side of the track bed.                       Right: The western side of the track bed where the Forvie Burn runs below the embankment.

 
Views of the lakes from the railway embankment. 

 
Left: View southwards towards Auchmacoy.                                                                                Right: View northwards towards Pitlurg.

 
The Forvie Burn where it runs under the track bed in a culvert. Left: West side, towards Auchmacoy.     Right: East side, towards Auchmacoy. You can see the track below that has been built to
                                                                                                                     reach the Lakes that comes off the track bed.


The grooves on the track bed have been formed over years by locals driving to and from the Fishing lakes. Towards Auchmacoy.


Looking back towards Pitlurg.


More fencing lying about. Not sure if these are original or not.


Halfway down the track bed and looking back up the incline towards Pitlurg. The height of the embankment and the rising gradiant
is noticeable. This would have been a stiff climb from Auchmacoy to summit at Pitlurg station.


Site of another farm crossing.


Ditto. Looking northwards.

 
Left: The grooves made by the Fishing folk coming and going from Tassatshill to the lakes.                                   Right: a concrete path has been laid for farm equipment too get too and from Tassatshill to the fields.

 
Ditto. Opposite direction.

 
The track bed is blocked off by a back-fill.

 
Interesting stone or concrete wall bracing the railway parimeter.


The reason for the back-fill. Obviously used by an archery group. However, it is easy to get up and over the hump by using the fence on the right as a bannister.


Archery target.

 
From the top of the mound. Left: Looking south towards the Ex over bridge at the Tassatshill-Achmacoy road junction. Right: Looking nothwards over the archery target.

 
Left: From the top of the heap. Looking southwards.                                                                                                         Right: The south end of the back-fill heap. Looking northwards.


Towards the over bridge remains. Straw bails lay on the track bed.

   
Left: Lookng back towards Pitlurg.                                                                                                                    Right: Southwards to the Ex Tassatshill bridge. Boulders in the way.

 
Large Boulders placed on trackbed. Would have taken some doing to lift these from the field! (looking northward.)


The final yards to the end of the track bed at Tassatshill by the remains of the Ex Road bridge.
You can see the road continuing towards Auchmacoy and the heavily forested length
where the track bed is hidden.

 
Left: Final look back towards Pitlurg. Right: Straw Bales on the track bed prior to the site of the demolished over bridge. Towards Auchmacoy.
From here the track bed is hidden within a forest of trees up to Auchmacoy station site.


Approachng the demolished over bridge at the Tassatshill-Auchmacoy road junction.

 
Looking north with the trackbed running on an embankment and into a deep cutting as it approaches the site of the stone railway bridge by the farm buildings up at Pitlurg.
(Both photos from Sept. 2008)



The remains of the top of the over bridge at Tassatshill. On the right is where the 'C' road from Pitlurg meets the Auchmacoy road.


South side embuttment.

 
Left: Only the south side embuttment of the bridge remains.                                                                                                          Right: The north side is very eroded.

 
The embuttments where the bridge crossed the Tassatshill road by the junction with the Pitlurg road (to the right).


A burn running under the Auchmacoy Road, to join the Forvie Burn to the south at a weir. It aso ran below the railway.


The road from Tassatshill to Auchmacoy. Track bed is within the woods on the right.

From Tassatshill the track bed continues within the forest of trees and is difficult to navigate. However due to the very dry spell and a very bright Spring day the way was a bit clearer
and brighter so took a chance and carried on. It was a bit of a scramble at times but passable and every now and then there was enough space to see that it was a track bed. Here is a
selection of some of the photos. I did come to a block at one point and got back onto the road for a few yards then managed to get back into the wood again to just short of the
Dobshill road junction where there had been a footbridge over the railway.

 

 
Left: From were I got into the wooded section, looking back to where the Tattershill over bridge had been.
Right: looking ahead towards Auchmacoy. The continuing photos are taken looking in one direction or the other.

   

 

  


Towards Dobshill Road.

 


I came upon a well blocked way and had to get back onto the road for some years before getting back
into the wooded section and up to here the Dobshill road and over overbridge site.


Left: Towards the Dobshill Road.

 

 
Left: a clearer path for a short way towards Auchmacoy. Right: The way is blocked with a bit of a scramble to get back out onto the Dobshill Road.


Towards Auchmacoy with the junction of the road to Dobshill to the right. This is where the footbridge stood across the railway.
The track bed onto Auchmacoy is fenced off from here due to new tree planting and is blocked by a forest of trees at the north end of the station..

Sept. 2008 photos

  
This is a forestry clearing half way along the Tassatshill road and where the foot bridge stood. This side road is shown as running through to the main road at Birness, past the hamlet of Dobshill.
 Left: I have drawn a line through the scene to show where the track bed was.     Right: From the same spot looking towards Achmacoy the trees are being heavily cleared making the trackbed open
to the air once again. I wasn't sure why this length was being cleared but from my September 2015 walk found that it was to replant new trees.


