Neighbouring Balmoral Castle, Royal Lochnagar is the perfect place to discover how scotch malt whisky is made. Watch as our small team of operators tend to our traditional open-topped mash tun, gleaming copper stills and fill casks at our beautifully historic distillery, which retains much of its original charm.
The Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family.
Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near the village of Crathie, 6.2 miles (10 km) west of Ballater and 6.8 miles (11 km) east of Braemar.
Balmoral has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. They remain as the private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown.
Loch Muick is an upland, freshwater loch lying approximately 9 miles south of Ballater, Scotland at the head of Glen Muick and within the boundary of the Balmoral estate.
Glas-allt Shiel, the hunting lodge originally built for Queen Victoria and completed in 1868,lies at the western end of the north shore of the loch.
A good path leads all the way around Loch Muick and taking the low level route this is about 8 miles long.
Ballater railway station is a former station in the village of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The station was formerly the terminus of a branch line from Aberdeen. It was the nearest station to Balmoral Castle.
Opened by the Great North of Scotland Railway it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway during the Grouping of 1923, passing on to the Scottish Region of British Railways during the nationalisation of 1948. It was then closed by the British Railways Board in 1966 (as part of the “Beeching cuts”).
The old station, containing Queen Victoria’s waiting room, was a visitor centre with a replica royal carriage. Unfortunately in the early hours of 12 May 2015, fire crews were called out to a major blaze at the station. This was a huge loss for Ballater and the surrounding Deeside area, for which it served as a place for discovery, tourism and cuisine.
In response, HRH The Duke of Rothesay’s charity, The Prince’s Foundation, initiated an extensive restoration plan to reinstate the station to its former glory. During the rebuild, great care was taken to remain authentic to original details. For example, following a public consultation, the British Rail’s rich green palette, which the station’s exterior had adopted during operation but was later painted over, has been brought back. Meanwhile the interior of this listed landmark has been developed into a stunning dining experience, plus a visitor centre and local library.
The rebuilt station building houses a VisitScotland information centre, a restaurant and tearoom run by The Prince’s Foundation and a public library, as well as the Royal waiting room and carriage.
Walkable from Ballater, the Muir of Dinnet is one of 8 National Nature Reserves in the Cairngorms National Park. It includes Loch Kinord and Loch Davan as well as the famous Burn o’ Vat (or to some MacGregor’s Cave) – a very large barrel measuring 18 metres across and 13 metres high formed by melting ice 14,000 years ago!
The Visitor Centre at the Burn o’ Vat is open daily and as a guide there is a network of 4 paths to explore the Reserve.
The reserve extends 1163 hectares, from the River Dee to Culbean hill, encompassing a wide range of habitats. The Reserve was first declared in 1977 because of its value as a habitat for flora and fauna, and important geomorphological features. Muir of Dinnet NNR is owned by Dinnet Estate and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), who provide a visitor centre and a range of other facilities on the Reserve.
Burn o’ Vat is an example of a pothole, located close to Loch Kinord, near the village of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Around 16 000 years ago, the area surrounding Burn o’ Vat was covered by a glacial ice sheet.
As the area warmed around 14 000 years ago, the ice sheet began to melt, resulting in a torrent of meltwater that carried with it debris previously caught up in the glacial ice. It is thought that a rock became lodged in a small hollow on the river bed, causing the meltwater to flow around it in a spiralling motion. This spiralling motion caused the bed underneath the rock to erode over a long period of time.
Around 13 500 years ago the volume of meltwater decreased to such a level that the stream began to deposit more than it was eroding. This change resulted in the deposition of sand and gravel into the bottom of the pothole. It is believed that this sediment extends down around 5–7 metres, below the current ground level, though no-one can be certain of the true value.
Approximately 12 000 years ago, the entrance to the vat was exposed when the rock in front of it was undercut by the same stream that formed the vat, albeit in the form of a waterfall.
The pothole, known locally as ‘The Vat’, measures 18 metres across and 13 metres high, from present ground level.
Ballater sits at the foot of Craigendarroch Hill – a sub 2000 hill. Craigendarroch means ‘Hill of Oaks’. This wonderful hill contains some beautiful short walks giving fine views across the village. There are also wonderful views of the Dee valley and Lochnagar. In autumn the contrasting colours of the oaks, pine and birch make it especially appealing.
The wood contains much wildlife and information boards within the wood help to provide a better understanding to the visitor.
The Deeside Way is a 67 km (42 mile) long distance path that follows, in part, the bed of the former Deeside Railway, running from near the centre of Aberdeen, oil capital of Europe, to Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park.
The path is suitable for walkers and cyclists with many sections suitable for horses as well and is Route 195 of the National Cycle Network.
The Cambus o’ May woods (Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)) start about 2.5 miles east of Ballater. The woods have a couple of large ponds and there are some superb views of Lochnagar. There are several attractive forest walks, three of which are waymarked. A longer walk leads through the woods to the Burn o’ Vat in the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve. It is possible to walk to Cambus O’May direct from Ballater.