Strathdon in Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms, Scotland

The spectacular glen of Strathdon is nestled 40 miles from the bustling city of Aberdeen. Rich in both scenery and wildlife, it sits on the banks of the River Don and is part of the Cairngorm National Park.

The landscape here is truly remarkable in its diversity with rugged mountains melting into lush Caledonian pine forests and fertile valleys. And the animals that live off this natural land make it an ideal base for wildlife enthusiasts – osprey, capercaillie, roe deer, heron and otter are all local residents.

In the spring, Strathdon stirs into life as wild flowers blossom and the salmon and brown trout fishing season begins once more – a popular leisure pursuit on the River Don. By summer, the extended hours of daylight allow visitors to explore the treasures of the Cairngorm National Park. The heather clad hills in autumn are a stunning backdrop to the castles and galleries that can be found close to Strathdon. And in winter, when the populations of ptarmigan and mountain hare molt into white feathers and fur, there is skiing and snowboarding right on the doorstep at The Lecht Ski Centre.

The world-famous Lonach Highland Gathering and Games draws hundreds of visitors to Strathdon every August. The day begins with the impressive March of the Clansmen who visit prominent households in the area claiming a wee dram of whisky at each stop, including Candacraig House where comedian Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson live. They attend most years and bring many of their celebrity friends including Dame Judi Dench, Steve Martin, Eric Idle, Ewan McGregor, Eddie Izzard, Brian Cox and many more. The traditional games that follow in Bellabeg Park are not to be missed!