Balmoral Castle and Gelder Bothy
Updated: Feb 10
This is a great little loop on easy ground, and mostly out of the wind. Start in the Keiloch Walkers Carpark, cross the old Bridge of Dee. This bridge was on the Old Military Road, built to quell the Jacobite Rebellion after 1745. Most of the A93 has been built over it, but the track over the bridge gives you an idea of what eighteenth century roads were like. Zip along the landrover tracks through the ancient Ballochbuie Forest to Balmoral Castle.
Follow a track up from near the Lochnagar Distillery on to open ground. The track levels out (eventually) and you get first sight of the clump of trees where the bothy is hidden. The open hill side gives a great view of Lochnagar's north face (and on the day we did it and spectacular rainbow).
Take a break in the Royal Bothy (Sleeps 6), then head back to the bridge on the high road to the south of Ripe Hill. If you have the legs then its worth a few extra kilometers and meters of climbing to check out the falls and iron bridge at Garbh Allt Falls. Or if you have more miles in you, push on along the road for tea and cake at the Bothy Cafe in Braemar like we did.