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Surviving Scottish Weather: A Comedy Guide to Packing for Braemar

Well Braemar  -  Where the hills are alive with the sound of bagpipes and the weather changes faster than you can say "haggis". Packing to come here, that is Braemar, requires  a strategic approach, a little bit of humour and possibly even a little bit of magic. Welcome to the survival guide that guarantees you won't be caught in a downpour without your brolly or overheating in your kilt.

Firstly, we need to remember that the Scottish weather can be like a mood swing on the bagpipes - unpredictable and bound to leave you questioning your life choices. Pack layers, not just for warmth but for the thrill of an impromptu fashion show as you shed or put on items of clothes at the whims of the weather gods.

 

Braemar can boast four seasons in one day, so a waterproof jacket is your best friend. It pays to invest in one that's as reliable as a favourite whisky - both should keep you warm and with a hint of smokiness !

As for footwear, remember to bring some sturdy shoes or boots that can handle both mud and rocks. You want to resemble a Highland dancer trying to navigate puddles in dainty dancing shoes !

 

And let's not forget the midge repellent for mild, calm evenings in summertime - those tiny, relentless beasties have a fondness for unsuspecting tourists that rivals Nessie's affinity for photobombing.

Enjoy your visit,  I'm sure you'll have a ball !

 

Northern Lights From Braemar Caravan Park

When the weather patterns are correct for sightings of the Northern Lights, where else would you rather be that in your own caravan, motorhome, camper van or tent at the caravan park all set to see the stunning Aurora Borealis.

This natural phenomenon produces a breathtaking show with an array of colours with greens, blues and even reds. The array occurs when the sun fires particles in Earth's direction. These particles are then deflected by the Earth's atmosphere which creates the dancing display of colour that we see in the Northern Sky.

These Northern Lights are best seen across Aberdeenshire & Aberdeen and in conditions where there is little or no light pollution in the vicinty of the observer. With our location being in the correct latitude for viewing the lights and the the best time of year to see them is winter.

Ideal location to view is down the bottom end of park, furthest from the reception and toilet block lighting,  pitches 36 - 40 or pitches 43-48.

Other examples of locations in the area would be on the roadside in some of the laybys nearer the top of Glenshee, some of the coastal beaches around Aberdeen and away from any street lighting or the roadside on the way up to Tomintoul. An outstanding picture below was taken by a customer staying with us recently on the park.

This customer was staying with us on pitch 36 and had booked in with the intention of capturing an image due to the planned weather conditions.

 

 Perhaps the next time, when the conditions are correct for viewing this phenomenon, you may consider Braemar Caravan Park as an ideal location.

A Trip into Aberdeen

For anyone looking for inspiration and somewhere to go for a day trip out then Aberdeen has a multitude of options for all types of people and with a whole city to discover then I hope this blog offers you some ideas.

After leaving Braemar follow the A83 eastwards towards Balmoral and Ballater direction. The A83 is the main road leading straight to Aberdeen, without any detours, and will take on average 1hr 15mins dependant on traffic.

You will pass some familiar places on the way, Balmoral, Crathie Kirk, Ballater, Aboyne and Banchory. All worthy of a visit on another day out.

Aberdeen, being the third largest city in Scotland, has a wealth of things to do from places to see, places to eat and a whole host of interesting architecture finished in the characteristic, glistening, grey granite stone.

Parking in and around the city is made easier with the plentiful supply of easy to follow signposted parking areas.

Visitors to the city can enjoy a wide variety from golf courses, shop lined streets and modern shopping arcades to the two miles of sandy beaches on the east coast and the numerous parks making this a very green city in the sunny summer months.

Within these parks are some very interesting bridges. One of these can be accessed via Seaton Park and is the oldest bridge in Scotland, the Brig o'Balgownie or Bridge of Don. This bridge was built on the instruction of Robert the Bruce around 1320 and restored in 1607.

In another park, Duthie Park, you will find another old bridge, the Brig o'Dee. This was built in the 1520's and is decorated with coats of arms and many inscriptions. This park is also home to one of the largest winter gardens in the world.

When wandering around the city you will find many interesting buildings well worth a visit. In Castlegate you will find the Tolbooth Museum, formerly the town hall and prison, inside you will find extraordinary displays on crime and punishment including a prison cell dating from the 1600's used to imprison Scots prisoners after the battle of Culloden.

