Packed Events Year for "Can-Do Country"

>> 14 March 2017

A three-day mountain festival, a weekend of running races for all ages, and a week-long creative arts festival are among nearly 40 public events already lined up for Royal Deeside – branded ‘Can-Do Country’ for its vast range of visitor activities – in 2017.

These and other events, from cycling competitions and guided rides, to a musical ‘Mucklefest’ and a medieval banquet night, have been scheduled to complement the local shows and Highland games, including the world-famous Braemar Gathering, which already characterise the area.

Set in one of Britain’s most iconic rural areas, and favourite haunt of the Royal Family who regularly take up residence at Balmoral Castle, the area’s Can-Do Country brand reflects its many hands-on activities for visitors to experience independently or with expert tuition.

“The programme of events, the area’s fabled landscapes and the range of conventional visitor activities from historic sightseeing to golf are increasingly augmented by the opportunities for participation and tuition in more specialised pursuits such as gliding, wildlife photography and fly fishing,”

said Claire Fraser, who is Tourism, Heritage and Culture officer for Ballater Business Association.

“Most of the target visitors are looking to actively enjoy one or more recreational opportunities here, as well as appreciating its dramatic scenery, and that can mean simply eclectic retail therapy, good eating or the opportunity to take to a salmon river or the air under expert instruction.”

Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside councillor Geva Blackett, who is one of the driving forces behind the ‘Can Do Country’ project, said

“This area has so much to offer visitors but many don’t realise that there is so much more to the North-east than the Oil & gas industry – you can do almost anything you want here and at any level”

The communities, which include villages such as Ballater and Braemar as well as the Balmoral Estate, have set up a Royal Deeside travel channel on YouTube, using specially-shot film for a variety of social media and other outlets, as well as a destination website to inform and encourage visitors.

The website, at includes a timetable of events with links to each, such as this weekend’s Braemar Mountain Festival which includes themed films, talks, instruction on ski touring and use of cross-country skis, walks, arts and evening entertainment.

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