City Centre Trail Running - River Don
Although we're blessed with some of the most stunning countryside up here in the North East of Scotland and with some of the best trail running the country has to offer, it's not always easy to get to these places. Family commitments, time & travel constraints can sometimes make it easier just to pound out the miles on the pavements.
However, there are a few gems on our doorstep in the city which give you the experience of the trails without having to travel for it. One particular area of the town which is often overlooked by runners is the River Don pathways, from Seaton Park to Persley. The basic loop I've shown is a 7 mile loop, from Seaton Park, crossing the Persley Bridge. There is a shorter 5k loop, which uses the crossing the Grandholm Bridge.
Although it's offroad (well, 99% of it), it's still fine for road shoes. The paths on the south side of the river are hard packed. On the north side, there are some bits which are a bit narrowier and a slightly more gnarly with tree roots, but still would recommend road shoes.
On the south side, leading up to Persley Den, there's quite a bit of iron work in various places. I'm assuming a lot of this comes from the old mills which would have been on the Don. Quite interesting to see and definitely needs a little more digging into to see the history of it all.
Once you reach Persley, there is the walled garden which is quite unexpected and spectacular. Worth a little stop to have a peak inside.
Once you cross over the Persley Bridge, there's a little opening at the entrance of the Bannatyne Gym which you need to take to get onto the riverside path again. Be careful here if it's been wet as it is a little steep and could be slippy.
There's some really nice views of the Don and there's usually some wildlife there to have a look at. Plenty of ducks yesterday, as well as swans and a heron (see picture below). Quite easy to forget that you're in the middle of the city at times.
This has just been a little taster for you. Best to just get out and explore. Have fun!
- Andrew Gordon