Braemar Highland Games and Local Info
Having arrived in Braemar just a few weeks ago to take on the position of Assistant Manager at the Invercauld Arms, I have been amazed at the village, and the area, and just what goes on around here.
Our hotel is in a stunning location, nestling between the Eastern edge of the Cairngorm Mountains and the fringe of Royal Deeside. Just this morning I woke up to glorious sunshine and here is a picture of the view from my bedroom window. You are looking across to the Ballochbuie Forest.
For serious walkers there is a wealth of walks and trails in the mountainous surroundings. For those who enjoy a less strenuous stroll, there is a seemingly unending choice of walks along and around the River Dee and in the beautiful Glen Clunie running south out of the village.
Braemar is the highest parish in the UK with the centre of the village standing at 339 metres, or 1112 feet, above sea level. It has a golf course set in idyllic scenery and although it is a seasonal course, there is a plethora of year-round courses along the Dee valley. Balmoral castle is just 9 miles to the east.
Do you recognise this scene? Taken from a slightly different angle from the original, as I am not (yet!) permitted to enter the Royal estate, this is the site of the famous “Charles and Diana” honeymoon photo. Just a 12 minute drive from the Hotel.
9 miles in a southerly direction is the largest and best ski resort in Scotland at Glenshee (I guess I must have looked mildly eccentric when I arrived here at the beginning of July, and the first item to come out of the van was my skis!).
If you want to take in the views from the top of a Cairngorm mountain you could go up The Carinwell at 933 metres, or 3061 feet making it a “Munro”. If you don’t relish the climb, then just drive 9 miles south of Braemar to the ski resort and there is a chairlift taking you to the top which operates all year round.
You do, sometimes, get an interruption…
Braemar is, of course, World famous for the Highland Gathering (or Games) which is attended each year by Her Majesty the Queen, during her annual period of residency at Balmoral. All such events in Braemar start from the Invercauld Arms. This is because our site has a very important place in Scottish History. On the 6th September 1715, following the Highland Gathering, the participants marched back to the Invercauld Arms lead by the Earl of Mar who, as an act of rebellion, raised the Royal Standard which marked the beginning of the Jacobite Revolution. A plaque marking the exact spot where this happened is on the wall, by a fireplace, in of one of our lounges, the Writing Room, inside the hotel.
In recent years the Junior Highland Games has been formed. The games follow the same structure as the Highland Gathering with many traditional Scottish competitions throughout the day. It is preceded by an evening charity dinner-dance on the Friday before the games which was great fun.
The Junior Games took place last Saturday, the 14th July, and in line with tradition, the games started with the pipe band marching from the Invercauld Arms to the Games Field. At the conclusion of the day’s games, the band returned to the Invercauld and played for a while outside the Hotel (before coming in for liquid refreshment!).
When the band finished playing, our General Manager, Jane Barr, took the salute and called for them to “fall-out”. Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of this as I had to go inside to assist with a busy drinks service!
Guest post by Tony Gaze – Assistant Manager
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