THINGS TO DO & SEE
There's a huge variety of things to do and see in the immediate area & further afield
Royal Deeside is a walker’s paradise, for both leisurely strolls and all out hikes. The area around Howe of Torbeg is criss crossed with networks of paths and Landrover tracks so there is plenty of the beautiful National Park to explore on foot by simply walking out from your pod.
Around Howe of Torbeg, Glenlivet, Muir of Dinnet and Invercauld Estates all have well maintained hikes and trails. We’re also perfectly positioned for those looking to tackle Munros such as the stunning Lochnagar, and nearby Corbetts Morven and Brown Cow Hill.
Ballater Walking Festival happens in the area every May.
And of course the rest of the National Park is within easy reach!
There is a wealth of road and mountain biking in easy reach of Howe of Torbeg. The Lecht runs 2 mountain bike trails in the summer months & Glenlivet Trail Centre is approximately 30 minutes away. Our road, the A939, is part of the Etape Royale road cycling route, with plenty of minor road route options in both directions.
There is a massive network of tracks and paths which provide endless opportunities to the mountain biker seeking self guided routes on natural trails, including trails through nearby Ballochbuie Forest to Loch Muick (single and double track).
There is plenty of family friendly biking too - Ballater is surrounded by circular routes typically lasting between 1 and 4 hours. The Deeside Way, starting in Ballater, provides an enjoyable off road cycle track along an old railway line, with tearooms and views of the River Dee en route.
There are two bike shops in Ballater who hire bikes and kit, organise family bike tours, service bikes and can advise on trails. Qualified mountain bike guides can be advanced booked during the summer season and a shuttle service can be arranged for accessing some locations if required.
Click HERE for more information on cycling routes and bike trails.
Howe of Torbeg is ideally situated to access 2 of Scotland's ski resorts, The Lecht & Glenshee. Both are approximately half an hour's drive away. Both run ski schools & hire equipment.
The Lecht 2090 (found at 2090 feet above sea level) offers 20 runs (seven green, nine blue, three red, and one black) reaching a maximum height of 780 metres and can be accessed via its 12 lifts - mostly drags, but there is also a chairlift.
The compact ski area of Lecht is particularly well suited to beginners. The recently launched Penguin Park is designed for children from the age of 2 up to 8, and features Burton Riglet Snowboards, with the riglet reel cable - the easiest way to teach your mini ones how to shred! Intermediates have a good choice of blue runs, while experts take on the challenging Harrier run and time themselves on the racing piste with its own computer timing system. Lecht is also complete with a funpark equipped with table tops, jumps, log slides, and a halfpipe.
Glenshee Ski Centre boasts the most extensive skiing area in Scotland with 40 kilometres of downhill runs over four mountains. Its 36 slopes are served by Scotland's largest ski lift system. The 22 lifts take skiers and snowboarders to a maximum height of 1068 metres altitude. The ski area suits all levels with 10 green runs, 13 blue, 13 red, and two black. Steeps and glades, pisted and unpisted, open bowls and narrow gullies, no matter your ability, Glenshee's mountains have your name on them!
The Cairngorms is the largest National Park in the UK (twice as big as the Lake District!) and one of the best places in the UK to see wildlife. Nearly half of the land in the National Park is considered ‘wild land’.
The National Park contains one quarter of Scotland's native forest, and is home to a remarkable 25 per cent of Britain's threatened animal, insect, fungi and plant species, some of which can only be found in the Cairngorms.
The rare and endangered species who make their home in the Park include capercaillie, pine marten, osprey, Scottish wildcat, golden eagle, red squirrel, snow bunting, lapwing, crested tit, dotterel and black grouse. Howe of Torbeg has lots of birdlife visitors including finches, red-legged partridges and pheasants - & we think we have a pair of eagles nesting just across the glen!
Check out Cairngorms Nature & The Mammal Atlas of the North East & The Cairngorms to see what you might spot when out and about.
Apart from the great outdoors, Royal Deeside offers castles and distilleries aplenty with many in easy reach of Howe of Torbeg, including Craigievar Castle, Braemar Castle, and of course Balmoral - which is open to the public from April - July each year. Royal Lochnagar Distillery is close by. Fettercairn Distillery (one of Scotland's oldest), Tomintoul and Glenlivet are all short scenic drives away.
Ballater has excellent local shops for a stroll around. Further afield, about half an hour respectively North or West, you'll find the villages of Braemar and Tomintoul. There are also two art galleries right on our doorstep, the McEwan Gallery and the Knock Gallery, and locals Goodbrand & Ross make an excellent visit for their gift shop & cakes!
Ballater Highland Games takes place on the second Thursday in August each year. Ballater Victoria Week takes place throughout the second week in August with all kinds of events, including a duck race and a soapbox derby, taking place in the village.
There is a public swimming baths in nearby Aboyne, and a health club with pool at Douneside House in Tarland which non members can pay a day rate to use. Or perhaps some wild swimming in Loch Kinord, our maybe even our local, the River Gairn....?