This map indicates that there was a footbridge at his spot and not a level crossing. The present road must have been made a through road
after the railway closed and the road only came in from Dorbshill. Artrochie school is closed but is used ocassionally as a meeting hall.
(NSL Railway Maps).

April 2015 photos

 
Left: From Dobshill Road Jctn towards Auchmacoy.                                                                           Right: Ditto. Towards end of forested track bed from the Tassatshill Road.


Looking back towards the Ex Overbridge at Tassatshill road junction with the track bed on the left..

 
Heading towards the now closed Artrochie School by Auchmacoy.

 
Old railway fence posts at short open area where you could get to the track bed.


At a curve in the road an access path goes to the right and over what had been a farm crossing.

 
From the farm crossing site.

Left: Looking back towards Tassatshill.                                                                                         Right: Towards the tree blockage at the north end of Auchmacoy station site.
                                                                                                                                                                             Just up ahead is where the 'facing' Goods Yard points would have turned off the main line.

 
Left: Artrochie Community Education Centre.                                                                                                       Right: Barn & water tower
The track bed runs behind the old school. This is private property.


The Tassatshll to Auchmacoy Road on the last stretch before reaching the station site.

  
A wire tensioning and wooden fence post as seen from the road and each side of the track bed.

 


I wondered if this old shed had been part of the railway but thought that it may be set too far back from the
station site. However, having now covered the site and found that the Goods Shed line and Goods siding
were just a few yards inside the wooded area this may well have been a railway hut.
 

 
End of the Pitlurg road at the junction for Auchmacoy. The village is to the left, while the station site is to the right.

As you get closer to Achmacoy it becomes very wooded and closed in. But again is very pleasant countryside. Achmacoy station is (as is usual) a good three quarters of a mile from
the village, tucked in off the roadside to the point that you would never know it was there if you hadn't been looking for it.

As you walk towards the station you come across the Station House. I always ask permission to look around such places and as it was, the lady of the house was just turning her car
out of the drive. I explained the situation. She was just setting off to attend a meeting but kindly allowed me to look around. It always pays to ask.

There isn't much to see as there are no platforms or buildings apart from the house but the station area is still quite open and you can make out the space where the tracks and platforms
were. To the north all ends in a heavily wooded area, as it does to the south, but before that you can walk along the station track bed up to the road bridge. Beyond the bridge, towards
Ellon, it is too wooded and overgrown to walk through, which is just as well as just beyond that again the railway went over a high road bridge, which has been demolished. Likewise this
is the end of the trackbed for most of the way into Ellon as so much has been demolished or ploughed flat. From the demolished railway bridge the trackbed went over the main road and
dropped down the other side as it leveled out for the final couple of miles into Ellon. All there is to see is the high bank of the railway and it's sudden decline on the other side of the main
road.

I'm not sure what the name 'Achmacoy' means but with my little knowledge of Gaidhlig, Auchaidh = a field, Ma = Of The and my guess is that 'Coy' could either be from 'Cu' =  Dog/Dogs,
or it could be an abbreviation of  Bo = Cattle.

On my 2008 visit I didn't bother having another look around the station as there would have been little more to see from my previous visit and it was much too wet to walk through that
overgrown area.

 
Left: The station entrance from the Achmacoy-Ellon road, with the station house. The station was at the right, behind of the house.
Right: Linesman William Cameron Lippe
(c. 1920's Auchmacoy). The two ladies are believed to be his second wife and a dughter.
With thanks to Mrs. Sheila Gordon, great, great grandaughter to Mrs. Lippe, Jane Wallace.


There was only one platform with no signals but two goods sidings which also had a short head shunt. This siding will have been operated by a ground frame with a key attached
to the single line token and used by he guard during any shunting. One side of the Goods Siding's stop block is still in place.


Screen grab from Google.


Here you can see where the platform lay and also the two lines into the Goods siding, which had a head
shunt at the north end by the main track. (NSL RailwayMaps)

Sept 2008 photos


From the entrance to Achmacoy station you walk immediately across the north end of the station layout.
The remains of the platform is seen by the grassy mound on the right of centre. The track bed becomes
impassable as it ends in a heavily wooded area. This is looking towards Boddam..

 
I am standing on the north end of the station track bed. As this road crosses the railway into a farm, perhaps there was a level crossing at this point! The large shed is built on the station concourse.
Right: Looking towards Ellon from the southern tip of the station platform.

April 2015 Photos

AUCHMACOY GOODS YARD REMAINS

The Goods Yard lay on the east side of the station layout. Leading of the north end of the main line and running southwards to the road end of the site. There were two sidings, the nearest
to the station was the Goods line ending at the Goods Depot and the Goods Siding ending a a stop block near the Pitlurg road junction. The Goods siding ran in a shallow cutting. At the
north end by the main line points there was a head shunt running northwards along side for Goods yrd shuntig. As there were no signals involved the points would have been operated by
the guard, using a key attached to the single-line token.

 
The low cutting where the goods siding line ran up to the stop block.


More stones lying close to the Goods Siding stop block.

 
Left: Stop block remains.                                                                                      Right: A piece of rail embedded into the bank by the old stop block.

