Royal Deeside : Braemar and Surrounding Area
Braemar is a holiday playground unequalled in Scotland. Surrounded by the fine Grampian mountains and woodland 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 break. The nearby River Dee flowing past Balmoral Castle on its way to Aberdeen offers the finest salmon fishing. To the south just 8 miles away is Glenshee the home of the largest ski centre in Scotland. Surprisingly for all its fame, Braemar is just a village located in beautiful but remote and largely empty country side. Many of Scotland's finest mountains are located within nearby Mar Lodge Estate.
An ancient village with long links to Scottish royalty, it is home each September to the world famous Braemar Gathering and Highland Games regularly attended by members of the Royal Family. Little wonder that Braemar won the coveted Best Village for Tourism in Scotland in 1992 and again in 1996, when the last of these competitions was held.
The village of Braemar is surrounded by largely unpopulated countryside. Following the A93 the nearest village to the east is Crathie, 9 miles away. To the south the nearest village is Spittal of Glenshee, 13 miles away and outside Royal Deeside. On the small road to the west is the small village of Inverey, 6 miles away.
In effect, the countryside within a circle of about 20 mile radius around Braemar is both lonely and mountainous. It is divided between four large Highland estates Invercauld, Balmoral, Mar and Mar Lodge. Roughly speaking, they are north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west of Braemar respectively.
Mar Estate and Mar Lodge Estate were, until recently, joined as a larger estate owned by family of the Earls of Mar. In particular, it owned by the Duke of Fife whose title is recalled in the name of the Highland Games park and the Fife Arms Hotel. Death duties caused the estate to be split and recently Mar Lodge Estate was bought by the National Trust for Scotland as a nature reserve. This truly great estate contains some of the finest mountain country in Britain and is the centrepiece of the new Cairngorms National Park.
Balmoral Estate is owned by the Royal Family and in addition to the magnificent castle it contains gems such as Lochnagar, Loch Muick, Birkhall and the Ballochbuie ancient pine forest. Invercauld Estate is one of the largest in Britain and stretches from Ballater to beyond Spittal of Glenshee. Invercauld is the seat of the Farquharson clan.
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