Royal Deeside

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Royal Deeside Aberdeenshire.

Royal Deeside Aberdeenshire includes Aboyne Ballater Braemar Banchory  Aberdeen, Balmoral Castle, Kildrummy Castle, Craigievar Castle, Glen Muick,  & Glen Tanar.  Strathdon on Upper Donside is nearby.

Royal Deeside Guide    Photography by Bill Bagshaw Photography Courses

Highland Games Schedule for Royal Deeside & Upper Donside

Aboyne Higland Games takes place on the first Saturday in August Ballater Highland Games takes place on the second Thursday in August The Lonach Gathering and Highland Games takes place in August at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon and also features the Lonach March which starts earlier in the morning. The Braemar Gathering takes place on the first Saturday in September in front of Her Majesty the Queen Click here to go to the Events Page for full event listings

Castles Guide – refer to the Slideshow, and Castles Map below:-

Balmoral Castle is the Scottish retreat of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family. Balmoral is the Queen’s dwelling on Royal Deeside, and was purchased by Queen Victoria.

Braemar Castle is built on an L plan dating back to 1628, and features an outer wall with with musket loops. The outer wall was added in 1748 when the castle was used by government troops. The castle was burned down by Jacobites in 1689 to stop government troops using it as a garrison.  A guide from Braemar Castle dressed as a Jacobite, and  holding an authentic  rifle is shown in front of Braemar Castle. After this photo was taken scaffolding was erected for much needed restoration work to the castles exterior rendering (known as harling).   Donations are being sought to complete the work.

Castle Fraser dates back to 1575 and is a superb example of a Scottish baronial tower built on a Z plan. Two wings project to form a courtyard. Castle Fraser was home to two different branches of the Fraser clan.  Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z plan castle in Scotland.  Castle Fraser hosts both an annual Jousting Tournament and a Steam Fair.

Corgarff Castle has been repeatedly burnt down and rebuilt. It dates back to around 1550 and was built in a strategic position on exposed moorland by John Forbes.  When the Forbes men were absent it was burnt down in 1551 by Adam Gordon; killing all the women, children and servants. For this reason it is said to be haunted.  In the early 1600s it was used by local bandits, and then by Royalist forces. During the 1869 rising it was burnt down a second time by Jacobites. After the defeat of the 1715 rising Corgarff Castle was burnt down for the third time, this time by Government forces.  By 1746 Jacobites were using Corgarff as an arms store until Government forces made them flee.  Government forces then converted the castle into barracks;  and an outer wall was built featuring musket loops.

Craigievar Castle has a fairytale look to it, featuring many turrets and gargoyles. Built on the L plan it was comleted in 1626. Originally Craigievar Castle was surrounded by 4 round courtyard towers. During the first world war it was used as a hospital for wounded Belgian soldiers.

Crathes Castle was built on land donated in 1323 by King Robert the Bruce. The original castle was a fortress of timber built upon a bog known as a “crannog”. Work on the current L shaped castle began in 1553. A walled garden is a prominent feature of the grounds.

Drum Castle features a very old medieval 13th century keep (seen to the right of the image) The keep is the oldest in Scotland and is joined onto a Jacobean mansion house dating back to 1619. There are also Victorian additions to the castle.   The chieftains banner is shown flying from the keep.

Glenbuchat Castle was the home of several branches of the Gordon clan; and was built on a Z plan in 1590, on high ground above the River Don. Glenbuchat Castle was built for John Gordon a hero of the Jacobite rebellions.

Kildrummy Castle was built in a shield shape. The ruin is one of the largest 13th century castles remaining in Scotland, and was once a magnificent Scottish fortress. Kildrummy Castle is the scene of sieges and battles, it dates back to the 13th century being beseiged in 1306 and 1335. Robert the Bruce sent his family there to protect them from the English. Gory history tells of a traitorous blacksmith who set fire to the castle and was rewarded in gold for his treason; by having molten gold poured down his throat. The castle was abandoned during the Jacobite revolution by the Earl of Mar who fled to France.Castles, Royal Deeside guide map and Upper Donside map. Your guide to Scottish Aberdeenshire Castles. online whats on guide, Bill Bagshaw photography courses and photography clinics (Bill Bagshaw & Martin Williams/Bill Bagshaw,

Landscape & Places

Glen Muick  is situated within the borders of the Royal Balmoral Estate; surrounded by high mountains. Loch Muick is 2 miles long and the walk around the loch enjoys spectacular scenery. Queen Victoria’s lodge is the white building near the centre of the photo. Lochnagar is a former volcano & can be walked to from the car park at Glen Muick.   The Loch below Lochnagar is actually the vent of the former volcano. Snow can usually be found on Lochnagar for much of the year. Glen Tanar is Royal Deeside’s other picturesque glen, often overlooked by visitors to Glen Muick. Queens View is a fantastic place to see the whole panoramic view of Royal Deeside unfold, and is located above Tarland on the B9119 road The Falls of Feugh near Banchory is where you can get a fantastic view of salmon leaping upstream. The picturesque Bridge of Feugh features a pedestrian viewing platform right over the falls.

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The Deeside Line

Ballater Victorian railway station is now a museum.  Ballater was the terminus  of the now defunct Deeside Railway; and was famously used by Queen Victoria.  It even features the toilet used by Queen Victoria ! Crathes has a small reconstructed section of the old Deeside Line, with original trains and rolling stock.

Glenshee – click on this link

Glenshee is a great place to spot red deer on a summer evening or on a winters day. Glenshee Ski Centre is the the largest alpine ski and snowboard area in Scotland and the whole of  the United Kingdom. Piste basher at Glenshee Ski Centre. If you have watched red deer in Glenshee bear in mind this is what it looks like in winter. Sunnyside ski slopes can be seen behind one of Glenshees's smaller Kassbohrer piste bashers. Behind the Sunnyside slopes are another 2 valleys of uplift, Meall Odhar and Glas Maol. Piste Basher is the popular European term for a snow groomer. To the right of the photo is the Baddoch chairlift which links the base station to Cairnwell, Carn Aosda and Butcharts ski and board areas. Cairnwell is derived from a gaelic name meaning "hill of bags" (Martin Williams)