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The countryside around Braemar provides endless opportunities for walking and this page aims to point you in the right direction. There is a vast area to explore with an amazing variety of wildlife, and abundance of wild flowers, trees, lochs and rivers as well as breathtaking views of mountains. These 12 local walks are suitable for persons of all ages, and the inhabitants of Braemar will be willing to advise you how to reach any of the starting points. All distances given include the return to the start point.
The maintenance of the estates which surround Braemar form the livelihood of many of the people of the area, and visitors are requested to observe the countryside code. In particular please:
do not light fires and make sure matches and cigarettes are extinguished before discarding them;
keep dogs on a leash;
during the stalking season please keep to the paths in any walk marked "stalking".
return to walk
From Braemar - Start: Post Office
1. The Queen's Drive :Distance 3 miles go to map
A map showing the route of the Queen's Drive, Creag Choinnich and the Cromlins is displayed, at the east side of the A93 in front of St Margaret's Church, near where the road through the village centre leaves the A93.
Leaving the tarred road at the stile cross into the wood and continue straight on following the Land Rover track till it stops. Continue on the clearly visible footpath till it emerges from the wood at a signpost. A short detour of about 1/2 miles may be made here by turning left to follow the track to the Lion's Face rock, where a fine view may be had over Invercauld House and policies. Otherwise turn right and continue on to the A93 and then right again back to the village, taking care of the traffic. This walk is named because of Queen Victoria' fondness for driving round it in her carriage, often giving money to any children she happened to encounter
2. Creag Choinnich - Distance 2 miles go to map
Start as for the Queen's Drive, but after crossing the stile at the edge of the wood, bear left through scattered mature pine and larch trees to a plantation where the path become steeper.
Above the wood, the going is rougher with occasional small rock outcrops. The rough going is more than compensated by the fine views of the Village, Glen Clunie and Glen Dee, with Lochnagar clearly to be seen in the east. This walk is not difficult, but proper footwear is necessary in case of slips.
3. Cromlins - Distance 21/2 miles go to map
Start as for Creag Choinnich, but halfway through the plantation branch left at a marker post, in a short distance crossing through the lush vegetation on large stepping stones where spruce trees, continually browsed by deer, have grown into fairy-tale shapes. The path then crosses a stile and follows round the edge of the wood, giving some particularly fine views of the village. Braemar Castle, and the upper Dee valley. An illustrative display board is situated at the finest view. The path joins the A93 at Braemar Castle and returns to the village alongside the roadway. Less fit walkers are advised against doing the walk in the reverse or clockwise direction, as there is a stiff stepped climb from Braemar Castle to the highest point.
4. Indicator-Golf Course Road - Distance 3 miles go to map
This walk starts from the top of Chapel Brae, where cars should be left in the large car park on the left. In fine weather, this is an ideal picnic spot, with no through traffic and Poll na Ceire close by, with its large population of semi-tame Mallard ducks which children will love to feed. Continue on past the pond, and follow the track taking the left fork toward Morrone. In about 1/2 a mile, the Deeside Field Club Indicator will be passed, naming all the visible hills. There are seats here for the weary! The road continues round the shoulder of the hill and then continuing as a footpath, crosses a small burn and into an old birch wood, now decimated by storms and with you young trees because of browsing deer. A steepish descent leads to the Golf Course fence and stile and then to Cluniebank Road which to the left leads back to the village.
5. Morrone (2,918ft) - Distance, 6 miles (Stalking) go to map
A magnificent viewpoint with unparalleled views across the Cairngorms. With its height of 2918 ft. it not quite reaches "Munro" status but be aware that the weather on the summit is usually vastly different to that in the village! Land Rover Safaris are often arranged throughout the summer for those who might not reach the top by walking!
Due to its position, Morrone offers very fine views of the hills around Braemar. The climb is not difficult and the path to the summit commences at the Indicator (see Walk 4). Take the path leading over the shoulder in the direction of the Golf Course for 100 yards when cairns leading up the hill will be seen. On the summit is the Brian M Goring Radio Relay Station, now operated by Grampian Region but built in 1967 by Braemar Mountain Rescue Association to supply radio communications for rescues in the Cairngorms. It is not advisable to attempt this walk if there is mist on the hill. Boots should be worn and additional warm clothing, an OS map and compass should be carried.
