A very scenic walk in the sheltered mature woodland on the slopes of Craig Leek, above the Invercauld mansion house. There are good views at every turn on the track of the mountainous Highland landscape all around, towering above the valley of the River Dee near Braemar.
Duration: 2.25 hours.
Duration: 2.25 hours.
Transport/Parking: Start/end point is 220 m from the main A93. Regular Stagecoach bus service along A93 Deeside to Braemar. Check timetables. Invercauld Estate walkers car-park at the walk start/end point. Fee £3 at May 2021.
Length: 5.710 km / 3.57 mi
Height Gain: 217 meter.
Height Loss: 217 meter.
Max Height: 469 meter.
Min Height: 329 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Good estate roads and grassy tracks. A 1.7 km section on a tarred estate access road at the end of the walk.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, keep dogs on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Braemar and Ballater.
This is a very pleasant short walk amongst mature open conifer woodland, with fine open views down to the valley of the upper River Dee, and of the mountainous landscape all around Keiloch on the Invercauld Estate. The route slowly climbs onto the area known as Craggan Rour on the SW shoulder of Craig Leek. There are good views initially, on the NE aspect, down to the wide Felagie Glen and hills beyond. Looking SE there is a commanding group of high hills, dominated by the peak of Lochnagar. Look out (and listen) for Peregrine Falcons who nest on the cliffs in this section of the route. Higher on the slopes of Craig Leek you may spot eagles wheeling through the sky (as we did!). After gaining height, the grassy estate road proceeds through open mature woodland with views over the River Dee to the hills to the S and E of Braemar. Eventually, at various points on the track, there are good views to the Cairngorms in the W, with Beinn A’Bhuird standing out in the middle distance. After the mid-point, the track descends to a viewpoint where there is a curious little wooden building called the Fog House, where the Farquharson lairds could enjoy the good views across the river to Creag Clunie (although these views are partly affected by mature trees nowadays). The Fog House is so named because of the local word for heather which was originally used as thatch. From there, the route descends to the valley floor onto a tarred access road (originally a section of the Old Deeside Turnpike road, replaced by the modern A93 road), close to Invercauld House, which is partly visible through the trees. Here, you will also spot a very large sculpture of a female torso in the parkland adjoining the House. The return from here passes by the planned parkland landscape where you will likely see Highland Cattle in the fields. For historical information about Invercauld House and Estate see: http://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/GDL00224