Mar Lodge EstateWritten by Administrator
Mar Lodge Estate occupies nearly 7% of the Cairngorms National Park, covering in total 29,380 hectares of some of the most remote and scenic wild land in Scotland, including four of the five highest mountains in the UK.
Within its boundaries are fine examples of classic features of a Highland landscape: remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forest, heather moorland, juniper scrub and a part of the high Cairngorm plateau.
The estate is recognised as one of the most important nature conservation landscapes in the British Isles.
What to see & do
The estate takes in 15 Munros and provides excellent opportunities for walking in the mountains of the Cairngorms. There are several mountain bothies, as well as opportunities for wild camping, to facilitate access and enjoyment of the mountains.
Walkers can also enjoy low-lying woodland and riverside walks. From the Linn of Dee car park, a nearby walk offers stunning views of a scenic gorge.
The estate holds a number of ceilidhs a year in the famous Stag Ballroom at Mar Lodge. Details and tickets for these are available from the Estate Office.
There are opportunities for salmon fishing, deer stalking and grouse shooting on the estate; details of these sports, as well as accommodation and bookings, can be obtained from the Estate Office.
Spring brings the first flush of green to the landscape, and much of the wildlife in the area comes to life. Black grouse can be seen at their traditional lek sites (areas where they traditionally display) and the river valleys fill with the sound of courting oystercatchers, lapwing and curlew. The early spring flowers, such as wood sorrel and bluebells, bring some colour to the woods. The stags cast their antlers during March and April and begin to grow new ones.
The mountains are at their most colourful now with the purple heather being in full bloom during July and August. The stags’ antlers are now fully grown and the velvet is beginning to fall from them. Young birds are to be seen everywhere and some of the young eagles will be seen taking their first flights in August. Stag stalking starts in July and the first of the salmon are running up the rivers.
The autumn colours of upper Deeside are fabulous and should not be missed. The cool misty mornings and evenings, interspersed with warm autumn days, probably provide the best conditions to enjoy the hills of the estate. During October the stags are rutting and looking their finest. They can be seen in many of the traditional rutting stands.
The winter provides wonderful opportunities for winter sports including ice climbing and cross-country skiing. The mountain hares are in their white winter coats, as are the ptarmigan on the mountain tops. The crisp cold weather of January and February provides spectacular snow and ice landscapes which are best appreciated when walking.
Mar Lodge Estate is run by the National Trust for Scotland. For more information including opening times and admission please see their website.