The best time for...

With its rich array of scenery, wildlife and cultural history, there is a boundless source of things to see and discover in this ever-changing landscape. Some of Deeside's visitor attractions are seasonal and some of its natural wonders best seen at certain times of the year. Depending upon your interests this section may give you some idea of when to visit.

Wild animals and plants

  • Red deer: herds make their way down to the lower slopes during the cooler winter months and are easier to see. During the autumn rut the stags can be heard roaring on the hillsides.
  • Birds: wide seasonal variety all year round. The winter spectacle of thousands of geese roosting on the Dinnet lochs is particularly worth seeing.
  • Plants and flowers: most lush in June-July. The heather moors come alive with bloom during August-September. The forest's many broad-leaved trees as well as the larch turn a spectacular variety of golden shades in the autumn.

Downhill skiing, ski touring and ice-climbing

  • Variable and unpredictable, however this changeability does mean that good conditions can build up quite quickly. Check locally for details as conditions change week to week. Usually January-April, but can be as early as November in some years.


  • Excellent variety of walks accessible all year round. You can expect snow underfoot on the hills anytime between October and May depending upon winter conditions. Underfoot conditions at other times of the year are usually dry on surfaced paths and tracks, but waterproof boots are needed for venturing further.


  • Generally the summer months, particularly for the mountain crags, but in winter some pleasant climbing can be found on low lying south-facing crags and on Aberdeen's sea-cliffs.


  • Spring, summer and autumn, and through the winter if you're keen enough - just beware of snow and ice. The shoulder months have much less traffic for cycle touring along the many country roads. The forest trails are generally accessible throughout the year for mountain bikers but open glen and hill tracks may be blocked with snow in winter.

Touring the castles, distilleries, visitor centres etc.

  • May-October, as some are closed over the winter. However, with the exception of the ski centres, accommodation is often cheaper and places less crowded during the winter months.

Highland Games

  • The first games are in August and they run almost every weekend in a different location until the beginning of September. On Deeside you can visit the Aboyne and Ballater Games in August and the Braemar Gathering in September.

Agricultural Shows

  • In the summer months many of the towns and villages on Deeside also host agricultural shows. For example there are annual shows in Banchory, Echt and Tarland.

Upper Deeside Access Trust · Unit 1, Aboyne Castle Business Centre, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, AB34 5JP
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