Lying in the valley of the River Dee, the village of Dinnet has a truly idyllic backdrop. Rugged hills and sparkling lakes – the largest being Loch Kinord and Loch Davan – surround this small but popular holiday resort. As with many other towns and villages situated within Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms, Dinnet was built in the Victorian era when the railway first arrived.
The village is rich in its history and residents have colorful tales of times gone by to share with visitors. It was on a farm south west of Dinnet where 8-year-old Lord Byron was brought to recover from a bout of scarlet fever. Byron became besotted with Mary Robertson, the farmer’s daughter, and wrote a poem about her, which also extolled the virtues of the area. A short distance away from the village is Blelach, where Charles Gordon raised the standard for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 1745 rising. Dozens of other ancient sites are just waiting to be explored in this tumbling countryside, including Kinord Cross, Tomnaverie Stone Circle and the Tullich Symbol Stone.
Dinnet is also a haven for nature lovers and many endangered and rare species feed off this plentiful land. Wander through the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve – a Site of Special Scientific Interest – and you’re sure to spot an osprey, deer or otter. Walkers, runners and cyclists will be in their element on the beautiful lower slopes of Culblean where one of the important battles of Scottish independence was fought.
Nearby, on the south side of the River Dee is the formidable Glen Tanar Estate. With its magnificent native Caledonian pinewood forest, a wide array of plants and wildlife have made this tranquil estate their home – a population of capercaillie and Scotland’s only unique bird – the Scottish Crossbill – can be found among the colourful foliage. Thanks to its position on the River Tanar, the estate also attracts keen fishermen to its shores in search of trout and salmon. Glen Tanar’s Equestrian Centre arranges horse rides around the stunning loch and into the Ancient Wood of Caledon – look out for golden eagles, red squirrel, osprey and buzzards while cantering through the estate.
In many ways this area is the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park and it is entered through the Royal Deeside villages of Dinnet, Ballater and Crathie. Dinnet is a small village at the eastern entrance to the Park offering good access to the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, Glentanar and Dinnet Estates, and also has a hotel, restaurant and antique shop.
Outdoor activities such as golf, ski-ing, walking, mountain biking, fishing, shooting and stalking have always been popular and this part of highland Scotland is famed for the natural beauty of its lochs and mountains and was a great favourite of Queen Victoria.