Walk of the week: Queen’s Drive and The Cromlins, Braemar

Picture: Nick Drainey

Picture: Nick Drainey

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BRAEMAR is ideally suited as a base for walking, from long-distance through the Cairngorms and up a wealth of Munros to low-level routes suitable for all members of the family from toddlers upwards.

This route follows parts of a number of waymarked routes setting off from the village (you can buy a leaflet from the tourist information centre). It can be extended to reach the top of Creag Choinnich, although the very smallest legs may struggle with this.

Braemar’s connection with royalty brings many visitors each year. It was Queen Victoria who started it all, and this walk follows part of a carriage drive she enjoyed taking. You may not see royalty but will enjoy a great walk.

DISTANCE 4.5 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED 520ft.

TIME 2 to 3 hours.

MAP OS Landranger 43.

PARK Turn off the A93 and park in the centre of Braemar – there is a car park on the left a short way along the main street.

IN SUMMARY

Leave the village and follow the A93 south. On the edge of the village, at the entrance to the Invercauld caravan and camping park, take a surfaced path to the left which runs parallel to the road. At a signpost keep straight on and climb up. The path swings left to join a track – the Queen’s Drive, the former carriage drive enjoyed by Queen Victoria. The track climbs up and bears left, becoming grassier at the top. At a junction go straight on, following a sign for the Lion’s Face.

The track soon reaches a great viewpoint over Deeside with the Cairngorms beyond. In the foreground is Invercauld House. As the track continues, downhill, you may make out a lion’s face in the limestone outcrops to the right but it is better to look for it from across the River Dee. Towards the bottom the track swings sharply left to begin heading back to Braemar. Drop down further to reach an old quarry track where you go right then, after only a few yards, turn left on to a path running near the main A93 road. The path climbs as it rounds the quarry then drops to continue in the direction of the road.

Eventually you reach a gate in a deer fence which you go through and turn left, following a sign for “Braemar via the Cromlins”. The Cromlins means the crooked fields and the path leads above these to a view over Braemar and Upper Deeside. The path continues to another gate in a deer fence then up through forestry before dropping down to a signpost, where you go right. (Going left takes you up the slopes of Creag Choinnich which makes for a strenuous diversion.)

To return to Braemar, follow the path to a gate at the bottom with a road beyond. Cross the road and follow Hillside Road (the higher of two roads to the right). This leads to the A93 with Braemar on the other side.

REFRESH

There is a good choice in Braemar.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA

When the Queen is in residence at Balmoral in August a popular pastime appears to be driving up and down the A93 to try to spot her – never with much success. You will see her at the Braemar Gathering on Saturday, 7 September, at the Memorial Park (www.braemargathering.org).

Twitter: @Scotlandwalk

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