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The Punch Bowl and the Linn of Quoich, Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire
A walker assesses the challenge ahead to the summit of Mither Tap o' Bennachie
From magnificent mountains in the Cairngorm National Park to beautiful beaches and coastlines, Aberdeen City and Shire is a vast area just waiting to be discovered. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the stunning region on foot, from its jaw-dropping scenery, wonderful wildlife and fascinating history.
Wander through luscious woodland, stroll tranquil beaches or even follow Scotland’s only castle trail around the region’s most striking castles.
Explore Aberdeen City and Shire on foot
Boasting an extensive coastline, meandering rivers, rolling countryside and a number of historic castles Aberdeen City and Shire has innumerable opportunities to explore the region by foot.
With one of our selected routes you’ll experience the beauty of the region with your own eyes. Below is just a small selection of the many trails you can follow.
Elrick Hill Distance: 4.25km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours This excellent short and relatively flat walk combines a forest trail, decorated by modern art installations along the way, with a visit to the more open and natural landscape of Elrick Hill.
Old Aberdeen and Beach Circuit Distance: 8km; duration: 3 hours Following a fabulous surfaced path, this walk takes in picturesque riverside and woodlands combined with an exploration of the cobbled streets and ancient buildings, university and cathedral of Old Aberdeen.
Portsoy and Sandend circular Distance: 9km; duration: 2.5 - 3.5 hours This lovely stretch of coastline joins the fascinating Portsoy, with its heritage harbour and buildings to the small village and beach at Sandend. The return is on a minor road through farmland with sea views.
Johnshaven to Inverbervie Distance: 7.5km; duration: 2 hours This easy-going linear coastal walk traces the coastline south from Innerbervie, passing Gourdon harbour and continuing on to Johnshaven. The return can be made by bus, as a stop can be found at the end of the route.
Haddo House Circuit Distance: 3.5km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours Explore the parkland of Haddo House. Following clear waymarked paths you’ll take in lakes, magnificent trees and rhododendrons, bird hides, a children's play area and the chance to visit the House, shop and tearoom.
Morrone Ascent Distance: 12km; duration: 4 - 5 hours Morrone is a Corbett that sits above Braemar and makes a lovely hill circuit on a fine day. With a steep ascent, walkers are rewarded with stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding Cairngorm peaks and over Braemar itself, this walk with a pretty riverside return route makes a great half day excursion.
Tap O’Noth Distance: 5km; duration: 2 - 2.5 hours Climb the steady ascent up to the prominent peak of the Tap o' Noth, site of the second highest hillfort in Scotland. The remains are impressive, and the views over rural Aberdeenshire are superb.
Forvie Sands Distance: 8.5km; duration: 2 - 3 hours This excellent walk explores part of the Forvie Sands National Nature Reserve, a vast area of dunes and coastal heathland. Along the way there is some fine coastal scenery, a beautiful sandy bay and the site of a village destroyed by the drifting sands.
Mither Tap Distance: 6km; duration: 1.5 - 3 hours Climb to the finest peak on Bennachie, the impressive Mither Tap, with its rocky granite summit surrounded by the remains of a historic hill fort. Return across moorland and through mixed woodland, leaving time to visit the Bennachie Visitor Centre where this route starts.
St Cyrus Distance: 5km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours Head out along the fine sands of St Cyrus beach before climbing the cliffs for spectacular views of the Aberdeenshire coastline and then return below the cliffs passing old salmon bothies in the nature reserve renowned for its grasslands, rare flowers and butterflies and moths. The walk can also be started from St Cyrus village.
Mount Battock via Clachnaben Distance: 25km; duration: 6 - 8 hours Mount Battock is the highest point on a vast expanse of rolling, peaty moorland and is the most easterly of the Corbetts. Usually approached via Glen Esk, this longer route from the east visits the great granite tor of Clachnaben along the way.
Mortlich Circuit Distance: 10.25km; distance: 3 - 3.5 hours Head past the picturesque Loch of Aboyne following a lochside path and through the woods beyond to climb the steep hill of Mortlich for great views over Deeside.
The Formartine and Buchan Way (walk all or part of this Scotland’s Great Trail) Stretching nearly 40 miles, from Fraserburgh to Dyce, the Formartine and Buchan way can be tackled as a single entity or in parts over eight easy to follow routes. There is a variety of accommodation found along the way for those willing to take the challenge of the full route.
Cac Carn Beag (Lochnagar) Distance: 28km; duration: 8.5 hours Lochnagar is a Munro with a deep corrie and steep cliffs, yet this is an easy route on paths. This long walk takes in another two peaks on an undulating moorland plateau.
Correen Hills circuit, near Alford Duration: 15km; duration: 4 - 4.5 hours The Correen Hills are an area of rolling, open heather moorland, rising to 518m at the gentle dome of Lord Arthur's Seat. They give a very pleasant circular walk from near the tiny hamlet of Tullynessle.
Dunnottar Woods and Castle Distance: 7km; duration: 3 hours This relaxing walk in Stonehaven takes in a range of interesting sights and picturesque scenery. Beginning in the town’s Market Square, you’ll soon come across the magnificent castle, jutting out on the cliff top. Follow the path through pleasant woodland littered with interesting follies built by the owners of the now-demolished Dunnottar House.
The Bullers of Buchan from Cruden Bay Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1.5 - 2 hours This dramatic coastal walk passes the impressive ruins of Slains Castle, the inspiration for Dracula, and reaching the Bullers of Buchan, a massive blow hole with several natural arches. Those looking for a much longer walk can continue on the coast path to Boddam, or walk back the same way.
Crathes Castle Distance: 6.75km; duration: 2 - 2.5 hours This is the longest of three waymarked woodland walks in the parkland of Crathes Castle, taking in a variety of woodland as well as countryside views and passing the castle and famous gardens.
Castle Fraser Woodlands The grounds of this stunning fairytale castle have to waymarked paths leading to magnificent views of the local hills. The Miss Bristow’s trail follows forest paths past an old estate stonework including the Moses Well and a hydraulic ram. The Alton Brae trail includes steeper sections along another forest trail leading to the flight pond, home to amazing wildlife.
Craigievar Castle Craigievar Castle, another castle which wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale, has some beautiful walks around it’s grounds. The first trail is an easy walk through open woodland, marsh and farmland with beautiful views of the castle and surrounding hills. The second trail, can be much rougher but again offers wonderful scenery of the surrounding area.