Mar Lodge Estate
Mar Lodge Estate
The Mar Lodge Estate is a 77,500 acre (31,363ha) natural wonderland, a part of the Cairngorms National Park. The Estate contains 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the UK and a remnant of a Caledonian pine forest. Wildlife and birdlife abound, and there are excellent short and long distance walks. Note that there are no visitor facilities.

Mar Lodge is a traditional Highland estate, though managed by the National Trust for Scotland, with opportunities for deer stalking, salmon fishing, grouse shooting, and hill walking the major activities. The north of the estate takes in the high peaks of the Cairngorms, sculpted by glaciers, while the land to the south is more gentle, with low, rolling hills. The geography is a mix of heather moorland, juniper scrub, and remnants of Caledonian pine forest.


The estate forms part of the ancient Earldom of Mar. After the 6th Earl joined the 1715 Jacobite rebellion the estate became forfeit to the crown. The Earl's brother Lord Grange stepped in and bought the estate to provide for the Earl's wife and son. The estate was then purchased by the Duff family, later Earls of Fife, and they held the estate into the 20th century. The Earls built a hunting lodge for family use, calling it Mar Lodge.

This was later rebuilt in 1895 as an ornate Victorian hunting lodge. The building was destroyed by fire in 1991. It was completely rebuilt, but transformed internally to provide holiday accommodation. The most impressive feature is a huge ballroom with 2435 red deer stag heads decorating the walls. In 1995 the National Trust for Scotland bought the entire estate to preserve its unique natural environment and wildlife habitat.

Linn o' Dee
Linn o' Dee

Linn o' Dee

One of the most popular visitor destinations in the Mar Lodge Estate is the Linn o' Dee, a favourite picnic spot for Queen Victoria, who used to come here from Balmoral Castle. The River Dee drops through a a narrow gorge, under a bridge opened by the Queen in 1875. There are picnic areas beside the river and long distance walking trails leading from the parking area.

Linn o' Quoich (The Punchbowl)

Harder to get to, but just as rewarding as Linn o' Dee is the Linn o' Quoich, on the north bank of the Dee. Quoich Water tumbles over striking waterfalls and through a series of sculpted hollows worn through the rocks. This area is called The Punchbowl, and is well worth the short walk through beautiful woodlands to enjoy.

The two Linns are the easiest part of the Estate to enjoy, but there are many more walking trails if you feel like a more challenging experience!


The easiest way to access Mar Lodge estate is simply to follow the minor road west from Braemar, along the south bank of the River Dee, towards Inverey and the Linn o' Dee. There is a paid parking area at Linn o' Dee and several popular trails lead further west or north to the heights of the Cairngorms. If you keep on the same road, it bends back along the north bank of the Dee and passes Mar Lodge itself on the right.

A few miles further on there is another parking area for Linn o' Quoich, where trails lead up Quoich Water, past the Punchbowl. There are guided walks in the summer months, and fabulous hill walking at any time. There are mountain bothies if you fancy tackling the roughest parts of the Cairngorm plateau, or one of the 15 Munros around the estate.