Whist in Castlegate, across from the Tolbooth Museum, you will also find the very ornate and elaborate Mercat Cross. This dates back to 1686 and signified Aberdeens right to hold a market and was built by the city guild of merchants.

From here enjoy a wander down busy and bustling Union Street which can be traced back some 200 years with a multitude of shops, arcades and cafes.

Aberdeen is also a busy fishing port and is a main ferry point for Orkney and Shetland islands as well as having been heavily involved in the oil and gas industry since the 1970's.

Another fascinating area worth a visit and away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets is Old Aberdeen and thoroughly recommended for a different experience. Medieval cobbled streets and buildings have a wealth of history to open your eyes and imagination. To find this area head for Old Aberdeen which is well signposted on the city street signs. This area was originally an independant town from Aberdeen between 1499 and 1891.

In the few, short examples I have mentioned above, my wish is that you may be inspired to discover this fascinating and historical city, Aberdeen, and tell others of your interesting day out.

I hope you enjoy your day out in Aberdeen and return home feeling another visit must be made to satisfy your need to see areas that you have missed on your first visit..

 

Major Conservation Grant Awarded for River Clunie Works

Major Conservation Grant Awarded for River Clunie Works

Angus MacNicol for Invercauld Estate

 

It may not have looked like it for much of last summer, but a lot of water flows through the catchment of the River Clunie south of Braemar. Covering over 40 square miles of Invercauld Estate up to Glenshee Ski Centre, the catchment includes the Callater and Baddoch glens as well as the main stem of the Clunie itself.  Loch Callater, which is around 8 kilometers south-east of Braemar, collects around 20% of the water that ultimately flows through the River Clunie by the time it reaches the village. 

Work of Gamekeepers

This catchment is a hive of activity, focussed on conservation of the environment for nature (including mankind). In the hill our gamekeepers burn heather to encourage it to naturally regenerate and manage foxes and weasels which eat the eggs of grouse and other ground nesting birds. They also control the number of wild red deer to maintain these at sustainable level, providing sport and food into the bargain.

Some of the conservation undertaken in the catchment however is perhaps more apparent to the casual observer and this is so particularly in and adjacent to the water. Over the past ten years or so, the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust have been working with Invercauld to install thousands of trees on the banks of the Clunie, Callater and Baddoch.  Some of these can be seen when driving along the A93. The intention is that once they are grown, the shade from these trees will provide a cooling effect in the water for salmon and pearl mussels and also a source of insects for young fish.

 

 

Awarded Nature Restoration Grant

Recently, we were delighted that NatureScot awarded a major grant of £209,000 from its Nature Restoration Fund to undertake more work in this riparian environment. This will include the installation of 'woody debris' in some sections of the River Clunie with a low gradient. This involves long tree trunks with their roots still attached being driven deep into the bed of the river, mimicking a process that happens naturally. Over time eddying caused by the tree roots creates pools of deeper water for fish and other wildlife. A significant number of these woody debris structures have already been installed in the River Gairn in the northern part of the estate. It is hoped the woody debris will also slow the River Clunie to a degree, although unfortunately we would not expect this to be significant enough to help when we face extreme flood events like Storm Frank.

 

 

Additional Restorative Works

Other work under the project will include digging wader scrapes. A number of these have also been created at Invercauld over recent years where a digger makes a shallow bowl in the ground with gently sloping sides - these then fill with water and the chicks of wader species such as curlew and lapwing are able to make a short walk to partake of some light refreshment. Additional tree planting along the edge of the river will also be carried out as the project progresses, along to those already planted.

You may see some of this work underway over the next few months if you are driving south on the road or out enjoying a walk on some of the hill tracks south of Braemar.  Hopefully over time it will help in the management of this precious environment and the huge volume of water that runs through it.

 

Wildlife In and Around Braemar Caravan Park

Wildlife In And Around Braemar Caravan Park

 

During all seasons of the year you will be able to spot a variety of wildlife which resides on or near Braemar Caravan Park whilst staying with us. 

I hope you and your family take some time to find the wildlife surrounding you whilst visiting this wonderful area within the Cairngorms National Park.

 

What Wildlife Could I See ?

