Healthy communities are the heart of Invercauld

The thriving community of Braemar is at the heart of Invercauld Estate in the Cairngorm National Park. The highest village in the UK, it is surrounded by mountains, heather-clad moorlands, pine and birch forest and sits on the gorge of the Clunie Water, a tributary of the River Dee.

An idyllic community of around 450 people, it is well-frequented by those wishing for an authentic highland experience. Whether actor or artist, hiker, hunter, or holiday-maker with a taste for mountain air, the village will delight you.

With charming cottages, shops with vernacular store fronts and an elegant boutique hotel, most of the village is a conservation area: such is the will to conserve its unique character.

At the eastern end of Invercauld, on a meander of the River Dee, lies Ballater. A picturesque Victorian village created by the Farquharsons of Monaltrie, its popularity grew in tandem with the construction of Balmoral Castle nearby and the arrival of the railway. It enjoys a lively community with cafés, restaurants, shops, its own golf course and the Cambus O’May Cheese Company, who have been creating fine Scottish cheeses for over 50 years.

Tourists have an incredible choice of accommodation including secluded woodland lodges at the Craigendarroch Country Club, riverside apartments at the old Monaltrie hotel and many traditional Highland cottages. It is also host to the famous Ballater Highland Games, attended by members of the royal family.

The area surrounding both Braemar and Ballater is unspoilt and sparsely populated. If you crave the peace that a pre-industrial landscape can offer, get your boots on, check you’re on the right track and step into it. It’s everywhere and it’s wild!

For a comprehensive list of things to do in and around the area, visit the Braemar Scotland & Visit Ballater websites.