The Linn of Dee

Published on 13 November 2021 at 10:42

The meandering Dee

(Courtesy of Kathleen Day, photographer)


Judith has been busy again!


I live on Royal Deeside and tell friends that the best time to visit is in October when the trees are changing colour – and there are a great many trees on Deeside! My last outing was to the Linn of Dee near Braemar, a beauty spot which has been popular since Queen Victoria visited to have picnics.

“Linn” means 'a pool below a waterfall', which will, along with the photographs, give you an idea of what it is like. This Linn is a rocky chasm which has been chiselled out over the millennium by the Dee, one of Scotland’s mightiest rivers.  The Dee squeezes through this 300 metre-long gorge where the rock walls have been made smooth by the swirling water before widening out into a calm pool. You can walk on to the rock which juts out over the river and walk downstream alongside the river for a short distance.

Around the Linn are coniferous woods, with paths through them. We went a mile or so along one of the walks through the glen and then turned back.

The Linn of Dee is six miles beyond Braemar on a truly beautiful small, winding road. We stopped off in one of the laybys to look out over the wide glen through which the Dee meanders. The Cairngorms could be seen in the far distance, with snow already on their tops. September and October is the red deer rutting (mating) season and we could hear the stags roaring in the distance, at least a mile away.  It is a strange guttural noise, quite unlike anything else.

After lunch in one of the cafes in Braemar, a typical Highland village, we visited the Highland Games Centre, which tells the history of the Highland Games. Payment is “by donation”, something which one often comes across at small tourist attractions. It can be difficult to decide how much to pay; I usually give £4-£5

The Linn of Dee is on the Mar Lodge Estate, which is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. There is a car park, but be warned – it is often full in the summer and then cars are turned away so it is best to go first thing in the morning or late afternoon when there are fewer people.

A very primeval feeling

(Courtesy of Kathleen Day, photographer)

A true beauty spot

(Courtesy of Kathleen Day, photographer)


Only for serious walkers: a short distance further on from the Linn, on the Mar Lodge Estate, are the starting points for three tough longer-distance walks through the mountains:

  • The 19 mile walk through the Lairig Ghru, the best known hill-pass in Scotland to Coylumbridge, close to Aviemore;
  • The 22 mile track through Glen Tilt to Blair Atholl;
  • The 30 mile hefty walk through Glen Feshie to Kingussie.


A word of warning: The Scottish mountains can be a challenging environment, even in summer and this is an exceptionally remote area, where you may not have GPS or mobile phone signal. Ensure you have the appropriate navigational skills and equipment before you set off on any walk.



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