Outdoor enthusiasts staying at Tornashean will be spoilt for choice, with trout and salmon fishing, shooting and stalking, hiking and bird-watching all on the doorstep. Cycling, canoeing and skiing are also all available to enjoy in the area around Ballater. Shops and pubs lie just a short walk away in the village centre.
There are 70 golf courses in the Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands area, several within easy distance of Tornashean. Also close by is the Lecht Ski Centre, great for winter skiing and summer sports including Deval carts and mountain bike trails.
As seen in the major new film 'Mary Queen of Scots' more info »
Game Shooting in Scotland / Local Interest »
Stag and hind stalking and grouse shooting can be organised with a number of local estates if enough notice is given. For stag stalking and grouse shooting especially, it is best to plan at least six months in advance.
Available in 13 fantastic colours, these mohair shooting socks are seriously comfortable, warm and hard wearing. Whether on the hill, the first drive or the riverbank, these shooting socks should be an essential part of any countryman's wardrobe. A small range of sock ties and mohair shooting gloves are also available to complement the shooting socks.
The Mohair Sock Company website »
|Grouse||12 Aug||10 Dec|
|Partridge||1 Sep||1 Feb|
|Ptarmigan||12 Aug||10 Dec|
|Black Game||20 Aug||10 Dec|
|Pheasant||1 Oct||1 Feb|
|Capercaillie||1 Oct||31 Jan|
|Common Snipe||12 Aug||31 Jan|
|Woodcock||1 Sep||31 Jan|
|Duck, Geese||1 Sep||31 Jan|
|Red Deer & Sika Stags||1 Jul||20 Oct|
|Roe Buck||1 Apr||20 Oct|
|Fallow Buck||1 Aug||30 Apr|
|Red Deer, Hinds, Sika Hind & Fallow Doe||21 Oct||15 Feb|
|Roe Doe||21 Oct||31 Mar|
|Salmon & Sea Trout||11 Jan||31 Nov|
|Brown Trout||15 Mar||6 Oct|
|Rainbow Trout||No closed season|
|Coarse Fish**||16 Jun||14 Mar|
** Except on enclosed still waters, where there is no closed season.
Please see the table in Sporting Seasons of Scotland; Within these bands dates vary from river to river according to local regulations for example:
|The Don||11 Feb||31 Oct|
|The Tay||15 Jan||15 Oct|
|The Tweed||1 Feb||30 Nov|
|The Spey||11 Feb||30 Sep|
|The Dee||1 Feb||30 Sep|
Lonach Highland Gathering & Games. Always the 4th Saturday in August. Lonach Website »
Lonach Gathering - Lonach Highlanders & Band arrive at the Lonach Highland Games
Tornashean is one of the nearest self catering options for Lecht Ski Centre Scotland's skiing and snowboarding destination. Family and beginner friendly ski and snowboarding. Lecht Ski Centre »
Walking & Wildlife in the Cairngorms & Scotland
Tornashean is also ideally located for walking in the Cairngorms and is located a few miles within the new Cairngorms National Park. Start points for walking into the high Cairngorm mountains and plateau are villages like Braemar, Aviemore and Tomintoul - all not far by road.
Fish the rivers and learn to cast with a fly rod - introduction to Salmon fishing sessions are available throughout the year. Experience the tranquility of The River Dee or Don, everything can be provided including tuition, rods, waders and Landrover.
Ian's knowledge covers the history, heritage, land use, flora and fauna, folklore, Gaelic placenames, bushcraft and traditional skills, navigation, survival and basic mountaineering skills.
Alternatively, you may fancy bagging a Munro, spotting wildlife, a photo-safari or just enjoying the scenery - which is spectacular year-round. Ian will be happy to accompany individuals or groups on trips from a few hours to full day outings. Limited capacity available so please book early. www.lochnagar.net for more details >
Walk 1 - This is a round walk of about one hour. Turn right out of Tornashean and go through the gate, along the track and through the deer fence into the trees. Follow the track through the trees through another gate, over two strands of wire and along the side of a ditch all the way into the woods (Candacraig Estate policies). It is important here that all dogs are on leads. Follow the track and turn left and right straight away onto another track and follow this all the way past some sheds, the keepers cottage on the right and then bear left just after the estate dog kennels. Carry on along this track bearing left again in front of the Candacraig House gates and walk all the way along a track which opens out and arrives at the river where there is a ford and a foot bridge.
Once over the river the track goes up to the road. Turn left here and walk all the way back along this very quiet road past Roadside cottage and Brughs cottage, then turn left back over our wooden bridge to Tornashean.
Walk 2 - This walk can be either about six miles or eight miles.
