There are numerous fine forests in Royal Deeside. In many of them the Forestry Commission or the operators have laid out attractive walks. Here there is the opportunity to see wildlife and wonderful views while experiencing a great sense of freedom. But these forests also have a commercial purpose and at the beginning of World War II the forests became vital for Britain was suffering an acute shortage of timber.
A major problem was that the men needed to fell the timber were also required for the armed services. This problem was solved by the recruitment of lumberjacks from Newfoundland. The walk described below recalls this event.
Immediately outside Ballater, on the south side of the River Dee is the Pannanich Wood operated by the Forestry Commission. The wood is now reaching maturity, having been replanted at the end of the Second World War. Replanting was needed for the forest that had stood on that site had been felled to meet the war needs. Now the Forestry Commission and the Cairngorms National Park have created a circular walk from the centre of Ballater to Dalmochie, the site of logging camp used by the Newfoundland lumberjacks who felled the forest.
This delightful short walk of just over a mile (2km) appropriately starts at the old Royal Station in Ballater. This building is not only famous because it was much used by Royalty but it was central to the growth of Ballater. In peace time it was much used by visitors and residents. In war time it was used by the army and, of course, the lumberjacks. The walk then leads down Bridge Street, the main road through Ballater, and crosses the Royal Bridge over the delightful River Dee. The Dee is one of the great salmon rivers of Scotland and in wet weather it is very fast flowing. This made it very suitable for floating logs down river towards its mouth at Aberdeen.
The walk then enters Pannanich Wood. This attractive wood is home to a variety of wildlife – not least the delightful red squirrel. A little further on is the remains of the loggers’ camp. There are plans to restore two cabins to the way they looked in 1940. This effort is being led by the Ballater Historic Forestry Project Association.
For those with a little
more energy there is a second part to the trail which takes walkers to
the top of Craigendarroch
– the hill of oaks. This is another wood of historic importance
and today offers a peaceful walk with magnificent views across the Dee
towards Lochnagar, one of Scotland’s great mountains.
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|Introduction||Cairngorms National Park||Glenshee Ski Centre||Golf in Royal Deeside||Ballater Boules|
|Walking in Royal Deeside||History with Boots On||Walking near Ballater||Dalmochie Lumberjack's Trail||Indoor Bowling|
|Munros near Braemar||Aboyne Rugby||Photography in Royal Deeside|
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