 

 Red Squirrel

Red squirrels are fantastic, quirky characters and provide hours of entertainment watching their antics. They can be found around Braemar Caravan Park and prefer woodland areas with mixed conifers. They do not hibernate in winter but manage to get through by searching for the food they have buried throughout the autumn months.

 

 

Red Deer

Red deer can be seen all around Invercauld Estate land, hillsides, mountaintops and even down to Braemar village and the surrounding area through the colder, harsher winter months. The more years the deer age, the larger the antlers grow. Deer can live anywhere from 16 to 20 years.

 

Osprey

Ospreys can be found, during the summer months, in the surrounding areas around Braemar. They head south during September/October as the weather starts to become colder. Ospreys are great fish eating birds of prey and can be found hunting close to rivers.

 

 Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle can be found in remote glens around the north of Scotland. With a wingspan of just over two metres, they can be seen soaring high up searching for food. Their diet consists of rabbit, smaller birds, foxes or even small deer. Sea eagles also come inland and can sometimes be seen around Invercauld Estate's quieter glens.

 

Mountain Hare

Mountain hares are masters of camouflage ! They can change their body colours to blend in with the terrain around them. In the winter months they will become fully white to suit the snow covered hillsides surrounding them. In spring and summer, their coat will become a mix of brown colours which blend with the grasses and heathers around them.

 

Pine Martin

Pine Martins are extremely agile creatures and greatly suited to tree climbing. Their claws for gripping the trees when climbing and their tails assist with their balance. Pine martins usual habitat is within woodland areas with a mix of trees and fallen trees. 

 

Wren

These little birds only weigh as much as a £1 coin ! They are agile little characters and live on tiny insects such as spiders, beetles, bugs and caterpillars. Wrens have a lifespan of around 2 years and these tiny birds can easily be seen around the caravan park. 

 

Where Am I Likely To See These Animals ?

 

The great news is they are all native to this area of north Scotland and The Cairngorms National Park

Whilst staying with us at Braemar Caravan Park and taking a quiet walk around the outskirts of the village or the wooded hillsides, your chances of seeing and hearing the native wildlife will increase dramatically.

Staying on the caravan park itself will also help you see some of the smaller animals mentioned above.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Places to Eat in Braemar During Winter Season

Places to Eat in Braemar During Winter Season

 

I am sitting here thinking about the various dining establishments, within Braemar, for customers to eat in the evenings whilst staying with us at Braemar Caravan Park, during the winter season running from December to the end of March.

Depending on the type of food you like to eat and the environment offered, perhaps I can help you make a more informed choice by listing a few of the options available to you.

 

Where to Eat in Braemar

I have listed some of the choices available to you, in no particular order :-

Farquarsons Bar & Kitchen

Farquharson's  Bar & Kitchen offer a well liked, varied menu, with a twist on traditional Scottish fayre with a varied choice of starters, mains and desserts. Offering a warm environment with a cosy log fire.

Opening times, contact number and reviews can be found on the following link:  Farquharson's Bar & Kitchen

 

The Flying Stag (at The Fife Arms)

 

 

 The Flying Stag was created as an atmospheric place where locals and visitors alike would spend time enjoying tasty, hearty, Scottish foods along with local beers, Scottish whiskies and spirits.

Opening times and seasonal menu information can be found on the following link: The Flying Stag at Fife Arms

 The Kings Larder

The Kings Larder is one of the most recent additions in the village although the staff and the chef (Mike Watt) are all recognisable from The Braemar Lodge Hotel prior to the devastating fire earlier in 2022.

This can be found at the same location that The Cairn Grill was previously operating from. Down the steps at the front of The Bothy Cafe.

They have created a warm, intimate and relaxed environment in which to enjoy a wide variety of gins, whiskeys and beers from the bar and the delicious and much loved meals created by Mike, the chef.

Opening times and further information is available on the following link:  The Kings Larder

 

When to Eat in Braemar

 All of the above restaurants in Braemar offer food in the evenings. Some will serve food at lunch times.

Some of these restaurants are also offering a pre ordered takeaway service at certain times of the year. Please call ahead to check individuals timings and menu options for this service.

Please follow the links given, for each restaurant, to check menu and food times available.

Each establishment does advise calling and booking to avoid disappointment.

