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Tourism Scotland - Walking in Scotland
Grampian Highlands, Aberdeen and the North-East Coast

Cliffs of Crovie in Banffshire

Scotland's north-east corner offers a tremendous variety of scenery to tempt walkers, from the magnificent high tops of the Cairngorms to wild and rugged glens, long river valleys and a superb and generally under-explored coastline.

Cairngorms and the West
The western boundary of the area is formed by two great salmon rivers, the Findhorn and the Spey, rising in the high moorland of the Monadliath Mountains to run down to the North Sea at the Moray Firth. On their way each, especially the Spey, passes through an attractive mix of hill, forest and valley scenery, and the Speyside Way long-distance path follows its river from the mouth of Tugnet as far up as Ballindalloch before turning inland to Tomintoul.

On its way it crosses Glenlivet, where the Crown Estate has laid out a whole series of walks. All the walks are waymarked and many are suitable for children. Tomintoul, the highest village in Highland Scotland, is at the eastern edge of the Cairngorms, and from here Glen Avon rises amid superlative scenery to Loch Avon under the imposing cliffs of Ben Macdui.

Royal Deeside
Another great salmon river, the Dee, also rises in the Cairngorms, passing through Braemar and running down Royal Deeside to Aberdeen. Around it is great walking country, with summits such as Lochnagar tempting the hillwalker and much of interest on the lower ground, which is well-wooded. Parts of the former railway line from Ballater to Aberdeen have been turned into a walkway.

The North East
Further north and east, the hills are lower but still offer grand walking. Bennachie is very much a local favourite, and has an excellent visitor centre at its foot. A whole series of walks has been developed around the attractive market town of Huntly.

The Grampian region has a truly superb coastline, with many beautiful villages, coves, castles and cliffs. There is good coastal walking from Findhorn and Burghead along through Cullen, Findlater Castle, Portsoy and Pennan. The coast turns at the major fishing port of Fraserburgh and runs south through Peterhead and past the cliffs known as the Bullers of Buchan, renowned for birdlife and Slains Castle, said to have inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, to Cruden Bay.

Much of the east coast is sandy, and from the bird reserve at the Sands of Forvie on the estuary of the River Ythan, through Newburgh and down to Aberdeen, is a glorious sweep of beach and fine coastal walking to go with it. It might seem a long way from here to the summit of Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms, Britain's second highest mountain, but it is all part of the same, beautiful area.

The Highest Town in the Highlands and the Healthiest (pdf)

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