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Royal Deeside : Some Visitor Attractions

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Beautiful Royal Deeside is a holiday playground unequalled in Scotland. Comprising fine Grampian mountains, attractive woodlands and delightful rural scenery it is a mecca for the walker, climber or wanderer. Add in the nearby castles and distilleries and you have the ideal place for a holiday break. The majestic River Dee flowing past Braemar Castle, royal Balmoral Castle and Crathes Castle on its way to Aberdeen offers the finest salmon fishing. (The beauty spots of Linn of Dee and the Bridge of Feugh both offer the opportunity to see salmon jumping.) There are numerous excellent golf courses and Braemar Golf Course is the highest 18 hole course in Britain. In the south-west is Glenshee Ski Centre, the home of the largest ski centre in Scotland.

Royal Deeside has numerous castles, most with a wealth of history. Those open to the public are Braemar, Balmoral, Crathes (with its world-famous gardens) and Drum, the latter two being National Trust for Scotland properties. On the edges of Royal Deeside there are several more castles including Corgarff, Craigievar and the ruins of Dunnottar Castle.To these can be added three magnificent buildings, easily visible but not open to the public, Mar Lodge, Invercauld House (sometimes known as the Castle of Invercauld) and Abergeldie Castle. Between them they offer a sample of the best to be found in Scotland.

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Crathes Castle, Banchory, Scotland
Crathes Castle near Banchory - One of three fine castles operated by the National Trust for Scotland

The western half of Royal Deeside lies within the newly-formed Cairngorms National Park with its fine mountains and glens. Mar Lodge Estate, managed for the nation by the National Trust for Scotland, forms the heart of the park (Indeed it could be argued that the centre of Scotland lies within the borders of the estate.)

There are four major nature reserves: ancient Morrone Birkwood, Glen Muick, Glen Tanar and the Muir of Dinnet. Some of the finest vestiges of the ancient Caledonian woodlands are to be found here. And, of course, such nature reserves lead to a wonderful variety of wildlife. It would be quite possible to see red squirrels, herds of Red Deer and a soaring Golden Eagle in the course of one day. Loch Muick, at a height of 1310 feet and covering 960 acres is one of the remote spots in Britain. At the far end at the foot of Lochnagar stands Glasalt Shiel - a hideaway built for Queen Victoria. Politicians in London wishing to speak with the Queen faced a daunting 2-3 day journey - hence she would not be interrupted for unimportant business.

And the towns and villages of Royal Deeside, mostly built from the local granite stone, add their own flavour - from the mountain-surrounded Braemar to the thriving town of Banchory. Ballater, with its fascinating former Royal station, and Aboyne, with its magnificent village green, add yet more variety as does the ancient village of Kincardine O' Neil with its terrace-lined main street. In short there is something for everyone.

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Introduction Balmoral Castle Crathie Kirk Castles 1 Castles 2
Braemar Castle Nature Reserves 1 Nature Reserves 2 Ballater Station  




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