 

What to Eat in Braemar

Each restaurant offers a wide variety of choices, starters, mains and desserts. 

The theme running across all the menus is one of hearty Scottish fayre. Most offer a vegetarian option too. 

Please check with individual restaurants for their Gluten Free menu choice.

 

We hope to see you visit soon !!

 

October News From Braemar Caravan Park

All the latest news from around Braemar Caravan Park during the month of October. 

 

Winter Seasonal Pitches

Throughout this month our customers with winter seasonal pitches have been calling to confirm acceptance of their invitations and pay their seasonal pitch fees. We will have 50 winter seasonal pitches, again, this year at Braemar Caravan Park

If you haven't already let us know of your acceptance, please can we ask that you do this as soon as possible, either by calling reception on 01339 741373 or by emailing your acceptance to the invitation sent to you last month. We would like to be able to offer any new customers the chance to come onboard from the waiting list and to fill any pitches where invitations have been declined.  

 

Winter Closing Date 

The closing date for the park will be noon on the 31st of October 2022. For seasonal customers who are with us for both summer and winter season, please ensure you have packed your caravan down securely for the closed month of November, any customers who park their caravan with us over this period, also, please ensure that you have left a spare key at reception in case we need to move your caravan.

The park will reopen on Thursday the 1st of December 2022 at 9am for winter seasonal customers and 1pm for touring arrivals. Bookings are available online for December 2022 & then 2023 season at Braemar Caravan Park and Camping Pods.

 

Electricity By Pre Payment Meter

You may have read on our website, or pre arrival documentation, that from the 1st of December 2022 when the park re opens, electricity will not be included in the nightly rate and will be payable, at cost rate, via pre payment meter.

Each pitch with electric hook up will connect to a bollard with a pitch number with a meter clearly marked on it.

When a customer checks into reception, along with their map, they will receive a plastic pre payment card for their electricity during their stay.

This card will be topped up with an amount of electricity according to the customers request and paid for on check in. The amount of electricity used by a caravan or campervan will be relative to the items switched on inside.

There are ways of reducing your usage by making adjustments accordingly. Perhaps consider using a stove top, whistling kettle for gas hobs instead of an electric kettle, perhaps run the caravan/ motorhome main heater on gas for a lot of the day then switch over to electric, with the thermostat on a low setting, in order to kick in and out for overnight frost temperatures.

The hook up meters around park will be pre set at cost rate. This is the rate that Invercauld Estate pay our energy provider for electricity per Kw/hr. This rate will also be displayed in the reception window.

 

Photographic Competition

As the summer season at Braemar Caravan Park draws to a close then so does our Photographic Competition for this season. The closing date for the competition is also the 31st of October 2022.

There is still time to submit an entry and it is so easy to enter.  You've got to be in it to win it !!

  • Simply open your own Facebook page
  • Post/share the picture you wish to enter
  • Include the statement "I had a fantastic time at Braemar Caravan Park because........." and complete the sentence in your own words.
  • You must also tag your picture with  Braemar Caravan Park and Camping Pods  in order that we can see your entry. 
  • All these steps must be made in order to qualify as a valid entry. Only entries submitted through Facebook will be accepted.

This years prizes for the winner are : £100 voucher off a booking for next season and a meal for 2 in Farquarsons'  Bar and Kitchen based in Braemar village.

Good Luck and get posting those winning pics on your Facebook page !!

 

Eating Out In Braemar

This week has seen the opening of The Kings Larder in the village.

This is in the same premises where The Cairn Grill was located, on the side of the Bank building and to the front of The Bothy cafe.

This is being run by the owner and chef from Braemar Lodge Hotel. We wish them every success in their new venture. I am sure you will be keen to explore further and support them whilst visiting us. 

Remember to let us know about your experience.

 

 

We would like to thank all touring, pod and seasonal customers who have supported Braemar Caravan Park throughout this 2022 season and we look forward to your much appreciated support throughout the coming season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July - Latest News from Braemar Caravan Park

Latest News

The month of July is rapidly moving forwards and we continue to have some challenging weather events during this month. Last week has brought some record breaking temperatures across Aberdeenshire and indeed the rest of the UK, with Aboyne, especially, which broke their highest recorded temperature.

