Picnicking in Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms, Scotland

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The rules of good picnicking should be observed and so please enjoy your piece in peace, respect nature and any monuments, take nothing from the spot and leave only footprints behind! Generally, if you follow these rules you can picnic anywhere where you judge the conditions to suit your mood.

The locations we suggest here can be reached with short walks from parking. If you are looking for something more remote please look at our short and longer walks.

We have included links to maps to assist with locating the spots we are suggesting. Look for the arrow that marks the spot. If you opt for a river location take care since river flows can be both hypnotic and deceptive. Keep everyone at a safe distance.

Craigievar Castle  The peaceful grounds of Craigievar make an excellent picnic ground, with shelter available if required. Environment is mature garden/woodland estate.

Ballater Riverside open location near the river and Ballater Golf Course. A local short walk takes you this way or there is parking nearby if you are traveling from outside Ballater.

Cambus O May This is a two choice location since you can opt for a riverside location close to the Cambus O May suspension bridge or alternatively choice the woodland walks area on the north side of the road. The two spots are located about 4 miles east of Ballater off the A93 and are well sign posted.

Linn of Dee The Mar Lodge Estate has a lot to offer for wildlife watching and walking. Accessible beauty spot Linn of Dee, close to the river has many attractors. The road towards Linn of Dee has several parking spaces and so if you wish to combine a walk with your picnic you may well find other options present themselves.

Linn of Quoich Also on the Mar Lodge Estate, Linn of Quoich, is also a renowned beauty spot but is more remote though still accessible by car. A number or walks lead away from the car park so it also offers more options for shelter or more sunshine as the day demands.

Loch Muick Situated in the Balmoral estate, there is a visitor centre with parking at the Spittal of Glen Muick where there are some picnic tables. Picnic here or opt to walk towards Loch Muick and find a comfortable spot with a view. Open, spacious landscape can be breezy, so pick your day!

Aboyne Gliding Club The club holds the height record for UK gliding and so has, through the years, attracted many spectators. A picnic area overlooking the airfield has been made to accommodate the curious and when flying conditions are good there is a lot to amuse, as small tug planes tow gliders up for soaring. The airfield is less than a mile to the west of Aboyne on the A93.

Strathdon There are a line of small villages close to Strathdon with a number of locations along the River Don where it is possible to picnic. It is possible to park at Lonach Hall, next to the Colquhonnie Hotel, and from there walk into woodland to the west with picnic tables. There is also a designated picnic area in Bellabeg. Park close the war memorial.

Nine Stanes Stone Circle The Stone Circle is enclosed in a secluded forest area which has a picnic area. From the village of Strachan south of the River Dee turn from the B976 onto the B974 and head south. After crossing the River Feugh, take the first left onto an unclassified road. Nine Stanes Stone Circle is sign posted and there is a small area to park.

Potarch  A number of bridges cross the River Dee and a fine one exists at Potarch. It is possible to park off the A93 and from there make your way down to the banks of River Dee where it is possible to picnic. There is also a designated picnic spot across the bridge.