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Ballater Kirk.jpg
Glenmuick Parish Church, in the square
Aberdeenshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Aberdeenshire
Population1,430 (mid-2020 est.) [1]
OS grid reference NO369958
  Edinburgh 76 mi (122 km)
  London 400 mi (644 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BALLATER
Postcode district AB35
Dialling code 01339
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°02′41″N3°02′58″W / 57.0448°N 3.04942°W / 57.0448; -3.04942 Coordinates: 57°02′41″N3°02′58″W / 57.0448°N 3.04942°W / 57.0448; -3.04942

Ballater ( /ˈbælətər/ , Scottish Gaelic : Bealadair) is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on the River Dee, immediately east of the Cairngorm Mountains. Situated at an elevation of 213 metres (699 feet), Ballater is a centre for hikers and known for its spring water, once said to cure scrofula. It is home to more than 1400 inhabitants and has had a long connection with the British Royal Family.



The old railway station now used as a visitor and exhibition centre Ballater visitor centre 26.03.14R.jpg
The old railway station now used as a visitor and exhibition centre
Victoria and Albert Halls Ballater Library (geograph 5786439).jpg
Victoria and Albert Halls

The medieval pattern of development along this reach of the River Dee was influenced by the ancient trackways across the Grampian Mounth, which determined strategic locations of castles and other Deeside settlements of the Middle Ages. [2]

In the early 14th century, the area was part of the estates of the Knights of St John, but the settlement did not develop until around 1770; first as a spa resort to accommodate visitors to the Pannanich Mineral Well, then later upon the arrival of the railway in 1866 it was visited by many tourists taking advantage of the easier access thus afforded. The Victoria and Albert Halls, opposite the railway station, were completed in 1895. [3]

Ballater railway station, the former terminus of the Deeside Railway, was closed in 1966, but remains in use as a visitor centre with an exhibition recording the village's royal connection. Many buildings date from the Victorian era and the centre of the village is a conservation area. The old visitor centre was substantially damaged by fire in May 2015 but has subsequently been restored and reopened. [4]

Glenmuick Church

After the bridge over the River Dee had been built the village developed with a "Centrical Church" replacing the churches at Tullich, Glengairn and Foot o' Gairn which had become ruins. [5]

A foundation stone was laid in 1798 and the first service was held on 14 December 1800. The church was designed by Mr Massey of Aberdeen and cost £670. It measured 72 feet (22 m) long by 34 feet (10 m) wide. Doors, at the east and west ends, each had a stair leading to a gallery. The building had four windows at the front and two gable windows, all glazed with plain glass. In the interior was a pulpit, a sound board, a latron and stair and rail. In 1879 a clock was manufactured by Messrs Gillett & Brand of Croydon; the winding mechanism was electrified in 1982. A vestry was added in the early 1850s. [5]

Royal connection

Balmoral Castle, the British Royal Family's holiday home, lies 7 miles (11 kilometres) west, and the family has visited the town frequently since the time of Queen Victoria. Birkhall lies 1 mile (1.5 kilometres) southwest of Ballater. Victoria Barracks is used by the Royal Guard for the castle. [6]

For decades, local stores had Royal Warrants bestowed upon them. Five years after the death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who had granted them, the warrants lapsed and, to the chagrin of many townsfolk and especially shop owners, they were not renewed. [7] Shops which still display the arms marking the royal warrant include the butchers, H. M. Sheridan. [8]

In September 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the cortège bearing her coffin passed through the village, on its way to Edinburgh. [9]


A Met Office weather station collects weather data at Balmoral, just over 7 miles (11 kilometres) west of Ballater. Like the most of Scotland and the British Isles, Ballater experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Its upland position means temperatures throughout the year are cooler than lower-lying areas, and snowfall more plentiful during winter months.

Climate data for Balmoral (283 m or 928 ft asl, averages 1971–2000, extremes 1960–present)
Record high °C (°F)15.8
Average high °C (°F)4.6
Average low °C (°F)−2.0
Record low °C (°F)−23.5
Average precipitation mm (inches)96.72
Source 1: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI [10]
Source 2: Met Office for December record high [11]


Ballater is a centre for tourism in Royal Deeside, with the Cairngorms and Balmoral Castle nearby. There are two bike hire shops in the village.

The old Ballater station, containing Queen Victoria's waiting room, was for many years a visitor centre with a replica royal carriage. [12] However, the building was almost completely destroyed by fire in 2015. The rebuilding of the station, bistro and adjoining visitor centre was undertaken and subsequently completed in Autumn 2018. [13] Balmoral Castle is a 10-minute drive from the village.

There are many walks from the village. For the easy going walker, there is Craigendarroch, a small, peculiarly shaped hill near the village. About 12 km (7 miles) south-west of Ballater is Loch Muick. From there experienced walkers can head up the prominent mountain, Lochnagar. Ballater is the home of many challenging walks due to the abundance of Munroes in the area.

There are many well-mapped cycle routes from Ballater into the surrounding areas, including the Deeside Way and a number of popular mountain biking trails. The forests at Cambus o'May have trails for experienced riders. [14]

The River Dee flows through Ballater, and is famous for salmon fishing.

Events in the town include:

The village has its own 'tongue in cheek', on-line newspaper, the Ballater Bugle. [18]

Recently five Ballater residents refurbished the Automobile Association's Patrol Box at Cambus o'May, one of only an estimated 8 to 10 such historical call boxes remaining in situ in Great Britain. [19]


There is a bus garage located near to the village centre which provides an hourly public service to Aberdeen's Union Square bus station. The bus company was granted permission to build a new site at Pannanich Road in December 2014. [20] In April 2015 the bus station was re-opened as a Co-op supermarket. [21]

Notable residents


See also

Related Research Articles

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  2. C. Michael Hogan. "Elsick Mounth, The Megalithic Portal". ed. A. Burnham. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  3. Historic Environment Scotland. "Station Road, Albert Memorial and Victoria Halls and Gordon Institute (LB21833)" . Retrieved 11 September 2022.
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  5. 1 2 "The Church". 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
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  14. "". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  15. "Ballater Walking Festival". Royal Deeside. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  16. "Ballater Boules Challenge" . Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  17. "Queen Victoria: Spirit Of Ballater" . Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  18. Ballater Bugle website
  19. "The Start of it all". Saving AA Box 472 Campaign website. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
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  21. yunorisson BALLATER BUZZ NEWS CHANNEL (2 April 2015), Ballater, Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK New Co Op Opening, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 29 July 2016
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  23. "Community Council Ballater". Ballater and crathie community council. Retrieved 24 August 2021.