Ballochbuie Forest is an area of woodland which extends to approximately 2,500 acres and includes one of the most significant remnants of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest in the country. Now part of the Balmoral Estate, it was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1878, who was concerned about the logging of the fine Scots Pine trees which were being felled to be sold to an Aberdeen timber merchant. This is said to represent the first significant act of woodland conservation in Scotland. The pinewood has since been preserved by successive generations of the Royal Family, and the forest is now designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the European Habitats Directive, with some of the trees having been dated to more than 400 years old
The forest is criss-crossed by many forest paths and you can spend many hours exploring and finding compositions among the Pines and along the many streams and rivers flowing down to the River Dee.
This Guide just covers one walk which I think provides a great introduction to the potential of this forest. However, I do recommend exploring further as there is so much to photograph.
But this exploring can be tiring. When you go “off-path” the travelling is hard with deep heather, bogs and snags to slow you down; but it is worth it.
Braemar : Scotland
Tiring – Lots of up-hill forest paths; when moving off path for compositions lots of boggy ground and deep heather to move through.
Time to Location
1 hour 15 minutes
Distance to Location
Paid Car Park at Invercauld Estates
View on Google Maps
All information correct as of October 2022
Leave the car park and cross the road. Take the path opposite and make your way through the woods to the footbridge over the river. Once over the river, take the path to your left and follow this until you reach a cross-road. Head straight on (i.e., the middle path) and stay on this path, crossing the small stream until the path bears to the left, with a gate just before the bend. Go through the gate and head up the path.
When you get to (A) you can take a short detour (by taking the path to your left) to see the Garbh Allt Falls, overlooked by a graceful, green iron arch bridge (B). Heading back to the main path, continue to follow the path up the hill and then take the path on your left. Again, keep to this path until you get to the next junction and here take the left-hand path and follow it over the footbridge.
All along this section (between C and E) are multiple opportunities for compositions as you make you way along the path, but to get the most of this area, it is really best to leave the path and explore the forest down to the river.
As you progress along the path, note the footbridge (D) is no longer there and you need to cross the river using the stepping stones. If the river is high, it is best not to attempt to cross.Download file for GPS
Some images captured at this location: –