Walking in Aberdeen City and Shire

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  • View up to Craigievar Castle in the autumn with leaves lying on the ground
    Craigievar Castle
  • Visitor walks through the walled garden at Crathes Castle
    Crathes Castle
  • The Punch Bowl and the Linn of Quoich, Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire
    The Punch Bowl and the Linn of Quoich, Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire
  • Walking on the footpath to the summit of Mither Tap o' Bennachie, 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.

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.

Find out more about walking routes, printable maps and GPS waypoints in Aberdeen City and Shire.

Easy walks

  • 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.

Moderate walks

  • 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.

Strenuous walks

  • 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.

Castle walks

  • 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.
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