Scotland has long been celebrated in paintings, verse, prose and song and why not, with such inspiring scenery, it is easy to understand why.
Home & inspiration of many a film - video from Visit Scotland
Royal Deeside is no exception to this, as the area is blessed with its fair share of unspoilt and special landscape. Part situated within the wonderful setting of the Cairngorms National Park and part in the fresh rolling landscapes of Aberdeenshire, the area really has the best of both environments and worlds.
The Cairngorms through the seasons captured in video by Wild Media
A wonderful place to live, work and of course to visit, with its spectacular mountains, lochs and glens, however it is also home to more than 100 species of rare and endangered animals and plants.
Black Grouse - Video from the National Trust for Scotland
The vast wilderness of Royal Deeside is a natural paradise. Step quietly and you may encounter the wildlife for yourself. Otters, pine martens and even wildcats prowl this diverse landscape, which is also home to the endangered red squirrel. Once widespread throughout the UK, their numbers have been steadily declining so Royal Deeside is one of the last places where they can be seen frequently.
Rutting stags can be heard as they clash antlers on higher ground. In October, the hills reverberate with the roars, as they vie to maintain their herds of females.
Red Deer near Braemar - Video from Braemar Media
The higher mountains are home to species such as dotterel, ptarmigan and you may also spot a mountain hare. While the lower moorland supports capercaille, which are huge woodland grouse, hen harriers, golden plover and short-eared owls. If you’re very lucky you might catch a tune or two from the Scottish crossbill, a bird that is only found in Scots pine forests of the Scottish Highlands.
Wildlife at the Muir of Dinnet - Scotlands National Nature Reserves
Scan the skyline and you may see a golden eagle, especially around Loch Muick, while Osprey, swoop for prey along the River Dee.
The River Dee, itself is well known as one of the world’s top salmon rivers Salmon are born in the river and spend up to 3 years there, before migrating out to sea to feed for 1 or 2 years before returning home to spawn. Visit the Falls of Feugh, in Banchory and you may be lucky enough to see them returning up river as they dance upstream against the currents. The River Dee Trust looks after the river habitat and will be be holding a fundraising auction, due to start later this month. Find out more on what this charitable trust does HERE.
Winter Salmon Run - Video from Gary Masson
Much of this wildlife can be seen in its natural habitat on the numerous estates, which are dotted across the landscape.
So pull on your walking shoes, grab your coat and get out there. The Great Outdoors of Royal Deeside is just waiting to be discovered!
Some example of local providers of guided walks, safaris or outdoor exploration are available from
- Ian Murray - Author, Fishing & Wilderness Guide
- Deeside Nature Activities
- Balmoral Safaris Squirrel Cam
- Mountain walking with Hillgoers (1 complimentary place on offer in the Royal Deeside PassporTour)
- Glen Tanar Safaris
- Braemar Highland Experience
- Mountain bike exploration with CycleHighlands ( Save 10% on your Bike Hire with the Royal Deeside PassporTour)
- Craggan Outdoor Activities
More local information that can help you explore the mountains to the sea can be found at: