Stand tall at Scolty
Just five minutes from bustling Banchory lies Scolty Hill, flanked with quiet woodlands and topped by the iconic Scolty Tower. Forest trails wander through tall larch and pine trees and are perfect for families and visitors. You can climb the hill for panoramic views over Royal Deeside and the Grampian Mountains and – if you still have energy – tackle the Tower's dizzying staircase for an even better lookout.
Download our guide to all our forests in Aberdeenshire to explore Scolty and the surrounding forests.
The closest public toilets (not 24 hours) are in Banchory at the Bellfield car park. Banchory also has a wide range of good cafes and restaurants, and the nearest cycle repair shop.
Please note, parking charges are as follows:
- £1 for up to 1 hour
- £1.50 for up to 3 hours
- £2 for all day
- £8 for minibus and coach all day
Route to Scolty Hill Trail
The quickest way to access the paths that lead up onto Scolty Hill and its fine 19th century viewing tower.
Wide, firm but uneven gravel track. Fairly steep slope. One wide gate. Paths become rougher, narrower and steeper beyond the forest boundary.
¾ miles / 1.3 km Allow ½ hour
The path is waymarked as far as the forest boundary. From there a number of paths lead up to the summit and the grand views from Scolty Tower.
The Banchory Paths Association maintains this hill path.
Discover the mossy walls of old farms and a fine viewpoint on this shorter loop through the spruce and larch forest.
Wide, firm but uneven gravel surface throughout. Long moderate slopes with some steeper sections. Includes two wide gates. Some parts may be slightly muddy.
1 ½ miles / 2.6 km Allow 1 hour
The trail is named after Craigloch croft, an old farming homestead whose walls have been recently repaired by local folk. You can find their work hidden amongst the tall larches. The people who once lived here knew spring had arrived when they heard the first cuckoo – these solitary birds fly to Scolty from Africa and Asia and, in springtime, the forest is full of their calls.
A longer circuit through the tranquil forest, with the chance to see woodpeckers, roe deer and red squirrels.
Uneven gravel and earth surface with exposed tree roots. Some rocky and slightly muddy parts. Long moderate slopes with short steeper sections. Includes one narrow kissing gate.
2 ½ miles / 4.0 km Allow 1½ hours
This interesting route takes in many of the attractions of this much-loved forest, including old farm walls and field boundaries. Native and conifer trees support a wide range of wildlife all year round: listen out for the hammering of brightly-coloured woodpeckers on dead tree trunks and the scampering of red squirrels in the undergrowth.
Mountain biking trails
On yer bike
Cyclists and horse riders are welcome to use the Deeside way, a long distance path from Aberdeen to Ballater, which runs through Scolty. The route is a great way to explore the area and see sights you wouldn't from the car!
How to get here
Scolty is a five minute drive or a 30 minute walk from the Aberdeenshire town of Banchory, on the opposite (southern) side of the River Dee.
To get to Scolty by car or by foot, start at the traffic lights in Banchory town centre. Take the B974 south (Dee Street) and cross the bridge over the River Dee. Take the first public road right (a switchback turn) and then the next public road to the left.
Near the top of the hill, turn right along a track. You'll see the Scolty welcome sign. Take the next track to the right.
AB31 6PT is the nearest postcode for Scolty.
The car park is at grid reference NO 691 950.
Buses run regularly from Aberdeen to Banchory with a journey time of an hour. Get off in Banchory town centre and (staying on the main road until the traffic lights) walk the 1½ miles (2.5 km) to Scolty following the directions above. It should take you about half an hour. You’ll find service details at Traveline Scotland.
Share your experience
For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.