Outdoor activities in Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in the whole of Scotland, from a coastline teeming with unique wildlife, to sites of historical importance.
The North-East of Scotland is perhaps best known for producing fantastic whisky, and hosting some of the world’s finest golf courses. However, it also plays host to some of the finest outdoor activities in the land, especially during the long summer months, when there is as much as 18 hours of daylight.
Taking the Caledonian Sleeper into Aberdeen or Stonehaven opens up a world of possibilities in this beautiful part of the country.
There are few more quintessentially Scottish events than the Highland Games, and the Braemar Gathering is one of the most impressive.
Held on the first Saturday of September, this celebration of traditional Scottish culture is a favourite amongst the Royal Family, and boasts a tradition that has been upheld for almost 900 years. The event provides all of the competitions you would expect from the Highland Games, including caber tossing, piping and dancing. There are few more well regarded games in the whole of the world.
Portsoy, a charming port village in Aberdeenshire, plays host to its own boat festival in June, attracting up to 16,000 visitors. A day trip from either our Aberdeen or Inverness stops, the village is picturesque in the summer, and offers incredible views out over the North Sea.
While the main focus of the festival is on maritime history and activities, there’s a plethora of events, arts, crafts and music, as well as ample opportunity to enjoy local produce. It is also one of the most family-friendly events in the North-East, hosting face-painting, soft play areas and storytelling events for children of all ages.
The main event of the festival is the skiff race, bringing together old and new build boats, many of which have been constructed or restored locally.
Adults and kids are encouraged to Go Ape at Crathes Castle. Located in the picturesque town of Banchory the activity centre offers a host of activities, from forest segways and zip-lines, to tree-top adventures.
Situated just three miles from Stonehaven, the RSPB nature reserve at Fowlsheugh is a birdwatcher’s paradise. With over 130,000 breeding seabirds on the local cliffs, visitors can take in nesting guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.
There are plenty of opportunities to see some of the North Sea’s most unique inhabitants, as puffins, fulmars, dolphins, grey seals and minke whales are visible during the spring and summer months.
For the more adventurous visitors, nearby Stonehaven offers one of Scotland’s only heated open-air swimming pools. Open from late May, the Olympic-sized pool features heated sea water, and hosts midnight swimming sessions for those who want to take a dip beneath the stars.
All of the delights of the North-East of Scotland are available in the blink of an eye, with the Caledonian Sleeper.