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12 new year walks across the north and north-east to blow the cobwebs away

Explore the history of Scotland as you bring in the new year. Image: Darrell Benns / DC Thomson
Explore the history of Scotland as you bring in the new year. Image: Darrell Benns / DC Thomson

The north and north-east are home to some of the most stunning scenery the country has to offer, so while you’re searching for a spot to stretch your legs, consider these dream destinations.

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire walks

Aberdeen Beach

Breathe in the fresh sea air along the boulevard. Credit: Scott Baxter.

While some will already have dipped their toes into the icy waters over the festive period, New Year’s Day calls for a much more relaxed (and drier) venture along the boulevard.

Let the fresh sea air cleanse your mind for the year ahead, and take in the sight of the seafront as you embark on a leisurely stroll beyond the city centre.

And why not treat yourself to a bite at one of the varied Esplanade eateries on your travels – but check ahead for festive opening times.

Fyvie Castle

A woodland wonderland. Credit: Alan Findlay.

Located in the heart of Aberdeenshire, Fyvie Castle offers a stunning landscape to wander around until the sun sets.

Follow the woodland to explore the history of the castle grounds themselves, and you may be lucky enough to bump into some wildlife.

Stonehaven War Memorial

Reminisce and reflect on the days gone by at the Stonehaven War Memorial. Credit: John Chapman.

Follow this relatively short pathway for a picturesque view of the Great Bay Loop unlike any other.

The area boasts an impressive, and poignant, war memorial to pay your respects to the lives lost – particularly in the Great War – across the country.

Newburgh Seal Beach

This beach gets our ‘seal’ of approval. Credit: Colin Rennie.

A huge bonus to visiting Newburgh Beach is without a doubt the frequent seal sightings – and the incredible dune system. Although, beach-goers shouldn’t be too disheartened if they don’t make an appearance, because the destination itself is lovely.

Newburgh Beach is a fantastic spot to return to with the family, and it never gets old catching the herd in their element.

Haddo House

Spot the red squirrel on your travels. Credit: National Trust for Scotland.

Following a successful month of festivities, wind down with a visit to Haddo House and explore the parklands in post-Christmas bliss.

Guests should be sure to watch out for the red squirrel dashing around the gardens, who are known to be very active during the winter.

Dunnottar Castle

A fortress of history. Credit: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

Sat atop a 160 foot rock, Dunnottar Castle has been cited as a medieval fortress.

The view across the North Sea is extraordinary, and highly atmospheric across the board.

Visitors will feel like they’ve stepped directly into a scene from a history book as they explore secrets of Scotland’s past.

Moray walks


Take a trip down to the seaside. Credit: Shutterstock.

The old fishing village is often a hotspot for visitors after a trip to the seaside.

It might be a tad cold for a winter dip, but there are a handful of activities and local landmarks, including the Findhorn Foundation, to keep the day running smoothly (check opening hours before visiting).

Cullen to Findochty

Explore the north-east’s finest through Cullen. Credit: Jason Hedges.

This is a fairly easy (and flat) route to follow, especially for those who aren’t looking for anything too adventurous.

Travel through some of the north-east’s finest fishing villages, sandy beaches, and observe a number of interesting rock formations.

Visitors can extend their journey to Portsoy before arriving at Findlater Castle, which projects out into the sea.

Highlands and Islands walks

Fairy Pools & Coire na Creiche, Isle of Skye

A dreamscape destination. Credit: Shutterstock.

Skye’s fairy pools are near enough worldwide famous, bringing in tourists from around the globe to indulge in their magic.

The crystal clear water is beautiful. A true dreamscape destination; it may not be an understatement to assume many people will be in awe of each pool as well as the waterfalls.

Sinclair’s Bay/Reiss Beach, Caithness

White sandy beaches, 16th Century castles, it’s a fantasy come true. Credit: Shutterstock.

This white-sanded paradise is something straight out of a holiday catalogue, situated between 16th century Castles and surrounded by gloriously high cliffs and sand dunes.

With the south side of the beach sheltered from the wind, Sinclair’s Bay is a prime location for relaxation, and a popular spot for surfers to catch a wave.

There is also the opportunity to come across a range of wildlife and marine life, including seals.

Loch Morlich

Loch Morlich
Embrace the stunning scenery and snowy mountains. Credit: Sandy McCook.

Despite its popularity throughout the warmer months, the gorgeous snowy mountain peaks of the northern Cairngorms are an aesthetic wonderland.

Frankly, no photograph can bring the scenery the justice it deserves.

It’s essential to experience the landscape first hand, with the mountains reflecting in the water, and woodland trail awaiting a fresh set of eyes.

Ness Islands Walk

Move over, Nessie. There’s a new sight to behold. Credit: Sandy McCook.

Walk along the banks of the River Ness, crossing bridge after bridge, and winding around paths for magnificent views of renowned Inverness buildings and horticulture.

Head up one side of the bank, returning down the other to see a completely different side to the landmarks, and look out for Inverness Cathedral as well as the Inverness War Memorial to stop by.