As you approach the Glencoe area from the south on the main highway – A82, the road passes through Rannoch Moor – a beautiful and wild landscape with mountains and lochs on either side. As your journey continues, the Aonach Eagach Ridge, the Buachaille Etive Mor, Bidean nan Beinn and many others are the main features of this landscape, and one very popular with climbers and walkers.VisitFortWilliam
The West Highland Way – a superb long-distance walk from Glasgow to Fort William passes through Glencoe on its way to Kinlochleven.
Rannoch Moor is memorable, beautiful, unspoiled and awesome. You can’t really appreciate it until you visit it.
One of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe, the Great Moor of Rannoch is a beautiful outdoor space stretching far north and west from Rannoch Station.
The area is a vast stretch of land composed of blanket bog, lochans, rivers, and rocky outcrops which makes it a very challenging environment which still supports varieties of flora and fauna. A wealth of plants, insect, bird and animal life can be seen here ranging from curlews and grouse to roe and red deer.
The best way to get a feel for this unique area is to take a train journey on the famous West Highland Railway as the railway line crosses the moorland for 23 miles and rises to over 1,300 ft.
There is plenty of challenging and exhilarating walks in the remote hills and cycling routes. High mountains are also a feature of the moor although these are best left to experienced hillwalkers with excellent navigation skills. Lower level paths from the Rannoch Station area include a 9 mile linear tramp through to Corrour and Loch Ossian and also a 7 mile circuit of Loch Ossain.
For Outlander fans, Kinloch Rannoch was used as one of its filming locations. Possibly the most iconic Outlander locations, Kinloch Rannoch was used for the site of Craigh na Dun. It is here, in the very first episode, that Claire visits the stone circle and is thrown back in time to 1743. There she meets Captain ‘Black Jack’ Randall, a sadistic British officer, before being rescued by a passing highlander, Murtagh.
There is a visitor centre at Rannoch Moor which showcases the beauty and interest of the moor – its evolution, early historical developments, flora and fauna and the importance of the railway to the area.VisitScotland
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after Falkirk, the town in which it is located. It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. It opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link project.
The wheel raises boats by 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal.
The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and one of two working boat lifts in the United Kingdom, the other being the Anderton Boat Lift.Falkirk Wheel Wikipedia Page
Donmouth Local Nature Reserve is a beach site in the historic Old Aberdeen part of the City, where the River Don meets the sea.VistAberdeenshire
A great place to see seals and a range of interesting birds. The beach area has changed over time as the river has changed its course. There are lots of interesting plants in the dunes and beach area. The Bird hide is an excellent shelter from which to watch the wildlife.
The paths run across King Street to the Brig o’ Balgownie, the original bridge in to the City from the North, then down the other side of the river to the sea.
The site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1992.
Paths are good, although wheelchair access to the beach would be difficult as the boardwalk can get covered with sand.
“A city garden with streams, waterfalls, ponds, rockeries and rustic bridge that help to make this one of the most charming areas in the city.VisitAberdeenshire
The garden is planted with rhododendrons, spring bulbs, heathers and alpines; the ponds are full of irises, aylesbury, mallard and muscovy ducks.
This garden is well loved by bridal couples for photographs of their day.
Facilities include children’s play area and toilets.”
Arguably one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Scotland, Glen Coe is about 4 hours drive from Aberdeen, near Fort William on the West coast of Scotland.
Glen Coe (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Comhann) is a glen of volcanic origins, in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the north of the county of Argyll, close to the border with the historic province of Lochaber, within the modern council area of Highland. The scenic beauty of the glen has led to its inclusion in the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. A review of the national scenic areas by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2010 made reference to the “soaring, dramatic splendour of Glen Coe”, and “the suddenness of the transition between high mountain pass and the lightly wooded strath” in the lower glen. It also described the journey through the glen on the main A82 road as “one of the classic Highland journeys”. The main settlement is the village of Glencoe located at the foot of the glen. The glen is regarded as the home of Scottish mountaineering and is popular with hillwalkers and climbers.Glen Coe Wikipedia page
“In Scottish history, the glen is forever linked to the Massacre of Glen Coe, which occurred on 13 February 1692. Following the defeat of the Jacobite Uprising of 1689, an estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glen Coe were killed by government forces, associated with Clan Campbell, who were billeted with them, on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland and Mary II.
