Visit Braemar and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Braemar, Aberdeenshire. The parish of Crathie and Braemar, 24 miles long and of 183,297 acres, has been a playground for kings, nobles, and the great ones of the land since the dawn of Scottish history. With the transformation of Mar Lodge into a winter-sports centre on Swiss lines, it now becomes potentially a playground for every man. Near the centre of the parish is the village of Braemar at the base of Morrone Hill, a dual township on the banks of the Cluny Burn where it enters the Dee. Auchendryone, on the left bank, is Catholic Braemar, while Castleton, on the right bank, is the traditionally Protestant section. Both were of course preceded in time by Kindrochit Castle, built c. A.D. 1390, when Robert II granted a licence to “our dear brother Malcolm de Drummond” for building a fortalice there. Now only a fragmentary ruin, the tower was, in its heyday, the fifth largest for area in Scotland. In 1618 Braemar was visited by John Taylor, the “water poet”, who wrote largely about his experiences of a deer hunt. In his story the astonishing thing is not the differences from the present but the similarities: “Once in the yeire for the whole moneth of August and sometimes part of September the Nobility and Gentry of the Kingdome doe come into these highland countries to hunt, and they doe conforme themselves to the habit of the High-land-men, who for the most part speak nothing but Irish, their garters being wreathes of hay or straw, with a plead about their shoulders which is a mantle of divers colours...”
A deer hunt with an arrière pensée resulted in the most momentous event in Braemar's history. The “hunt” assembled on the 26th of August 1715. It was in fact a conclave of Jacobites convened by the Earl of Mar. The fateful decision was taken, and on the 6th of September the standard was raised for King James VIII on a knoll to the East of the old Barony Courthouse of Kindrochit — on the spot now covered by the lounge of the Invercauld Arms Hotel. Braemar Castle is still occupied by the Farquharsons of Invercauld; it stands 1½ miles East of the village on a knoll above the Dee. It was built by the Earl of Mar in 1628. In 1689, during Claverhouse's campaign, it was burnt by the Farquharsons of Inverey after they had outwitted the Government troop of General Mackay.
After many adventures it was leased for ninety-nine years to the War Office, as a barracks for keeping watch on the still turbulent Highlands.
To this five-storeyed, turreted, L-plan house, the War Office added a rectangular rampart or curtain-wall with salients projecting from each face so as to form an eight-pointed star — one of the most remarkable extant examples of a Hanoverian fort. At a later date the turrets were raised a storey higher and given “gingerbread” battlements. The inscriptions on the woodwork inside, made in boredom by 18th century foot-soldiers of the garrison, can still be examined.
Braemar's thost famous modern institution, the Gathering, dates from 1832, when it was initiated by the Braemar Wrights' Friendly Society. Queen Victoria attended her first Gathering in 1848. Today the Braemar Gathering, held in September in the Princess Royal Park, draws an annual gate of 50,000. Piping is its strong suit, with the usual “heavy“ athletic events climaxed by the tossing of the caber. The arrival of the Queen and her party, who take their places in the royal pavilion in the afternoon, is the high point of the day.
The Invercauld Studios and Galleries were first opened in 1952 in a disused old church and other buildings. Here are given exhibitions of Scottish arts and crafts, and an annual festival of music and drama is held in August and September. Robert Louis Stevenson spent a winter in Braemar and wrote Treasure Island there.
Standing over 1,100 ft above sea-level, Braemar, at the point of junction of the roads from Aberdeen, and from Perth via the Cairnwell Pass and the Devil's Elbow, gives access to a large area of the Eastern Cairngorms.
Nearby towns: Ballater, Blairgowrie, Pitlochry
Nearby villages: Crathie, Inver, Inverey
Have you decided to visit Braemar or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Braemar bed and breakfast (a Braemar B&B or Braemar b and b)
- a Braemar guesthouse
- a Braemar hotel (or motel)
- a Braemar self-catering establishment, or
- other Braemar accommodation