Visit Ballater and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Ballater, Aberdeenshire. The Station Square of this little town was once familiar to most people in Britain as the much-pictured scene of royal arrivals and departures. It is still much visited by the Queen and members of her family, and the Victoria Barracks house the royal guard of honour (chosen from the Scottish regiments in rotation). Yet Ballater only yields up its real charms on a more prolonged and intimate acquaintance. To those who know it thus, it means the scent of pine needles, the sound of impetuous waters rushing over the boulder-strewn bed of the Dee, and the panorama from one of the most picturesquely-sited golf courses in the world, a view embracing the twin cones of the Coyles of Muick, the long profile of Craig Cailleach (“hill of the old woman”), and that prickly inverted pudding-bowl of rock which is Craigendarroch (“hill of the oaks”). To be seen on fine days, towering over all, is the majestic snow-striped wedge of Lochnagar. This loveliness was not appreciated by our ancestors until the second half of the 18th century, when Ballater was still a black and desolate moor. Oddly enough, it was the Jacobites — after suffering for the Good Old Cause and “tholing their assize” under the disliked Hanoverian regime — who first brought out its possibilities.
Pannanich, 2 miles East of Ballater on the high-wooded slope above the right bank of the Dee, is the clue to the holiday resort of today. It was not on the map until 1760, when a cailleach miraculously cured herself of scrofula by bathing in a bog to which she had been “guided” by dreams. The fame of her cure was spread abroad by Colonel Francis Farquharson, the Jacobite Laird of Monaltrie, when he returned to the land of his fathers after the 20 years exile that followed his capture at Culloden and narrow escape from execution. At an old hamlet, Cobbletown of Dalmuchie, he built the inn known as Pannanich Lodge and created a spa that was soon the rage of fashionable society.
That the Dee is a real Highland torrent here can be inferred from the story told by a plaque on the present Ballater Bridge, which reads:
“A bridge of stone was built 100 yards east of this site in 1783 and was swept away by flood in 1789. A second bridge of stone was built by Telford 60 feet east of this site in 1809 and was swept away by flood in 1829. It was replaced by a wooden bridge in 1834 which lasted till 6 November 1885 when this bridge built by County Road Trustees was opened by H.M. Queen Victoria who named it 'The Royal Bridge'. Long may it stand.”
It would be vain to deny that Ballater's prosperity was boosted by the arrival of Queen Victoria on the scene in 1848, or that today its proximity to Balmoral is a source of profit, but it would still rank high as a Highland resort entirely on its own merits. Diva Victoria's insistence that the Deeside railway should not be carried farther West has given Ballater a delectable amenity in the Old Line, a walk sacred to pedestrians only, along the gorge of the Dee from the golf course at the delta of the Muick to the confluence of the Gairn and the Dee l½ miles West.
The Ballater Highland Games, traditionally held during the third week of August, and including a hill race to the top of Craig Cailleach, have been a feature of the Deeside season for over a century.
Nearby cities: Aberdeen
Nearby towns: Aviemore, Banchory, Blairgowrie, Grantown-on-Spey, Huntly, Pitlochry
Nearby villages: Aboyne, Alford, Ballaterach, Birkhall, Braemar, Bridge of Cally, Bridge of Gairn, Cock Bridge, Coilacriech, Coldstone, Coull, Crathie, Dinnet, Inver, Inverernan, Kildrummy, Leochel-Cushnie, Lumsden, Migvie, Nethy Bridge, Ordie, Pannanich, Tarfside, Tarland, Tomintoul, Tornahaish, Waterside
Have you decided to visit Ballater or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Ballater bed and breakfast (a Ballater B&B or Ballater b and b)
- a Ballater guesthouse
- a Ballater hotel (or motel)
- a Ballater self-catering establishment, or
- other Ballater accommodation