The Ballochbuie Forest is a fine remnant of the ancient Caldeonian forest which once covered much of Scotland. It was saved from being felled by Queen Victoria in 1878 and is the first example of woodland conservation in Scotland. Since then subsequent generations of the royal family have protected it. It’s not hard to see why the Royal Family is well-liked in this region. Some of the trees here are more than 400 years old and the forest is home to two species of endangered birds.
There’s a wonderful walk which goes over the Invercauld Bridge, a very handsome stone bridge built in 1752 over the River Dee.
It’s not the only fine bridge on this walk. There’s a marvellous suspension bridge that I’ve often admired from the road and always wanted to look at close-up. This also spans the River Dee.
Then there’s a third bridge over the Falls of Garbh Allt, pronounced garuv owlt which means “rough burn”. A burn is the Scottish word for a stream. The inscription on this bridge says “Blaikie Brothers Aberdeen 1878”.
We went for a swim and it was invigorating. Perhaps not quite as cold as the Linn of Quoich but not far off. However, you get used to the temperature surprisingly quickly and it’s so refreshing.
If you come for a walk here don’t leave a trace that you have been. Take your litter with you (including cigarette butts) and if you see litter left by other people pick it up and take it home. We all have a responsibility to protect this magical part of the world. The landscape is so rich and the water quality so good that we ought to protect it with the ferocity of a lioness protecting her cubs. Never take it for granted and make sure others do not either.
There are toilets in the carpark at Keiloch which is near the entrance to the Invercauld Estate. The carpark costs £3.
On our walk back we saw this little toad.