through Royal Deeside : 4
From Crathie to Braemar the North Deeside road (A93) runs through countryside which is a constant delight, each bend in the road competing to provide the finest views of the hills and river. Here, sheep farms and sensitive planted woodland blend to enhance the views. To the south is the Royal estate of Balmoral with Byron's 'dark' Lochnagar dominating the skyline; to the north is the Invercauld estate, base of the clan Farquharson. Continuing westward past the old coaching inn at Inver the road rejoins the river as it flows alongside the ancient Ballochbuie Forest, now part of the Balmoral estate. Here too one of the many pretty footbridges crossing the river can be seen.
Nearing Braemar the road crosses the river for the only time at Invercauld Bridge. To the left stands the old Brig o' Dee which, originally built for military access, now provides the inspiration for many paintings and photographs. Here, the valley broadens out and is overlooked by Invercauld House, the seat of the Farquharson clan. (The Invercauld estate is one of the largest in Britain and for several centuries the history of the clan and Upper Deeside have been intertwined.) Approaching Braemar the road passes the sturdy 17th century Braemar Castle with its links to the Risings of 1715 and 1745. Just beyond is the graveyard with the Farquharson mausoleum built on the site of the first church in Scotland dedicated to St Andrews. Legend relates that his relics were removed from here to the town now named St Andrews.
At the entrance to the village of Braemar is the Invercauld Arms Hotel which stands on the site where the Earl of Mar raised the standard for 'the Old Pretender' at the start of the 1715 rising. Opposite stands a stone monument to the event. Braemar is a delightful village whose roads turn and climb to match the undulations of the ground and whose buildings are made with grey granite stone to traditional Highland design. Here time has not stood still but it is easy to believe it has.
Heading south the A93 passes the cottage where Robert Louis Stevenson spent the summer of 1881 and began the classic adventure story 'Treasure Island'. It is believed that some of the characters were based on local people.(A John Silver lived in Chapel Brae but it is not known if he had a peg leg or a parrot!) The Deeside road then passes through the snow gates and out of the village on its way up to the ski centre at Glenshee.
The countryside now takes on a wilder appearance and much wild life is visible, especially in winter when herds of Red Deer roam the area. Eventually the road reaches the pass at Cairnwell and the Glenshee ski centre, the most extensive in Scotland. At 2200 feet (660 m) it is the highest point on a main road in Britain. At this point the road finally leaves Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms National Park and Aberdeenshire and heads down Glen Shee and thence to Perth.
And some other roads...
The 4-part journey we have described has been largely based on the A93. But the smaller and quieter South Deeside Road is a constant delight as it winds its way as far as Balmoral where it joins the A93.
Other roads not to be missed include the B974 Banchory to Fettercairn, the B9119 by Tarland (Queen's View) and A939 Ballater to Crathie via Glengairn. The small roads leading to Loch Muick and the Linn of Dee make delightful outings - charming roads leading to excellent beauty spots.
|Top of Page|
|Introduction||Journey through Deeside||A Dram of Whisky 1||A Dram of Whisky 2||Forests and Woodlands||Lochnagar|
|The River Dee||Red Squirrels||Craigendarroch Hill, Ballater||Clachnaben by Banchory||Braemar Weather|
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