The Victorian market town of Ballater, www.visitBallater.com, boasts excellent shops, many displaying their Royal Warrants, pubs and restaurants, sports centre, cycle hire and golf course. The River Dee, which creates a natural boundary for the town, is renowned for its salmon fishing. Ballater even has its own newspaper, the Ballater and Craithie Eagle and a “slightly irreverent” on line site called the Ballater Bugle. When the Queen is in residence during the months of August and September, the Royal Guard is billeted in the Victoria Barracks in the village.
The House or The Bothy is an excellent base for touring this beautiful and varied part of the Scottish Highlands. The immediate area offers an abundance of activities offering something for everyone. Balmoral Castle and Royal Lochnagar Distillery are 8 miles to the west. There are many local castles, whisky and heritage trails, fishing, sports and wildlife, cycle and hiking trails, horse riding and the skiing centres of Glenshee and the Lecht.
Day trips to Speyside with its whisky, the Scottish Cairngorms to the north and Aberdeen to the East are manageable.
The granite city of Aberdeen is the closest centre for rail and air links and car hire.
Useful sites are: Ballater Scotland, Undiscovered Scotland, Royal Deeside and Visit Scotland. Below we’ve tried to give you a better idea of what the area has to offer:
CYCLING - The old railway line (Balater to Dinnet) is popular with walkers and cyclists alike. Visit Cycle Scotland and the Forestry Commission ??
FISHING - Fish Dee. Also fish for rainbow trout at Tullich Fishery, 2 miles (3kms) away.
GLIDING - Deeside Gliding Club ,Aboyne, holds the UK altitude record of 38,600 feet.
GOLF - Other than BALLATER (18 hole course), there are courses at: ABOYNE (18), ABOYNE LOCK (9), ALFORD (18), BANCHORY (18), BRAEMAR (18) Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, INCHMARLO (9), INCHMARLO LAIRDS (18), LUMPHANAN (9), PETERCULTER (18), TARLAND (9 holes) - Email: email@example.com
HORSE RIDING - Balmoral Estates or Glentanar Estate
JOGGING/RUNNING - Choose from forest, hill and river trails around Ballater. Both the Ballater Highland Games and the Braemar Gathering have a hill race competition. There is the BALMORAL RUN 26 - 27 April, 2014. Set in the grounds of Balmoral Estate.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY CENTRE - Deeside Activity Centre 14 miles (23kms) from Ballater
SNOW SKIING - The Lecht2090 is the closest ski slope to Glenbardie
Glenshee is Scotland’s largest ski-centre 8 miles (13kms) south of Braemar.
Alford Ski Centre at Howe of Alford
SWIMMING - Craigendarroch Hilton Hotel, Ballater
WALKING / HILL CLIMBING
A stay at Glenbardie would not be complete without a walk along the River Dee and for the more active to the top of Craigendarroch Hill, and the one at Cambus O’May. Also, visit Royal Deeside, Forestry Commission and Walk Highlands.
For the avid climber, there are many Munros www.munromagic.com.
WATER SKIING - Aboyne Loch Water Skiing .
WILDLIFE - Ballater lies at the Eastern border of the Cairngorm National Park ,home to a quarter of Scotland's native woodland
CASTLES - Balmoral Castle open from October to July. Others of note are: Braemar Castle, Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle (a favourite) Drum Castle.
VICTORIAN HERITAGE TRAIL leads you to some of the many sights Queen Victoria enjoyed during her visits to the area. Close to Ballater there is Glen Muick, with its wonderful loch. Others are Cambus O'May, Crathie Church, Braemar and the Linn of Dee.
DISTILLERIES - DEESIDE has The Royal Lochnagar Distillery and the tours are very enjoyable. Another is the Fettercairn’s Hillside Distillery, one of the oldest malt whisky distlleries in Scotland.
SPEYSIDE boasts The Malt Whisky Trail. This links several famous distilleries: Strathisla (Chivas Regal), Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, The Glenlivet, Cardhu, Glen Grant, Dallas Dhu and Benromach.
Festivals and Events in the area:
BALLATER HIGHLAND GAMES. August during Victoria week. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOYNE HIGHLAND GAMES . First Saturday in August. Email: email@example.com
BRAEMAR GATHERING First Saturday in September. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
LONACH HIGHLAND GATHERING AND GAMES, Strathdon
Fourth Saturday in August. The highlight of these games is the March of the Lonach Highlanders. Email: email@example.com
VICTORIA WEEK - BALLATER
Held during August, the week celebrates the town’s connection to Queen Victoria. The “week” is actually ten days of activities and includes the Ballater Highland Games.
BALLATER WALKING FESTIVAL?17 - 24 May 2014 for hillwalkers of all ages and abilities. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org