Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park are blessed with having the most amazing scenery and we are so lucky to have so many Munros right on our doorstep – 24 around Braemar alone! However if bagging a Munro isn’t your thing, or indeed if you don’t have the time, here are just a few of our favourite walks should you want to venture away from the lodges. As many of us like to combine a nice walk in the great outdoors followed by a bite to eat we’ve added a few suggestions on where to eat locally after your walk 🙂
The Fungle path was an old droving road dating from the 13th century which was used to drive cattle from Deeside down south to market. You don’t have to do the whole 19km to Tarfside, indeed if you do you’ll need someone on hand to collect you, but you can start on Aboyne Bridge and go as far as you fancy. After a day in the fresh air the recently renovated Boat Inn in Aboyne makes an ideal place to stop for something to eat after your walk. It’s just off the Aboyne Bridge so fine and handy when you return to collect your car. The Boat Inn will accept dogs in the bar area so it’s perfect if your dog is on holiday with you and being less than 15 minutes from Cairngorm Lodges, it’s not far to travel back to the comfort of your woodburning stove.
Dinnet to Ballater on The Deeside Way
This walk is ideal to do with children or for those who prefer a flat walk as it follows the path of the old railway line. It’s off the main road so safe from cars, we often cycle it too. Park the car at Dinnet and cross the road to begin the picturesque meander of The River Dee; a stop to admire the Cambus O’ May Bridge is compulsory! The Riverside Cottage is just past the bridge and although care must be taken when crossing the main road the rewards are justified with a wonderful selection of delicious things to eat including amazing ice-cream, if the weather is right.
Walks around Tarland
There are so many walks around Tarland that the village have produced a booklet, “Tarland…a great place to walk” a copy of which can be found in the lodges. Our favourites are the Pittenderich Circular Walk, The Drummy woods and Tomnaverie Stone Circle walk, The Alastrean Circular Walk and the Corrachree Circular walk. Tarland is only 5 minutes from Cairngorm Lodges and following your chosen walk The Commercial Hotel can provide excellent pub food. Dogs are allowed in the bar area and they have a lovely garden area should the weather oblige. The Tarland Way is a 6 mile path running between Tarland and Aboyne which is perfect for walking or cycling. Once in Aboyne we would recommend a fuel stop at The Sign of The Black Faced Sheep – delicious soups, sandwiches and cakes to die for – you may even meet us in there!
No trip to the area would be complete without a visit to Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate. The Loch is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by hills where you’d be very unlucky not to spot red deer. The full circuit is 7.7 miles and will take you past Glas-allt-Shiel, the house built by Queen Victoria. What an amazing spot to have a house! After your visit to Loch Muick do pop into Ballater which hosts a great selection of coffee shops, restaurants and takeaways.
Glen Tanar is the perfect place to visit for all levels of walk. Just pop into the visitor centre for some advise on the vast array of walks available, including way-marked trails which are perfect for a family stroll. Do stop to marvel at The Chapel of St Lesmo which was built in 1872, it was dedicated to St Lesmo who was the Holy Hermit who lived in Glen Tanar some 1000 years ago. Following a walk at Glen Tanar you can either leave the Glen and head to Ballater or Aboyne so some local refreshments.
Although Scolty Hill is a fairly steep walk it is only 2miles long and can be done in a couple of hours. The summit boasts a 20m tall tower which was built as a memorial to General Burnett who fought alongside Wellington. The tower includes a viewing platform so if you choose a good day for your walk you will be rewarded with fantastic views across the Dee valley and Grampian Mountains. Buchanans Bistro at Woodend Barn is place to visit after hiking up Scolty; freshly made food using local quality ingredients has us returning here time and time again.
There are far too many walks to mention them all here but if you need any more suggestions do just ask Sarah who will be happy to help you decide where to head out to next. Please do be aware when out and about that the weather can change very quickly here. In the winter months it gets dark very early so please don’t set out unless you are fully prepared.