The burgh of Ballater is located in Aberdeenshire Scotland on the Dee River. Because of it's location Ballater has become a center for hikers. This medieval town wasn't fully recognized as a potential community until the early 14th Century when it became a popular estate spot. However, even though the royals and the knights held homes in the area the settlement didn't fully develop until 1770 when the first spa resort that accommodated visitors to the Pananich Mineral Well. Many of the buildings in the area date back to the Victorian era and the center of the town is considered a conservation area.
Today the spa is no longer the main attraction for this village. While it's spring waters are still well known around the area if not the world, the beauty and the scenery are the biggest draws for visitors. If you are coming to the area you should be expected to enjoy walking. This town is now a mecca for hill-walkers and even holds a festival in honor of that. The Ballater Walking Festival, which is held each May, attracts hill walkers of all levels. You don't have to be a hill walker that enjoys the strenuous to enjoy the festival. The participants of the festival are lead through the country side over the hills and through the valleys of the Cairngorms Hills. While you are out in the hillside you will get to see the beauty that everyone always raves about.
Even if you miss the Walking Festival there are still many walks to enjoy when you are staying here. If you are interested in an easy-going walk then you should go through the Craigendarroch walk. This hill is a small hill that is peculiarly shaped. It is located right outside of the village so it is easily accessed. It is a good way to warm up even if you are a more experienced walker.
For the more experienced hill walker, one that likes a little bit of a challenge, the place to go is the prominent mountain in the area. Lochnagar is home to many of the challenging walks in the Ballater area. You can take one of many different trails but be careful, Lochnagar is a range of many Munros (mountains) in the area. You don't want to go to fare without a map and compass to ensure you're able to get back home.
If you are looking for something to just look at then drive ten minutes out to the Balmoral Castle. This estate was built in 1390 by Sir William Drummond and was once the home of King Robert II. King Robert II was fond of hunting and had a lodge in the area. The home was sold to Alexander Gordon in the 15th Century. The estate is still being used even today, by none other than the Queen herself. The castle is closed to visitors, obviously, but you can view it from the outside. It is famous not just because it graces the back of Scottish bank notes but because the Queen was in residence when Princess Diana was killed, she refused to leave for London and was well criticized for her decision.
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