Organisers today announced they will launch a series of free walks this summer, based around a ring of 67 granite stones making up the city boundaries measuring 26 miles in total, after receiving funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This year Scotland celebrates the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, highlighting local history and celebrating our rich heritage. Sport Aberdeen has been awarded a £10,000 grant through the Heritage Lottery Fund to support local events encouraging people to explore the Granite City.

Organisers are hoping it will capture popular imagination, similar to the Pokémon craze, and are spurring on those who take up the challenge to photograph each stone and share their triumph.

In a bid to celebrate the history of the city Sport Aberdeen is encouraging a little healthy competition and asking people to capture and share their walk-through history using the hashtag #marchstones and the number of the stone followed by ABD (ie #3ABD).

Known as the “March Stones”, the walk will follow the stones which mark the original city boundaries, gifted by the King of Scots. The name derives from the 16th century meaning of march as a boundary. 

Two of the stones are about 30 metres apart providing the inspiration for the name of the bar which sat between them, ‘The Short Mile’, on Great Western Road.

The free organised walks will be a series of short, 2 – 3 mile walks stopping near local facilities and public transport where possible and will enable people of all abilities to participate in the walks.

Commenting, Sport Aberdeen Director for Sport and Active Lifestyles Jo Bell said:

“We are thrilled to revive this unusual and little-known walking route. It is my hope that this will encourage families and walkers of all ages to get out and discover these hidden gems.

“The launch of the organised free walks is as much about getting active as it is about socialising and having fun whilst doing so. The exciting route will offer local residents a chance to explore a secret of the city, covering 26 miles if all stones are “captured” in one day.

“Securing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund means we can now show off the Granite City’s rich history whilst encouraging people to get out and get active. This is an important part of our commitment to creating opportunities, inspiring people and changing lives through sport and physical activity.

Commenting, Sport Aberdeen Walk Leader Brian Harrison said:

“The walking groups are always very sociable. With the added help of the Heritage Lottery funding we can now expand and explore Aberdeen’s rich heritage.

“It is my hope that this will spur on even more people to take up walking during the summer months and discover some local history at the same time.

“Walk Aberdeen free walks are a brilliant example of how we aim to break down barriers for people within the community such as cost, and allow them to participate in physical activity.

Dr Chris Croly, Public Engagement with Research Officer at the University of Aberdeen said:

“The March Stones are a really integral part of Aberdeen’s history. From royal hunting forests to Seaton Pottery, a walk around the stones will help people discover all about the people and places that have made Aberdeen what it is today.

“A walking app, being developed by colleagues at the University, will help people of all ages and abilities to put their best foot forward and engage with the project, discovering these hidden gems whilst getting active.”