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Five great dog walking spots in the north-east

A cocker spaniel enjoying a walk over the beach. Picture by Susan Smith
A cocker spaniel enjoying a walk over the beach. Picture by Susan Smith

From miles of long sandy beaches to wonderful forests and picturesque lochs, there is a huge variety of dog walks in Aberdeenshire.

If you’re stuck in a rut and looking for new dog-friendly locations, we’ve picked five great spots to visit with your canine companion this year.

St Combs to Rattray Head

Rattray Head Lighthouse
Rattray Head Lighthouse. Picture by Joyce Gall

St Combs is a beautiful, remote beach just down the coast from Fraserburgh.

The sandy beach and impressive dunes can be seen stretching away into the distance all the way to the lighthouse at Rattray Head.

The lighthouse itself is a six-mile walk away and can be reached by simply following the beach around the coast.

Just inland from Rattray Head is the Loch of Strathbeg Nature Reserve, the largest dune loch in Britain. Up to a fifth of the worlds pink footed geese use the loch as a wintering spot.

Forvie National Nature Reserve

Forvie National Nature Reserve is a great place for a dog walk in Aberdeenshire
Grey Seals on the beach at Forvie National Nature Reserve.  Picture by Paul Glendell

You can walk for miles along the Sands of Forvie beach.

The north bank of the River Ythan’s mouth is home to a protected colony of seals.

It is illegal to disturb the seals, so park at the Ythan Estuary beach public car park, which you can get to by turning down Beach Road next to the Newburgh Inn.

It is important to keep your dog under control if any seals happen to get close to you.

But once you travel further south, there are a lot fewer seals than there are at the haul-out.

There is a lot of wildlife to appreciate at Forvie as it is home to a colony of eiders and four species of terns.

Tarnash Falls and Dunnyduff Woods

Falls Of Tarnash near Keith in Scotland.
Falls Of Tarnash near Keith in Scotland.

If you and your pooch prefer a woodland walk, this is the one for you.

It covers three and a half miles and is suitable for walkers of all levels.

You can park your car in the Reidhaven Square car park in the centre of Keith, then head south out of the town and towards Dunnyduff Woods.

Once you reach the woods, follow the forest path and you will reach the stunning waterfall, Tarnash Falls.

If your dog is a keen swimmer this is great spot for them to cool off.

On the walk back to your car, you can play fetch around the woods to dry off your pet.

Post walk, you could even check out a local whisky distillery for some fine Scotch – there are a few nearby.

Loch Kinord and Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve

Loch Kinord in Aberdeenshire
Loch Kinord on a misty morning. Picture by John Burrows

Lying within the Cairngorms National Park, the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve contains a handful of forest lochs which are a perfect dog-friendly location for a walk.

Loch Kinord is the largest body of water on the reserve, and features an ancient Pictish stone.

The four-mile stroll around the edges of the loch will provide you and your pooch with plenty of different environments to enjoy.

Your dog will find plenty of places to sniff around its lovely woodlands, and there are a few wide open spaces to run around in.

You can park at the nature reserve’s car park to start the Loch Kinord circular to the east, or follow the signs west to get to the Burn O’Vat.

The Burn O’ Vat was carved out by glaciers during the last ice age, and is home to a spectacular waterfall.

St Cyrus Beach and Nature Reserve

St Cyrus is a great place to walk your dog.
St Cyrus Beach is at its best on a sunny day.

St Cyrus beach is known for its diverse wildlife. Everything from falcons, buzzards and lizards can be found here.

You can park your car at the visitor centre and walk through the reserve to the beach.

The beach itself is three miles long, made up of flat golden sands.

Your dog can go for a splash in the water on a hot summer day to cool down.

At the end of the beach is the Nether Kirkyard which dates back to the 13th Century.

The beach is also a good location for dolphin, whale and seal sightings.

At certain times of the year, nesting birds may mean your dog needs to be kept on a lead for part of the walk.

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