This day trip starts and ends in Banchory (ish). Easily accessible from Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Braemar, or Alford. In fact, it’s just very accessible! As well as mixing up landscapes with a bit of history and art, it focuses on great food and drink. All with a real local emphasis. Passionate producers, creative artisans, and beautiful scenery. So whether you enjoy it all on the day, buy something delicious to take home, or order some delectable comestibles online. Whatever your preference, discover the whole range of Deeside’s Delights, with Ginspired Scotland!
A short trip out of Banchory and crossing the Potarch Bridge over the River Dee will bring you to the Ballogie Estate and The Potarch Cafe. A perfect place to begin your day, with some coffee and a homemade piece. You’ll be needing the refreshments if you try your hand at carrying the Dinnie Stanes across the bridge! This feat was achieved by the redoubtable Donald Dinnie in 1860, when he carried both stones (together weighing 330 kg) across the 5m long bridge. He was a serious strongman and athlete, winning many prizes and becoming a celebrity before we knew the word existed. Others have managed it since, but you’ll need to have had a mighty bowl of porridge to start your day this way!
We recommend your chosen day for this trip is a Friday or a Sunday. The reason for this is that there are some pretty wonderful Scottish Gins made in Deeside. On these days you can get up close and personal with one of our favourites. Eenoo Gin is made at Lost Loch Distillery, near Aboyne. On Fridays and Sundays at 12 noon, it’s usually possible to pre-book a tour, complete with lots of information, and some samples too. Perhaps this will be your first visit to a gin producer, but you can come back for the full Gin School Experience once you get a flavour of this tasty topic.
Standing Stones & Country Kirks
Dragging yourselves away from Aboyne, head for some fresh air, and the remarkable stone circle at nearby Tomnaverie. No one can truthfully explain the reason for the shape and aspect of these stones, but note the ‘altar stone’ as it faces Lochnagar. Perhaps the mountains were regarded as gods, perhaps it had to do with tracking the moon and the sun and the seasons, perhaps it was none of the above. Perhaps we’ll never know, but it’s great fun to explore and hypothesise. You’re unlikely to be proved wrong after all!
Coming back to the present day, yet remaining with one foot in the past, do drop into the gorgeous and very atmospheric Migvie Kirk. It’s completely off the tourist path, but definitely worth a look. Created as a tribute to his mother by the estate owner, what was once a small and simple country kirk is now a jewel of art and reflected light. From the outside it offers little to give away it’s charms, but once through those carved oak doors, there’s a real sense of peace and refuge here. Give yourselves a little time to settle and enjoy it. This type of space is rare enough these days.
Another great reason for a weekend visit to this part of the world is The Steading Bar in Forbestown, Strathdon. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays just now, it’s a wee gem. Surrounded by splendid mountain scenery, yet cosy and welcoming for guests. A great selection of local beers, whiskies and gins of course, plus handmade pies and sharing plates of regional cheeses to enjoy. Just to keep you going!
If you’ve not had your fill at The Steading, Crathie’s Highlander Bakehouse will be sure to tempt your tastebuds. Great coffee, home bakes, breads and pastries abound. Take some home with you if you can’t find room in your tum. You’ll join a royal army of fans who are so delighted to find this bounteous bakery beside Balmoral.
By now you’re heading back east towards Banchory, but don’t miss a stop at the Cambus O’May Cheesery. It’s open from 10 – 4.30, Thursday to Sunday, and as well as supplying you with their own cheeses to take away, they also have an onsite cafe, so you can sample the goods on home turf. If time is against you, why not buy on-line through the link instead. We can’t have you missing out after all.
To bring this delightful day to a close, we could ask you to choose one of two options:- Either pop into the Strong Water Co. shop on Banchory’s High Street and pick up something tasty for tea (don’t forget the liquid to go with it – all the local gins are here!) OR book into The Cowshed, on the Raemoir Road (just past the garden centre), for one of their amazing dinners. They are members of the Scotch Beef Society, so you can be sure they know their sirloins from their ribeyes. If you’re anything like the Ginspired team though, choosing between two delicious offerings, just isn’t possible. So why not have both? Book dinner at The Cowshed and pick up one of The Strong Water Co’s Dine @ Home packs for tomorrow!
We hope you’ve had a delightful time in Deeside.
For a complete list of options check out the Gincyclopedia.