Sgor Buidhe Circuit, Ballater

Sgor Buidhe Circuit Walk

Enjoy enchanting views of Royal Deeside

The clue is in the name: Sgor Buidhe, meaning yellow peak in Gaelic, is an uphill walk that delivers stunning views of the valley below and neighbouring mountains. The terrain is varied, taking you up country paths beside idyllic farmer’s fields, through pine forest and onto heather moorland.

Showing Sgor Buidhe walk Ballater, Cairngorms

Walk Directions

the beginning

This circular walk exploring Sgor Buidhe and neighboring hills begins in the car park in front of Ballater’s restored railway station. There is a signposted gap at the end of the building, taking you down the old railway route. You will shortly come to a footpath sign indicating a turn left into a housing estate. Follow this until you come to a footpath marked with yellow posts which will take you along a track running beside farmers fields. Soon, you will come to another housing estate. Walk straight across the road and join onto the Pass of Ballater road.

the climb

You will reach a forest path travelling upwards onto Sgor Buidhe. The path climbs through the forest and the views become more attractive the higher you climb. After some time the woods thin out and the track moves left towards a radio transmitter mast; take the grassy path ahead of you instead. You will arrive at an information board, continue straight on the path ahead until you find a fork off to the right.

Reaching the moors

A beautiful landscape opens up as you head uphill – you can see the river Dee as well as across to Lochnagar. Depending upon the time of day, the light illuminates the trees in a warm glow, creating a magical feeling. 


Continue straight ahead on the track as the last of the trees are left behind, soon joining onto the moors. After some time you will pass a small white boulder which marks the highest point on the whole ridge. Here is a nice place to pause and take in the view around you. And if you’re lucky you may even see a golden eagle, or some other iconic Highland wildlife.

Showing Sgor Buidhe walk, Ballater, Royal Deeside

down the hill

Join a newer track that runs beside the one you are on, as eventually this curves to the left and begins descending, taking you through an interesting mixed woodland. Here you may see mushrooms in the grass, or small birds flying between the trees.


At the bottom of the woods, the path curves to the right, past the ruin of an old steading. There is then a left turn at a fence corner that will take you into the trees once more. Turn left onto a grassy track through a gate. Along this track you will soon reach a farmhouse, with wonderful sights up the Dee valley. You will finally come once again to the Pass of Ballater road, turn right here until you come to the A96.

coming to an end

The walk is soon coming to the end. Cross the A96 carefully and go through a gap in the fence that will take you onto a zig zagging path down a bank. Then, turn left along a wide path, the river Dee accompanying you for the last stretch of this walk through pinewoods. 


Continue straight ahead until you come to a “T” junction, turning left in order to reach the A93. Finally, turn right along this to return to the beginning of the walk. You will arrive back in Ballater, ready to enjoy a well earned hot drink in one of the cosy local cafes.

Be sure to take a look at the rest of the walks on our walking page to find your next local adventure!

Walk Gallery

Showing Sgor Buidhe walk, Ballater, Cairngorms National Park

One of the first paths you will take beside farmers fields

Show Sgor Buidhe walk, Ballater, Royal Deeside

Exploring the trees

Showing Sgor Buidhe walk, Royal Deeside, The Cairngorms

Skip over the stones!

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