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Written by
Mireia Marques
Mireia Marques

Walk of the Week: The Cairngorms and Royal Deeside

In honour of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday this week, we’re heading to one of her favourite residences, Balmoral Castle, to explore The Cairngorms & Royal Deeside.
[caption id="attachment_19388" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Strathspey Steam railway chugging away in the Highlands. The Strathspey Steam railway chugging away in the Highlands.[/caption]

Where is it?

Starting from the charming Scottish village of Ballater, you’ll follow trails through the wild and wonderful central Cairngorms (the UK’s largest National Park), explore the whisky heartland of Speyside and even chance your luck at osprey spotting in Boat of Garten, before taking the vintage Strathspey Steam Railway back to Aviemore.   [caption id="attachment_19398" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Peaceful Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms. Peaceful Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms.[/caption]

Why walk it?

  • National Geographic once named the Cairngorms 'One of the Greatest Places on Earth' and we certainly aren't ones to disagree! Marvel at the majestic Cairngorm mountains as you walk the iconic Lairig Ghru, taking in its great glens and tranquil lochs as you go.
  • Steeped in history, Balmoral Castle is owned by the royal family and was built as a holiday home for Queen Victoria. It is often said to be the favourite residence of HM The Queen - with the ancient forests and serenity of Royal Deeside right on her doorstep, it's easy to understand why!
  • As if the roaming hills, glens and lochs weren't enough, you're in for another treat with the local wildlife in the Cairngorms. Ospreys, red deer and red squirrels have been known to make an appearance in the area, so it's well worthwhile to bring your binoculars and camera!
  • Finally, you can relax and hop aboard the vintage Strathspey Railway and experience the Highlands in style as you journey through to Aviemore on the last leg of your trip.
  [caption id="attachment_19400" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Cairngorms-trails Walking through the Cairngorms.[/caption]  

Planning and preparation:

This 8 night walking holiday is available from May - October, with tours of Balmoral Castle available when the royals are not in residence (usually closed in August and September). For those looking for a shorter trip, we also have our 4 night walking breaks - Cairngorms Escape and Discover Royal Deeside. The nearest airports to your starting point are Aberdeen (1h30 from Ballater by bus), Glasgow and Edinburgh (both 2h30 from Ballater by train). This tour is graded easy to moderate, so if you have a good level of fitness and/or are a regular walker you should be able to enjoy the walks without any problems.
For more information on The Cairngorms and Royal Deeside, get in touch with our team who are always happy to answer any questions.
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