Although overlooked by high hills this is a gentle hike in a special place, suitable for most walkers. It is readily possible to modify the route to take in only the River Dee and Lui Water sections, or the walk distance can be extended by 3.5 km, to the Derry Hunting Lodge.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: Nearest public transport in Braemar. NTS car-park. Parking fee, or free to members.
Length: 8.240 km / 5.15 mi
Height Gain: 115 meter. Height Loss: 115 meter.
Max Height: 426 meter. Min Height: 366 meter.
Surface: Moderate. On good paths and estate roads.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead close to public roads.
Refreshments: Options in Braemar.
Despite the remote location, 7 miles west of Braemar, the first section of this walk is justifiably popular with walkers of all abilities. The beauty of the natural environment is striking, and the walk kicks off with a visit to the Linn of Dee where the waters of the river churn and cascade through a rocky gorge, set off by the impressive Gothic stone bridge above, built in Victorian times to replace various wooden structures that were swept away. The route then progresses downstream before crossing through mature pine woods to the fast-flowing Lui Water, just above its confluence with the Dee. Here, there are some classic Highland views of tumbling waters, open conifer woodland, and high surrounding hills. The force of the river’s flow makes a particular impact on the senses by the waterfall and salmon ladder at Waypoint 5. Our extended route then ventures further into Glen Lui before turning back to the start-point, taking a well-used estate road that leads to the Lairig Ghru pass through the Cairngorms and high peaks such as Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm, whose tops will be visible on a fine day. The early section is dominated by some wonderful views of ‘granny pines’ and the naturally re-generating Caledonian Pine Forest around them. As you enter a more open area with rough grassy meadows running down to the river, the landscape is dotted with overgrown low ruins, evidence of grain-drying kilns, barns and abandoned human habitation. After a chequered history, from late Medieval times onwards, of hardship and eviction, these farming “townships” were finally abandoned in the late 1700’s. This route is on the Mar Lodge Estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It is made up of more than 29,000 hectares of a quintessential Highland landscape: heather-covered moorland, Caledonian pine forest, and towering mountains.
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