    
On my April 2015 visit I was interested to see what the metal remains were that the Gamekeepr told me of and found that it is one half of what was the Goods Siding stop block.
It is of an interesting build as it is made from mostly pieces of rai, nicely curved to form the brace that fitted to the end of the Goods line rails.

   


A wide angle view showing how the Goods Line ran up to the stop blocks.


This wide view shows the shallow cutting that the Goods siding track ran in, to the right. The Goods Shed would have been immediately in front of the camera.
Sadly there is nothing left to indicate either the shed or the track. The station was on the far left and the two siding tracks joined the main running line way up
ahead, where there was also a had shunt for the sidings.

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AUCHMACOY STATION


I didn't ask what the caged bird was all about. This is the station platform remains. The Goods lines will have been seen within the trees to the right.


  
Left: North end of the station as it runs into the woods.                                                       Right: From the same spot tooking along the platform remains towards Ellon.

 
Left: Unusual ground formation by the north end of the station platform                                                            Right: Looking northwards along the platform remains.

    
Remains of a stone base which is possibly part of the station buidings. There were toilets at both ends of the building and this may have been the north end one.
In the left hand photo the Horse Box and trailer as standing on what was the station forecourt with the Goods sidings behind that.


From this cropped section from the photo top right, you can see the remains of what must have been a drain pipe
on the building guttering.


From the north end of the platform looking back towards Ellon.

====================================================================

AUCHMACOY STN SITE TO ELLON

  Sept. 2008 Photos.

 
Looking back towards Boddam this was the actual station site. There was platforms on each side
and the usual station buildings and, somewhere, a signalbox. I have never seen a photo of
Achmacoy station therefore can't even imagine what it looked like.

 
At the western end of the station you come up to a road bridge. This 'C' road connects the 'C' road from Auchmacoy to Ellon to the main A90 Ellon to Boddam road. As the road is still in use the bridge is well maintained.
Most the bridges on the line were of identical design and it's nice to see this one in such good condition.                  Right: Half way between the road bridge and station. The building on the right was used by railway staff.

 
The building on the right could almost be part of the railway but is quite modern. But you can almost visualise  the platforms that were here. It must have been a very attractive with the station and
lines in place.     Right: The road bridge. This side road links the village road to the A90 half a mile or so ahead

 
Sept. 2008 view of the bridge by the road junction from Acmacoy to Ellon.                                          Right: Looking towards the station and Boddam, from the road bridge

 
Sept. 2008 View, including the bridge span.                                                                                                                Right: The opposite view, towards Ellon. Into the darkness, that was once the railway permanant way.

 
A Sept 2008 view from the same spot of the once 'right of way'.                              Right: The southern side of the bridge in Sept 2008. 

April 2015 Photos


The south side of the over bridge looking towards the station site.
 

 
Left: The track bed running towards Ellon, from the Road bridge.                                                             Right: Further along towards the next Ex over bridge.


Remains of an old nest of Beehives set on the track bed. Towards Ellon.


The hives and sheds don't appear to be in use. Towards Auchmacoy.

 
Left: Half way from the road over bridge on the south side of Auchmacoy station site.
Right: From the same position looking towards the demoished road bridge and Ellon.

 
I found it interesting that I was looking down from where I saw the workmen from the bus on the way to Boddam, which was 65 years ago.

 
The Ex over bridge looking towards Ellon.

 
The gap from the south side of the north side embankment.


The old road has since been blocked, to stop unothorised parking and rubbish dumping.

Sept. 2008 Photos

 
The demolished railway bridge to the west of Achmacoy. This was the old main road to/from Boddam.I have had a memory from around 1949/50 of being on the top deck of the bus going to Boddam
with my mother. As we approached a low bridge I could see wagons and men working on the railway above. This would have been when the line was being picked up. However, until now I could
not visualise a bridge anywhere I walked over the line that fitted this description but on seeing this bridge it just had to be the spot.
Right: The road has been abandoned beyond the bridge due to
the  new road, which is just out of sight in the distance but you can hear the traffic roar from here.

 
The old railway bridge from the western side of the old main road.                                                              Right: The northern parapet of the railway bridge

 
The southern parapet of the railway bridge with the embankment runing towards Ellon.The trackbed sems to have sunk a fair bit.
Right: Just before the new main road the railway was on an embankment. The two trees are standing in the 'four-foot'

 
Beyond the demolished bridge the railway crossed the main road. I waited for a vehicle to pass at the point where the bridge would have been. This helps to imagine how the line crossed at this spot,
from the embankment on the right and going off following the treeline then curving to the left towards Ellon. This view is taken from the new road just beyond the junction with the Achmacoy road.
After crossing  the new  road the trackbed curves on it's way towards Ellon, passing under road bridges on the Crawhead and Balmacassie.    
Right: This was the final photo from my Sept. 2007 walks
over the line.  However, I have now completed  these walks after three vists in September 2008. Many photographs have been added and three new sections created, which have all be linked on the
Index page.  This walk  continues on the "Achmacoy to Ellon" link.

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AUCHMACOY TO ELLON

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