A lovely walk in The Cairngorms
Enjoy great views and incredible landscape
Craigdendarroch may be a small hill, but it has a big place in the affections of Ballater folk. It is a steep walk, but when you reach the top you will be rewarded with superb views across Ballater and all the way to Cairngorms. At the top you will find a distinctive geological feature: deep score-marks in the rocks remind of the second to last Ice Age, in which rocks in a glacier dragged across it.
The walk starts from the restored railway station in the centre of Ballater. Here you turn right along the main road in the direction of Braemar and you follow the Craigendarroch Walk for a few meters until you take the path branching off to the left. The path through the oakwoods leads you to a red marker post where you turn left.
to the summit
From here the path climbs steeply up from side to side. When you reach a signed junction you turn to the right to go up to the summit. As you get closer to the summit the woodland changes from deciduous trees into coniferes, and the ground becomes more rocky.
The river dee
After a short time the trees open out into a clearing and you will get superb views of Ballater and the river Dee. Walk a short distance further and you will reach the true summit. From here you can see Lochnagar in the southwest, Ballater and Pannanich HIll across the valley and Mount Keen behind it, and the Dee valley.
take a seat
On the summit you will find a bench and a post with a bronze plate which indicates the viewpoint in each direction. From here you take the path that leads down to Craigendarroch, this is the path pointing directly away from Ballater village.
Back to ballater
The descent is quite steep and rocky. It will meet up with a path that runs around the hill. From here you can turn right to quickly return to Ballater, or left if you want to see some more of the area. If you take the path to the left, soon the crags across the Pass of Ballater come into view. The path descends in a series of zig zags until you reach the Pass. Slowly the pine forest changes into an oak forest and you reach the junction where you ascended the hill before. Trace your steps back to the start of the walk in Ballater.
Ballater, looking from Craigendarroch viewpoint
Craigendarroch's summit indicator, shows height and directions of prominent peaks.
Craigendarroch descend to Ballater
Craigendarroch ascend through Cairngorms woodland
Craigendarroch's summit, facing west spectating Lochnagar
Craigendarroch' summit, facing south