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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.