Ballater, Scotland

I am on holiday and my sister is here for a week and I’m in one of the loveliest places on Earth: Ballater, Scotland. Life is very good. We arrived in Ballater this afternoon just before the sun disappeared on the horizon. It was the longest night of the year last night, the winter solstice, so from here on in the days will start to get longer.


Ballater is a gorgeous little village surrounded by hills and forests and right next to the River Dee which flows all the way to Aberdeen. Some of the surrounding hills have snow on the their peaks so we plan to go in search of this snow over the next couple of days.

There’s not one but two bookshops on the main street here which is a very good sign. I tend to judge a place by the number of bookstores and two-dollar shops it has. If the two-dollar shops (or in this case one-pound shops) outnumber the bookstores then it’s probably not such a great place. Ballater also has a couple of wonderful opshops (charity shops) which may even have some outcasts from Kate herself, given the proximity of Ballater to Balmoral Castle. I got this dress this afternoon for £10. This is reasonably pricey for an opshop but it’s Laura Ashley and in great condition. It’s also quite sparkly in real life, something my camera failed to capture. A perfect dress for Christmas lunch.



  1. The dress looks lovely. I also like the hint of “tartan” in the furnishings in the background. Scotland truly is a lovely place, and I am very happy you show us photos from around different areas.
    Have a lovely holiday with your sister, and Happy Christmas to you all 🙂

    1. Thank you! Merry Christmas to you and your family too. I love all the tartan here. It’s everywhere: the curtains, bedspreads, cushions, even carpet in pubs is tartan 🙂

  2. Wait, Ballater has 2 bookshops? I don’t recall being sucked into them when I was up there 10 years ago, they must be new.
    The Aboyne area has lots of nice neolithic stone circles and long barrows, very interesting to visit. The circles are often aligned with the solstices it seems, so yesterday would have been a good day to visit one.
    As for snow, yes, there may well be some at the tops of the hills, but take care at Glenshee, it’s a nice steep road, although from Ballater you’ll be going downhill.
    The ski centre at the top of the pass has plenty of tracks leading up to the hills, so you can wander up to nearly munro level easily enough. Who knows, you might even see some hares up there, I’ve twice seen large gatherings of them.

    1. Not only does Ballater have two bookshops, it has zero one pound shops 🙂 I can’t stand those shops.

      Thanks for the tip about stone circles. We’ll go in search of some. I find those things very interesting.

      Which is better: Glenshee or Lecht?

      1. I have no idea because I don’t go skiing.
        As for finding stone circles, the internet should provide, although a 1:50,000 OS map will be necessary.

    1. Opshops have lots of nice things, it’s just a matter of sifting through all the crap they also tend to accumulate. They’re not nicely presented like regular clothing shops so you have to keep this in mind and not have the same expectations.

  3. You have added yet another reason for my wife and I to do a long talked about campervan trip around Scotlad. The views look stunning (and the dress isn’t bad either 🙂 )

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