This is a short and easy walk through pinewoods, suitable for all abilities, with minimal overall ascent. The winding trail crosses the tumbling Queel Burn 5 times and passes by 2 pretty lochans, where you will see dragonflies, damselflies and rare butterflies in Summer.
Duration: 1.75 hours.
Duration: 1.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Fairly frequent Stagecoach bus services along Deeside, from Aberdeen. There is a bus-stop on the A93 close to the walk start/end point. Check timetables. There is a free Forestry Commission car-park at the walk start/end point.
Length: 4.910 km / 3.07 mi
Height Gain: 82 meter.
Height Loss: 82 meter.
Max Height: 257 meter.
Min Height: 201 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Good surfaced paths and forest roads. May be muddy in places. *Note: Recent forestry ops ceased on 29 Feb 2020. Some signs/fences still present on 3rd Mar. Standard Forestry Commission advice is “Please do not pass any prohibition signage.”
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes. Keep your dog under close control in the car-parking area.
Refreshments: The nearby Riverside Cottage cafe is open Fri-Sun, 12-3pm. Options in Ballater.
This is a delightful extended stroll around the mature conifer woods at Cambus O’May, near Ballater. Along the way, through the pines and firs and juniper bushes, you will catch some fine views to the west of the Pass of Ballater and the Cairngorms, particularly Lochnagar. The winding route through the trees crosses the Queel Burn 5 times, including on 3 wooden bridges, and visits two very picturesque little lochans. The wider Cambus O’May woodlands are recognised as a sanctuary for the rare Black Grouse and Capercaillie. On this route you are likely to be observed from above by Red Squirrels, and may be fortunate to see one scurrying along the forest floor or up a nearby tree trunk. In summer months, the lochans sparkle with shafts of bright colour due to the prevalence of different species of dragonflies and damselflies. This special environment also attracts many types of butterfly, including the rapidly disappearing Pearl Bordered Fritillary. Cambus O’May came into its own during the railway boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the Cambus O’May Halt, the last stop before Ballater on the Deeside Line, being particularly favoured by rod fishers who also patronised a substantial Victorian fishing lodge set in 16 acres, featuring a walled garden, kennels and coach house. The area is also famous for the Cambus O’May suspension footbridge over the River Dee, about 2 kms east of this walk, where there is a signed car-park just off the A93. This pretty white-painted iron bridge, popular with sightseers taking in the delights of Deeside, was built in 1905 by a locally born businessman to replace a rowing boat ferry. In 1988 the bridge had to be rebuilt for safety reasons, with the new bridge being constructed to the same design as the original, maintaining its Victorian heritage. Sadly, at the time of writing in 2020, the bridge has been closed since the destructive river spate following Storm Frank, in the winter of 2015.