In the eyes of many contemporaries, the unjustified bloodshed was not the principal crime – there had been bloodier events in the history of the Highlands than the massacre at Glen Coe – nor even the fact that survivors were forced to contend with the winter blizzard which caused many to perish while trying to get to safety. It was the fact of slaughter under trust – the breach of hospitality which also broke old Scots’ law.”
“The Massacre of Glencoe was not the bloodiest, not the most treacherous act in the history of the Highlands; but, it was murder under trust that could not be forgiven. The bond of trust, even among enemies which had helped people survive in the wild Highlands was broken for good, it was the beginning of the end; and for that all were to blame.”David McNicoll
“Creag Choinnich is a beautiful hill in Braemar. It is home to the oldest recorded hill race dating back to 1064 and is still an annual tradition which Queen Victoria attended in 1850 as part of the Braemar Highland Games.VisitAberdeenshire
To reach the start of the Creag Choinnich trail from the centre of the village go towards Hillside Drive. Keep following the road and you will pass St Margaret’s Church. On the left you will see a large gate at the entrance to the woods. The trail is signposted with child-friendly information on flip-out posts.
The trail is 3.8km long and takes roughly an hour and a half (depending on speed) following existing paths. The trail is well signposted and a gradual ascent with a steeper section between post six and seven. The terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs unless they are designed to manage off-roading.
Red squirrels, small woodland birds and buzzards are easily seen year round. Other species covered on the trail are wild flowers, minibeasts, pine martens, bees, dragonflies and damselflies, red deer, other birds of prey and creatures of the night.
At the summit a spectacular panoramic view of Royal Deeside awaits. Sit back and enjoy the scenery. Nearby you will see the mountains Morrone, Carn nan Sgliat and Carn na Droichaide, further in the distance you can see Beinn a’ Bhuird and Ben Avon. Overlooking the village you will be able to see Braemar Castle and Invercauld House as well as other local landmarks.
Trail maps are available in the Visitor Information Centre, Speciality Shop, Cranford Guest House, and Braemar Gallery.”
“The Deeside Way is a 41 mile path running from Aberdeen to Ballater. The route follows the line of the Old Royal Deeside Railway.
The path is suitable for walkers and cyclists throughout the duration of the route. Many sections of the route are also suitable for horses.
The rewarding journey is frequently broken down into 4 sections Aberdeen to Drumoak, Drumoak to Banchory, Banchory to Aboyne and Aboyne to Ballater.
Aberdeen to Drumoak: 10.6 miles / 17 km.
Beginning at the Polmuir Road entrance to Duthie Park, you will journey through the suburbs of Aberdeen to Peterculter. The path takes you past Coalford towards Dalmaik and into Drumoak. This section of the Deeside Way takes roughly 3 – 4 hours to walk.
Drumoak to Banchory: 7 miles / 11 km.
Heading west out of Drumoak towards Crathes you will venture through Park Estate which is an ancient hunting estate of Robert the Bruce. You will enjoy gorgeous views of the River Dee and rolling hills en-route to Banchory. This section of the Deeside Way takes roughly 2 – 2.5 hours to walk.
Banchory to Aboyne: 13 miles / 21 km.
The longest section of the route takes you out of Banchory heading towards Potarch and onwards to Kincardine O’Neil (the oldest village on Deeside) before reaching Aboyne. Most of this section is not on the old railway line, it takes you through the hills providing great views over the Aberdeenshire landscape. This section takes roughly 4 – 5 hours to walk.
Aboyne to Ballater: 11 miles / 17.7 km.
This final section picks up on the old railway line once again. After leaving Aboyne the route will pass Deeside Gliding Club airfield and on to Dinnet. You will then get to Cambus O’May where you will see the impressive suspension bridge which was damaged following flooding in December 2015. For any Cheese connoisseurs a trip to Cambus O’May Creamery is a must do for a much needed refuel. Shortly after you will arrive in Ballater, winding through the houses transporting you back to Queen Victoria’s time. This final section takes roughly 3 – 4 hours to walk.”