Royal Deeside is an area steeped in centuries of history, blessed with stunning scenery filled with rare and exotic wildlife. Known by many as being the birthplace of Scottish tourism, the area’s popularity rose with the arrival of Queen Victoria and her family in the mid-1800s and
continues to be enjoyed today by the current monarch and all her family – you could say it has definitely been given the royal seal of approval.
Visit the picturesque villages and towns along the famous valley and you step inside one of Scotland’s most enchanting landscapes. All offer shopping, accommodation and activities with a distinct identity.
Attracting visitors from near and far, it’s like a magnet for those who enjoy the outdoors. With so much on offer – from ski-ing to horse riding, mountain biking to fishing, cycling to walking and other outdoor pursuits – you really are spoiled for choice.
One of the newest outdoor activities for the area is a new GeoTour, based along the Deeside Way and currently the only one in Scotland. For those not familiar with Geocaching, it is really a treasure hunt for the digital generation and an adventure for the whole family. With over 2.5million geocaches hidden around the world and well over 5million people taking part, Geocaching it is a very popular activity.
Interested in history, tradition or culture? If so, there is plenty going on to whet the appetite. Traditional Highland games and agricultural shows take place from June to September, at which visitors can mingle with the locals to watch anything from a caber toss to a Highland fling.
Or follow the Victorian Heritage Trail, which takes in many places with royal connections, including the area that inspired the famous film Mrs Brown, or visit any of the local castles, sample a dram or two or at the local distillery or take part in one of the many festivals and events staged throughout the year.
Braemar Castle is reliving history in July, remembering 300 years since the 6th Earl of Mar, Bobbin Jock, raised the standard to start the 1715 Jacobite Uprising.
Various events are being held during the month, including a Jacobite dinner, and a living history fete and pageant in the grounds of the Castle, as well as a Jacobite re-enactment at local beauty spot the Quoich.
In this picturesque setting, Bobbin Jock summoned the clans to enjoy a hunting party. Legend has it that the hole in the rock was filled with whisky and the clansmen raised their glasses to the King over the water, in an act of treason. It was all a pretext to rally the clans to rise up against the government and put the Old Pretender on the throne as James VIII.
Also enjoying an established history is the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, one of Scotland’s leading traditional events and a highlight of the summer calendar. Held in the small village of Bellabeg, this year’s event, on August 22, marks the 174th time the gathering has been staged.
One of the event’s biggest draws are the Lonach Highlanders. Believed to be the largest body of non-military men to carry ceremonial weapons in Britain, the 220-strong group of tartan-clad men form an impressive sight.
The Lonach Highlanders undertake a six-mile march through the
local area and – armed with their traditional Lochaber axes and pikes – they enter the games field at 1pm, led by the massed pipes and drums of some of the country’s top pipe bands. Truly a sight to behold.
For further details of the Drum Castle GeoTour visit: www.visitroyaldeeside.com
Braemar Castle Jacobite events take place from July 24-26. www.braemarcastle.co.uk
Lonach Highland Gathering, Saturday, August 22. www.lonach.org
Food & Fiddle Fortnight, October 2-18. www.visitroyaldeeside.com
Contact: Visit Royal Deeside on 013398 87780, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org