Braemar, on lovely Royal Deeside some 50 miles west of Aberdeen, is perhaps the best known village in the whole of the Highlands, being close to the Queen's summer retreat at Balmoral and hosting the famous Braemar Gathering in early September.
Its setting, certainly, is second to none, with miles of heather hills and forests all around, and the valley of the winding River Dee narrowing to the beautiful Linn of Dee in the west, where the mountains take over once again.
The village itself is very picturesque with a charming village centre well off the main road. And on its edge, at the end of a quiet lane, secluded, and standing alone in its large, enclosed garden (furniture, barbecue) right above the River Cluny, with views towards Braemar Castle, is Riverside Cottage. Fully refurbished and redecorated for 2010 it is now a charming holiday home.
All on one level, it is spacious and comfortable, and with gas central heating and a stove in the sitting room its year-round cosiness is assured. There are three bedrooms, two doubles (one with en suite facilities) and a twin, and a family bathroom.
One of the delights of the cottage is that you can walk out straight into the hills, or get on your bicycle (for which there is safe storage) and cycle along the north bank of the river to the Linn, and then back along the other side. This is just one of the less strenuous of many cycling possibilities; real enthusiasts (masochists?) can cycle right across the hills from the Linn of Dee to Blair Atholl (might be as well to take a tent, though!)
The Dee will need no introduction to fishermen as one of Scotland's premier salmon rivers. For the less ambitious however, there is trout fishing on the Cluny just beside the cottage, and permits are readily available in the village.
For ski-ers, the Glenshee centre is just 20 minutes along the road, and Braemar has a very attractive, (and surprisingly level) golf course. And the touring opportunities are endless. You can take the famous Cockbridge to Tomintoul road and continue up to the Moray Coast, wander eastwards towards Aberdeen along the valley of the Dee and visit several castles and gardens on, or just off, the way, or have a day in the Granite City itself or on the long beaches just to the north of it.
Bed linen and towels and the first £20 each of gas and electricity are included in the rental. Up to two well-behaved pets are welcome by arrangement. Smoking is not permitted within the cottage. Secure storage is available for bikes etc.
Accommodation (sleeps 6):
- Sitting room with wood burner and TV/DVD
- Dining kitchen with electric cooker, washing machine, fridge-freezer and microwave etc.
- Double bedroom with en suite shower room
- Double bedroom
- Twin bedroom
- Bathroom with bath/shower, WC and wash basin