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Aberdeen and the Great Outdoors
Sporty Activities from Golf to Hiking
Home to dramatic mountains, deserted stretches of white sandy beach and wide open spaces, Scotland is a great place for sporting enthusiasts.
In the northeast of the country, the city of Aberdeen lies sandwiched between the North Sea and the Grampian Mountains. And it's this fantastic location that gives it such a wide range of activities - from skiing to windsurfing - right on its doorstep.
Moreover, it's well-equipped for those backpackers keen to take advantage of the great sports available, with Aberdeen hostels providing affordable accommodation and a base for experiencing the city and surrounding areas.
Although golf is popular throughout Scotland (there are some 500 courses in total), Aberdeen (and Aberdeenshire) is at the very heart of the game.
The Royal Aberdeen course was opened in 1790 and is the sixth oldest in the world. And while a round here can be pricey, there are other courses near the city. Golfing fans may deem it worth the cash, though, for as well as its history, the Royal Aberdeen has a stunning setting, nestled between the sea and the mountains.
Northeast Scotland is perfect hiking country, with a wide range of trails around Aberdeen from long distance and cross-country routes to coastal and cliff-top walks, all accessible from the city.
There are also many rights of way across the mountain ridges and moorlands in the area and, thanks to its enduring popularity with backpackers and hikers, the walkways are typically well signposted and neatly kept, despite their sometimes remote setting.
The surrounding open spaces and farming country is also great for pony trekking, and Aberdeen accordingly has a good number of BHS-approved stables and centers for riding enthusiasts.
Appropriately nicknamed 'the Silver City with the Golden Sands' for the proximity of its coastline and granite buildings, the beaches at Aberdeen are as great for water sports as they are beautiful.
This stretch of the North Sea offers ample opportunity for sailing and windsurfing and a number of centers and schools have grown up along the coast, helping Aberdeen gain a bit of a reputation when it comes to water sports.
What really makes Aberdeen's sports scene almost unique in the British Isles, however, is the range of activities - one day you could be windsurfing, the next snowboarding!
Home to two out of Scotland's five skiing areas, instruction, equipment hire and refreshment are all available here, and both beginners and advanced skiers will find routes to suit their skills throughout the winter season.