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Day trips out of Ballater

Camarillo...
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Day trips out of Ballater

There are four of us staying in the Highlands in early May. We are based in Ballater for a week and we are trying to decide what to do. We will have a car and overnight trips are a possibility. Small towns, pubs, castles, and even a distillery or two are on our list of thing to see and do. Any suggestions for outings would be appreciated.

Georgia
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1. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

We stayed in Ballater for 4 nights last year. Enjoyed the area!

Here are a list of things/places to check out. Just google and/or googlemap to find them.

Braemar Castle (open on Sat/Sun, I think), you can stop and walk in anytime. No big deal.

Mar Lodge Estates, Linn of Dee, Linn of Quich.

Balmoral Castle, OK especially if you are into the House of Windsor. Royal Lochnager Distillery

Crathes, Drum, Craigievar and Frasier Castles are all top notch!

A little further afield is a visit to Speyside (daytrip) to visit any number of distilleries. Maybe a visit to Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Glenlivet or Balvanie Distilleries and a visit to Balvanie Castle.

You could head south to Glamis Castle or Dunnotar Castles. Maybe take the Cairn O'Mount road?

YOu could drive down to Loch Muich and take a hike.

We found the Balmoral Pub a freindly place for a dram and some pub grub.

Glasgow, United...
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2. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

Hi

Totally agree with Kevin's suggestions and how he rates the castles. Crathes combines a good castle and nice gardens - Fyvie castle is good too. Dunnottar is in a stunning setting by the sea,

Although it won't take long to visit, Braemar is quite an attractive village, with a good art gallery and a nice cafe (Taste) and a few shops. Aboyne has another v. good cafe - the sign of the Black faced sheep. Sadly I can't think of any really good pubs thereabouts.

There are loads of great walks in the area at all levels of effort - the National Trust for Scotland organise some at Mar Lodge - nts.org.uk/Property/…

You can also hire bikes locally and there are some good cycle trails along the route of a disused railway line.

There's quite a lot on the local tourist site including castle and distillery trails http://www.aberdeen-grampian.com/default.aspx

Camarillo...
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3. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

Kevin, thanks for the quick reply and the many choices of places to go and see. We are really looking forward to this trip.

Thanks again.

Camarillo...
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4. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

Fifporter, thank you also, we are really interested in pubs as a way of meeting new friends in the Highlands. Dunnottar sounds great and will be on our list.

Edinburgh...
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5. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

I don't know if this fits with Ballater or maybe with earlier/later plans - but a drive Eastwards to Banchory, then South East via the Slug Road to Stonehaven? Banchory is a lovely small town, and Stonehaven a typical fishing port. It's possible to turn this into a circular day out but you'd need a good map.

Another possibility if you do go to Mar Lodge and the Linn of Quoich - and dependent on how the party feel about the great outdoors - would be to spend a couple of hours walking up Glen Quoich, because the scenery's good, and you'll pass through old Caledonian pine forest with the potential to see red squirrels and crossbills. It's an easy track (rather than a path) because it provides access to estates further north.

Glasgow, United...
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6. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

Do let us know of any good pubs you find!

Scotland has some gems, but whereas if you go into any small English village you are almost bound to find several nice ones, for many years Scots pubs were more drinking dens. Thankfully that all started to change 20 odd years ago, but we still have some catching up to do in some villages.

Hotel bars are sometimes more common than pubs - if you fancy a nice bar meal, somewhere different, have a look at Maryculter House hotel - ages since I've been, but was very atmospheric and good food.

Also the Lairhillock Inn is v nice, near Stonehaven but is more a foodie place than a casual pub. Worth a look though.

Fife, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/braemar.shtml

The above website will give you loads of information about walks in your area. Linn of Dee and Glen Quoich are particulary scenic as already suggested

regards

Woody x

Crathie
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8. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

It is perfectly possible to visit Loch Ness and Culloden battlefield as a day trip from Ballater because I have done it myself.

http://www.nts.org.uk/culloden/

You could fit in a side visit to Clava Cairns as well and maybe if you felt like it visit Cawdor Castle too

http://www.cawdorcastle.com/index.cfm

It would make for a long day to do it all, but if you shared the driving might be worth considering.

Should you take a drive to Loch Muick near Ballater as Kevin suggested, then you will need to pay to park the car. When last I looked, it was GBP3 for pretty much all day. A walk round the loch will take three hours, but this does not include stopping to take photographs or sitting down for a rest. It is pronounced “Mick” as in Jagger and the name in Gaelic means Loch of the Pigs. Queen Victoria considered this “not a pretty name”.

Slightly closer to Ballater is Burn O’Vat

…visitscotland.com/walks/cairngorms/muir-din…

a pleasant short walk and the area was once hideout to one Gilderoy MacGregor a bandit and cattle rustler. You can read more about him here

royal-deeside.org.uk/RDvillages/dinnet4.htm

If you are in the area of Kildrummy, I recommend the Kildrummy Inn for a drink/meal http://www.kildrummyinn.co.uk/ and if you are near Banchory then I definitely recommend Finzean Estate Farm Shop and Tea Room for lunch or a snack http://www.finzean.com/

Useful websites for the Ballater and Royal Deeside areas are

http://www.visitballater.com/

http://www.ballatercommunity.com/

http://www.discoverroyaldeeside.com/

http://www.royal-deeside.org.uk/index.htm

Have a good trip.

Camarillo...
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9. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

I want to thank all of you for your wonderful suggestions. I have been researching all of them and creating an itinerary for our visit. Just two weeks until we leave!

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10. Re: Day trips out of Ballater

For your information..

The A93/ B976/A939 from Braemar to Tomintoul is closed at Gairnshiel Lodge at the moment - I don't think its due to open until late May/early June as they are doing some work to the humpback bridge. You can still use this route but you would have to detour via Ballater which will add time to your journey but its still a beautiful route taking you past the church at Crathie where the Royal Family worship when at Balmoral then through Ballater and up the A97 and left along the A944 to rejoin the A939...

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ballater/ballater…