Aberdeenshire offers so many different beguiling landscapes, from the mountains to the sea, all packed with history and spectacular scenery. Now that it’s possible to go further than five miles for leisure and exercise, travel blogger Anastasia Fountouli picks her favourite walks…


Loch Muick Circuit, Ballater

Queen Victoria spent many happy days here with her husband Prince Albert basking in the tranquility of the surrounding area. She loved this place so much that after Albert died, she built the beautiful Glas-allt-Shiel lodge as a sanctuary where she could mourn away from the public eye.

The trail stretches for 7.75 miles and it takes about 3 hours to finish, so make sure you have plenty of water and a light lunch packed with you.

Clachnaben, Glen Dye

Clachnaben is a gradual hike with ancient ruins along the way and the views at the summit are breathtaking! There is also landscape diversity, from ferns and bushes at the start, to tall trees in the middle of the route and then back to bushes at the rocky top. Once you get on top of the Clachnaben, it might get a bit windy so make sure you are well equipped with a wind breaking jacket and a thermos filled with tea.

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar castle is possibly the most enchanting of all Scottish coastal fortresses, perched on its sea cliff. Follow the route from the picturesque harbor to the dramatic War Memorial, and on to Dunnotter itself. The walk is pretty spectacular as the pathway takes you through poppy fields along a coastal road with dramatic sea views. Worth every minute of the climb!

Bennachie

Bennachie is one of northeast Scotland’s most recognisable landmarks thanks to a very distinctive shape. People have lived here for thousands of years in a fort carved into the hilltop and on its rocky slopes, ruins of their existence and activity can be found scattered along the area, making it an even more attractive place to explore! There are 3 walking trails to follow here – the gentle forested Discovery Trail, the moderate slopes of the Colony Trail and the ruins of the ruined houses of the colonists and, Mither Tap itself, which rewards hikers with magnificent views and impressive Pictish fort on the top.

Haddo House

The elegant Haddo House always reminds me of the Palace of Versailles. The coffee shop in the grounds has moreish hot chocolate and scones and there is loads of land for dogs to run around on the estate. Walk up until the hill, past the golden gates and cross the footbridge. Follow the path at the north end of the main lake and you will meet the most beautiful views of the calm waters. There are two large Wellongtonia trees in the garden were planted by Queen Victoria whose stay at Haddo persuaded her to purchase Balmoral as her summer home.

Most of these walks should now be accessible, but do check that access is permitted before you head out.

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