Bookings on the park continue to be very busy through this month, with most weekends being fully booked.

This is a combination of high season, school holidays and the welcome return of European visitors coming to the UK and touring Scotland in their motorhomes and caravans this year.

The Braemar Gathering on the first Saturday in September is also fast approaching and we continue to be involved with final preparations and ordering of items for the rally field and signage for the main road outside the entrance to the rally field area.

You will probably, no doubt, be aware that the Tour of Britain Cycle Stage is planned to run through Aberdeenshire on Sunday the 4th of September, the day after Braemar Gathering Saturday.

Various rolling road closures are planned along the A93 out of Aberdeen and the A93 through Braemar Will close at 11am prompt and remain closed up to Glenshee car park until 5-6pm, when the organisers deem it safe to re open the road.

 

 

 

April News from Braemar Caravan Park

April News From Around Braemar Caravan Park

 

We have now reached the month of April and this month brings a mix of unsettled showers, some wintry, and spells of sunshine. The evenings are stretching out as the days get a few minutes longer each day.

The daffodils around park have now forced their way through the ground and beginning to reach up a good 5 to 7 inches, it wont be long until we see the familiar, bright yellow flowers making their annual return around the park. This area tends to be, seasonally, about three to four weeks behind other areas around Scotland.

 

The arrival of April brings the welcome return of our summer seasonal touring customers to Braemar Caravan Park. We give a warm welcome to the seventeen of our summer seasonal customers, who have returned, and to the three new customers that have now accepted pitches and come onboard from the summer seasonal waiting list. 

From the start of summer season, the first of April, we have opened up all facilities around park. 

All water taps have now been drained back up, after the winter season, along with the small facility block, in the middle of the park, following the refit that was carried out during the winter months when the block was closed. We hope you enjoy using the updated facilities. The external hose reel at the motor home service point has also been refitted for your use.

 

The start of summer season brings the welcome return of regular stock deliveries of fresh bread, rolls, croissants and butteries in the shop at reception. Our supplier is Byron Bakery at Ballater, home of the famous Balmoral Bread.  We do hope you enjoy the produce as much as we do.

Welcome back to Averil and Alan, our Assistant Wardens, who have now started back full time with us throughout the summer season. 

 

I am sure we are all looking ahead to Easter weekend and the milder, warmer weather that has been forecast over this period. 

 

We look forward welcoming you on your arrival.

 

Latest News at Monday 25th January 2022

Latest News For Today, Monday 25th January 2022

 

Welcome to 2022 at Braemar Caravan Park.

We are all looking forward, with positivity, to the coming season and all that this brings.

 

Exciting news first, the renovation work on the small toilet and shower block is fast approaching completion and we cannot wait to see the end results. 

The Invercauld Estate maintenance team, the plumbers and the electricians, have spent many manhours within the block, during the blocks closed winter months, to ensure completion for Spring time 2022. 

I will take some photos within the small facility block, when the works are completed, and post these on the caravan park Facebook and Instagram pages to allow everyone a preview before re opening.

 

After calling nearly all the customers on the Winter Seasonal waiting list, to offer places for winter 2021/22, we are beginning to see more enquiries and the waiting list for Winter 2022/23 is beginning to grow again.

For Summer Seasonal 2022 pitches, the invitations should be emailed to existing Summer seasonal customers around late February, this then informs us of any spaces available for Summer 2022 season.

The numbers of interested people on the Summer seasonal waiting list remains very high and in the region of 50. This is due to the limited number of seasonal customers (20) on park through the summer season.

 

During the closed month of November 2021, The Invercauld Maintenance Team were onsite to carry out much needed repair work to the grass EHU pitches that run along the tree line and are numbered 87 to 97.

The top layer of grass has been cut out, a new layer of topsoil was then added and new rolls of turf were laid and finally rolled flat. This will make a huge difference to all the tent electric customers who appreciate being on pitches that are on flat level ground.

 

Bookings are increasing now, both online and over the telephone, on a daily basis. Although there is a lack of snow, at present, and the weather has been unseasonably mild for a few weeks, the park has been very close to full on Friday and Saturday nights for the last couple of weekends.

 

We still have a few spaces for February half term at the moment.

Please use this link which will take you to our bookings page online.  Follow This Link To Book

 

Looking forward to the coming season.