Loch Muick and the Balmoral Estate are fantastic spots for a run in the Ballater area, a 90-minute drive from Aberdeen. Balmoral Castle is the summer home of the royal family, and its grounds are both gorgeous and permissible for running. The Ballater area itself is popular for its walking and hiking trails, and as a gateway to Lochnagar.
Loch Muick Loop: 7.2 mile (11.5 km), 643mn gain. A gorgeous loop around the lake, with views of the water and surrounding hills. Path is fairly level and easy footing. Includes the impressive Glas-allt Shiel house built by Queen Victoria. Start at the Spittal of Glen Muick Car Park.
Balmoral Estate. Many running options here, from beautifully landscaped gardens to more rugged, wooded paths. Best to pick up a map when visiting. Popular ‘walks’ that are also good for a run include Albert’s Pyramid, and the Cairns of Balmoral (which commemorate members of the British royal family and events in their lives). Note: there might be some restrictions when the royal family is in residence. MAP OF GROUNDS
Ballochbuie Forest. Wonderful wooded area for running. Part of the Balmoral Estate, located 5 miles southwest of Balmoral Castle. Terrific trails for running, featuring one of the most significant remnants of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest.
Deeside Way. The Ballater end of the Deeside Way, which runs all the way from Aberdeen.