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The best hikes across Aberdeenshire, for avid Munro-baggers or keen beginners

The view up Bennachie. Photograph courtesy of the Bailies of Bennachie conservation group
The view up Bennachie. Photograph courtesy of the Bailies of Bennachie conservation group

There are more than 30 Munros and Corbetts to bag in Aberdeenshire alone.

So whether people are taking on the challenge of their first big climb or are ardently working their way through Scotland’s 282 Munros, there is plenty variety to be found in the north-east – along with no shortage of striking landscapes to admire on the way.

As part of VisitAberdeenshire’s Rediscover Your Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire campaign, we have rounded up a selection of hills to suit varying abilities, as well as nearby food and drink suggestions. But be sure to check for the opening hours of the business ahead of your visit.

The campaign – involving The Press and Journal, Evening Express, Society and Original 106 – also has its own dedicated section on the VisitAberdeenshire website, where people can explore blogs with ideas for things to do, Munro-bagging included.

Walkers from far and wide travel to the north-east, eager to tick off some of the highest mountains in the UK such as Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine.

Lochnagar- also known as Beinn Chiochan in Gaelic – is particularly impressive too.

It is found on the Balmoral Estate and stands as one of the most popular Munros in Scotland with walkers, climbers and mountaineers.

Food and drink suggestions in the local area include the Douneside House, Tarland, The Commercial Hotel, The Square, Tarland, and The Fife Arms, Mar Road, Braemar.

For those after a challenge, the Lairig Ghru is Scotland’s most famous mountain pass, covering 19 miles from Braemar to Aviemore. But hiking the Lairig Ghru is no easy feat, taking roughly eight to 10 hours to complete the trail through wild terrain.

Creag Choinnich is also close by, which is home to the oldest recorded hill race dating back to 1064. This is still an annual tradition, which Queen Victoria attended in 1850 as part of the Braemar Highland Games.

Red squirrels, small woodland birds and buzzards are seen year round on the 3.8km trail. Wild flowers can also be spotted along with minibeasts, pine martens, bees, dragonflies and damselflies, red deer, other birds of prey and creatures of the night.

People who fancy venturing further afield for a delicious meal could pay a visit to The Lodge on the Loch, at Aboyne Loch Golf Centre, Woodend Barn, Burn O’Bennie Road, Banchory, or the Finzean Estate Tearoom, Balnaboth Steading, Finzean.

Meanwhile, Bennachie takes walkers from ancient forest through heathery inclines and exposed rock before they reach the highest point of Oxen Craig.

After working up an appetite, visitors could head to Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel, at the Chapel of Garioch, or Meldrum House, Oldmeldrum.

For more information on the Munros and hills listed, visit yourabdn.com

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