6. Coire Nam Muc -Distance 2 miles go to map
Start as for No5 (Morrone) but at the Indicator take the (level) road leading off to the right along the foot of the hill. This is a Nature Reserve, and the enclosures on both sides of the track have been fenced by the Nature Conservancy council to enable growth of native trees and other plants without damage by browsing deer. The difference in the vegetation inside and outside the enclosures is quite striking and will become more so.
Continue along this track almost to a stile leading into a plantation and branch off to the right following a footpath round the outside of the coire and arriving back at the fork in the road a short distance west of Poll na Ceire. This is a fairly level walk and suitable for a family, and with a great deal to offer the naturalist. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
7. Cluniebank & Broombank Roads - Distance, 1 mile go to map
Starting from the Fife Arms Hotel, head south along Cluniebank Road to the first junction on the right then follow the un-tarred track for about 1/4 mile, where it passes through a gate. Turn right along Broombank Road, with the Game Park on the left and the Curling Pond on the right, to arrive back on the Inverey Road near the Police Station. A slightly longer variation of this walk is to go straight ahead at the gate, up the small hill and onto Chapel Brae, where a right turn will lead back to the same spot. This is a very popular evening stroll and involves a minimum of climbing.
8. Loch Callater -Distance, from Mouth of Glen, 7 miles (Stalking) go to map
Two miles along the Glenshee Road is the entrance to Glen Callater, The road (closed to cars) provides an easy walk to the Loch at the head of the Glen.
There are two main walks starting from the mouth of Glen Ey
9. Colonel's Bed - Distance 3 miles (Inverey) go to map
The road (closed to vehicles) leads past Inverey House (private) and is clearly defined. The road has been re-made in recent years, and the signpost marking the path to the Colonel's Bed, although still in place is on the old road, below and slightly to the left of the present one. It is about 11/2 miles from Inverey House.
The River Ey here has cut a deep gorge in the rock. At the "Bed" a flat ledge of rock with an overhanging roof forms a sort of long cave where "The Black Colonel" John Farquharson of Inverey hid after the battle of Killiecrankie, attended by his faithful light o' love, Annie Ban (blonde Annie).
The descent to the Colonel's Bed is dangerous and is not recommended.
10. Altanour Lodge (ruin) -Distance 10 miles (Inverey) (Stalking). go to map
The Lodge is situated at the head of the Glen and is reached by the same road leading past the Colonel's Bed.
North of the River Dee
11. Quoich go to map
The River Quoich is a tributary of the Dee and is reached from the Car Park near the Linn of Dee by following the road down the north side of the Dee for four miles. Turn left after crossing the wooden bridge over the Quoich. Leave cars there and continue on foot for a quarter of a mile upstream to the punch bowl, a large round hole cut in the rock by water action. Cross the footbridge and turn right taking the path that leads to the Land Rover track. Continue up this good track through the ancient Caledonian Pines towards the foot of Beinn a Bhuird.
12. Linn of Dee Car Park - Glen Lui, Glen Derry - Distance 5 or 8 miles go to map
From the new car park at Linn of Dee follow the path through the wood to join the Land Rover track up the Glen. This leads to the wooden bridge over the Lui which is 2 miles from the start. From here either return by taking the path to the right which leads back to the road running to the Quoich (avoiding any left forks on the way). Alternatively from the wood bridge continue on the track to the long abandoned Victorian hunting lodge nestling in the woods at Derry. Return by same route.
For other walks in the Braemar area and Grampian Region in general, see the booklet "Hillwalking in Grampian Highland and Aberdeen", available from Tourist Information Offices.
Walking with the Heather-Hopper Bus
Walks can be extended further afield with the aid of the Heather-Hopper which normally runs twice-weekly between Braemar and Pitlochry during July and August (see time-tables or enquire at the Information Office).
Leaving Braemar by the morning bus and returning by the afternoon one will allow up to six hours walking depending on the area chosen. (Maps, compass, warm clothing and waterproof boots are essential)!
Possible starting points for experienced hill walkers are the Cairnwell Ski Centre or the Spittal of Glenshee. Please beware of stalking restrictions in August, September and October.
Walking and Cycling
The walking area around Braemar can also be extended considerably with the aid of an all-terrain bicycle. Information on the routes will be readily given at the Braemar Mountain Sports Centre, where mountain bikes can also be hired.
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