Perfectly located in the heart of Ballater and only minutes from the selection of Royal appointed shops, coffee houses and fine restaurants; the village’s renowned Golf Course and the numerous riverside, hill walking and cycling trails are all easily accessible in the surrounding Cairngorms National Park. Craigen Cottage provides the ideal base to explore this outstanding Scottish Region, which was first introduced to Queen Victoria in 1842 by her husband, Prince Albert. Purchasing the Royal Estate of Balmoral for her as a holiday home in 1852, the Prince commissioned a new replacement castle by Aberdeen architect, William Smith, designed specifically to meet the Royal Family’s requirements. Queen Victoria holidayed at Balmoral until her death in 1901 and since that time it has become a favourite holiday retreat, passed down and cherished by successive generations of the British Royal Family. Today the beauty of Ballater Burgh is still appreciated by the Royal family who visit every summer, along with visitors from all over the world.
Originally recognised as a Spa town, due to the Health and Spa treatments available at The Pannanich Wells, Ballater became a small tourist town in the late 18th Century .In 1783 a bridge was built to replace the ferry that had carried visitors across the River Dee. Tourists and patients travelled far to taste the “miracle waters” from an ancient spring at Pannanich Hill and today the water is still bottled and sold to a variety of outlets by the Deeside Water Company.
Other tourist attractions include the nearby natural beauty of Loch Muick and the abundance of Scottish wildlife and birds it attracts which include red deer, squirrels and capercaillie, or you can take a tour to discover how Scotch whisky is made at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery. For serious climbers there is the challenge of the Munros-climbing one of the 284 Scottish mountains that peaks at over 3000 feet is a popular pastime for experienced hill walkers. There are 5 mountains that peak at over 4000 feet in the Cairngorms, just North of Braemar. Travelling towards Aberdeen in the East is Lochnagar –standing at 3789 feet -and the White Mounth plate part of the Balmoral Estate and dominating the skyline to the South. The poet Byron celebrated the “Dark Lochnagar “ in his poem and more recently Prince Charles penned a children’s story, “The Old Man of Lochnagar.”(Originally told to his brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.) Further afield there is opportunity to ski at Glenshee or The Lecht Skiing Centres, to hang glide at Aboyne or to fish in local Lochs or the River Dee which stretches over 87 miles from Braeriach in the Cairngorms to Aberdeen and the North Sea. For serious shopping, theatres and galleries, beautiful beachfront and international rail and air connections, the Granite City and World’s Oil Capital, Aberdeen lies just 42 miles to the East.