We’ve all done it. Despite setting out with good intentions, the chances are you have over-indulged over Christmas and eaten your body weight in mince pies. If you want to start the new year on a healthier note, going for a run is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to ease yourself into exercise. Scotland has an array of beautiful routes for jogging, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced pro.

1. The Clyde Bridges, Glasgow

Starting at the Millennium Bridge beside the science centre, finishing on King George V Bridge (or further).

The River Clyde has been at the heart of Glasgow’s growth into a modern industrial city, and zig-zagging across its many bridges is a great way to get to know the river – and to get fit in the process. If you start at the science centre you can cross the Millennium Bridge, then Bell’s Bridge before continuing on to the Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge), Tradeston Bridge (Squiggly Bridge) and then finishing at the King George V Bridge. The route is almost entirely flat, so is great for beginners, but if the distance proves too much then you can do as few (or as many) of the bridges as you want.

2. Monikie Country Park, Angus

Panmure Road, Monikie, Angus


Originally built to supply the city of Dundee with clean water, the Monikie reservoirs were taken out of active use in 1981 when demand outstripped the supply they could offer. The reservoirs then became recreational rather than practical, and now serve as the centre point of the lush Monikie Country Park. The route around them is popular at the weekends with people walking, cycling or jogging, but most are going at a gentle pace so there is no pressure to over-exert yourself. There is also woodland, parkland and a beautiful bird sanctuary that you can base your run on.

3. Scott’s View, Scottish Borders

St Boswell's, Bemersyde, Scottish Borders

One of the favourite viewpoints of Sir Walter Scott, this spot showcases the best of the Borders countryside, with the River Tweed and Eildon Hills standing in the distance. The path to get there – from Dryburgh Abbey and back again – is challenging but doable, and you can always take a rest at the viewpoint to admire the scenery and recover your breath.

4. Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen

Hazlehead Avenue, Aberdeen


This 180-hectare park has plenty of running route options, with its heavily wooded grounds offering secluded paths where you can jog in relative privacy while enjoying the wildlife. Every Saturday at 9.30am, Hazlehead hosts a 5km Parkrun, where participants run through trail paths against the clock to try and improve their fitness. The path starts beside the old caravan park on Groats Road, leading up towards the golf course, and it’s free to take part.

5. Forth and Clyde Canal

Flowing from the River Carron at Grangemouth to the River Clyde at Bowling, the Forth and Clyde canal was built to connect central Scotland as a route for shipping vessels. After being closed in 1962 it was reopened in 2001, and now provides a peaceful and mainly flat route that is ideal for joggers who are starting out. You can run as much (or as little) of the canal as you want, but some of the designated routes include the Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies, the Roman Route along the Antonine Wall and sections of the John Muir Way.

6. Pollok Country Park, Glasgow

2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow

You don’t often get country parks within a bustling city, but that is exactly what Pollok Park offers: lush vegetation and green space that feels a world away from urban life. The park boasts extensive woodlands and quiet paths for those who want to jog away from the crowds, and it also has a herd of Highland cows to admire if you want to have a rest. Also hosts a Parkrun.

7. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Queens Drive, Edinburgh

One of Edinburgh’s best-known landmarks, the extinct volcano otherwise known as Arthur’s Seat is popular with tourists and locals alike. Less well known is that there is a great running route around the base of it, taking you through picturesque Holyrood Park. Circumnavigating the hill via Queen's Drive provides a route of just over five kilometres (just over 3 miles), but if you are particularly confident you can also run up to the summit itself. It is a lung-busting effort, but it will reward you with excellent views.

8. Speyside Way, Aviemore

The section of the Speyside Way beyond Aviemore is one of the most scenic on our list – it offers views of the Cairngorm National Park and a mixture of woodland, forest and moorland surfaces. It is an enjoyable route to run on your own, but there is also a 5km Parkrun every Saturday that leaves from the Dalfaber Industrial Estate and heads out towards Avielochan.

9. Ayr Beach

South Beach, Ayr, Ayrshire

The cast of Baywatch might have made it look easy, but running on sand is in fact pretty tricky. You will go slightly slower, but it is better for your legs and easier on your joints, and you will also expend more energy and burn extra calories. Ayr beach is a great place to start, with a long sandy expanse that offers impressive views of Ailsa Craig and Arran.

10. Linlithgow Peel

Kirkgate, Linlithgow, West Lothian

One of only two remaining natural lowland lochs in the Lothians, the path around Linlithgow Peel offers the chance to spot rare aquatic plants and a range of birdlife thanks to its protected conservation order. At just over two miles long, the circumference of the loch provides a gentle introduction to running with nice flat terrain.

11. Cathkin Braes, Glasgow

39A Cathkin Road, Glasgow

At 200 metres above sea level, Cathkin Braes is the highest point in Glasgow, and offers panoramic views over the city and beyond. As well as great views it also offers runners a variety of both long and short routes, as part of a path network that is currently in development. The terrain is varied too, with grassland, woodland and heathland and a variety of wildlife to be found.

12. Bishop’s Glen, Dunoon

Dunoon, Argyll and Bute

If you really want to get away from it all during a run, then there are few better options than the still isolation of the Bishop’s Glen reservoir. You can see swans on the water as you make your way round, and then head into the trees and admire the tumbling Balgaigh Burn. There are some steps to navigate and the woodland parts may be muddy, but at roughly two miles it is a great introduction into trail running.

13. Aberdeen Beach Promenade

Aberdeen Esplanade, Aberdeen

A trip to Aberdeen isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, with the city providing a surprisingly rugged coastline despite its built-up centre. If you can withstand the bracing sea air then it also provides a great backdrop for a run, with nearly two and a half miles of path from Footdee (Fitdee) in the south to Bridge of Don in the north. You will see the new spectacular floating windfarm, the world's largest, in the distance.

14. Loch Venachar, Callander

Loch Venachar, Callander, Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Tourists might overlook it in favour of its neighbour Loch Lomond, but Loch Venachar is a hidden gem that offers tranquil surroundings (and great views) for a run. There is a large area of forest and designated walking trails, with a mixture of paths and minor roads offering good views of the water for most of the loch’s circumference.

15. The Water of Leith, Edinburgh

A ‘silver thread in a ribbon of green’, the Water of Leith snakes from the foot of the Pentland Hills down to the docks at Leith. Despite flowing right past the centre of Edinburgh it feels almost rural in places, and offers scenic bridges, trees and beauty spots dotted along the path. You can take up the walkway at any part you please, and go for as far as you feel able – but a particularly nice stretch is the one from Dean Village to Stockbridge.