Drive down to Bellabeg and just before the village turn left where it is signposted to "Lost". Park here. Walk up the track all the way following the river (It is actually the Nochty Burn) until you go through the forestry and eventually reach a stone bridge - the Bridge of Auchernach (pronounced Aheernich). Cross over this bridge and then if you wish to return to Bellabeg (the six mile walk) bear right and go back down Glen Nochty along the metalled road until you reach the Spar Shop and your car.
If you want to walk the eight mile version, turn left after the Bridge of Auchernach and follow the Nochty Burn along a track.
Eventually after a gate, turn right up a forestry ride which will take you up to a forestry road. Turn left and after half a mile you will reach the "Lost Gallery" run by Peter Goodfellow. Here you will find some amazing artwork and sculptures by local and Scottish artists. Then walk back down Glen Nochty to Bellabeg.
Cross over the Wooden bridge to Brughs (the cottage across the river from Tornashean). Turn right onto the road. walk for two minutes until you reach a forestry clearing on the left (with a pole as a gate). From here there is a new and well defined track that leads up into the forestry to the left. Follow this track through the forestry and eventually it will come out on the road near to Strathdon Kirk (the church) out half a mile down the back road. Walk back up the little road on the south side of the river and turn right onto the track which leads back down through our woods and back over Poldhullie Bridge to the house. This walk will take about three quarters of an hour.
Walk 4 - Lonach Hill and cairn
Drive up the Glen towards Corgarff.
About three miles on you will come to an imposing house on the right called Skellater. ( It has a long drive to it and it is totally symetrical in the Scottish manse style) Park on the track just before the drive (but do not block the way as tractors may need access).
Walik up the track and then across the fields and eventually up the quite steep side of the hill until you reach the cairn at the top.
From here you will have a fantastic view of all the surrounding hills - Morvern (towards Deeside) and Monagowan, and also spectacular views down the Glen and of Edinglassie House almost below you.
Come back down the same way.
Walk 5 - General Wades Road
Drive up the Glen and leave one car at "Briggies" the Allargue Arms Hotel at Cockbridge and take the other car back down the road and turn left on to the road over to Braemar. Drive until you reach a hill with a twisty climb to the top. Park in a small layby on the left and then cross the road and walk along the track which heads towards Corgarff.
This road was built soon after 1746 By William Cauldwell (One of Wade's right hand men) as part of the Government's plan to pacify the Highlands after the 1745 uprising.
There are some amazing bridges (some of which have been restored). You will probably see Red Grouse and maybe even a Peregrine Falcon or a Blue Hare.
Follow the track all the way along past Jenny's Bothy on the right and go through the forestry (a lot of which has been recently felled) and when you get to the road turn left and back up to Briggies for lunch.
Alternatively just take one car, have lunch and walk back afterwards!
Distances about three and a half miles.
At Tornashean you will have a good chance of seeing our resident Red Squirrels who live mainly in the Caledonian Pines across the river directly opposite the house. They do also sometimes come into the garden.
We also have rabbits by the hundred (please keep all gates closed at night because the rabbits come in and decimate the garden) plenty of Roe Deer (see them mainly in very early morning or late evening) in the vicinity of the house.
More elusive are the Otters (there is a pair whose territory includes our stretch of river), Capercaillie up in the large pine woods (even more elusive) and adders - not normally seen around Tornashean but up in the hills sunning themselves when it is hot.
We never used to have midges but over the last ten years or so the winters have been very mild and pathetic by Strathdon standards which has meant that some midges can survive the winter. However, they are not a problem at all compared to the West Coast beasts.
Out on the hills you will see Red Grouse, Blue Hares (they turn white in winter) and Red Deer. Occasionally one may see Blackgame (quite rare these days) and Ptarmigan (the Mountain Grouse - which also turns white in winter).
Birds of note around Tornashean include Buzzards, Herons, Oyster Catchers, Sandpipers, Dippers, Ducks and Goosander. In the garden we are visited by Siskins and Woodpeckers and in the woods across the river can sometimes be seen Scottish Crossbills and Long Tailed Tits.
Fishing in Scotland
We also have our own fishing (1.1 miles of double bank) which holds some very good wild Brown Trout (but difficult to catch) and Salmon later in the season. Tickets available from Mr Neil Gallacher, Skellater House, Strathdon. 019756 51386 or 07711 969727.
Tornashean is conveniently placed as a self catering base for fishing on the Dee (25 minutes to Ballater) the Deveron (50 minutes to Huntly), the Spey (50 minutes to Craigellachie and 40 to Grantown). The Avon (tributary of the Spey) is only 20 minutes away at Tomintoul.
For those who book well in advance, we can organise fishing tuition & courses on our own beat of the Don and on various famous beats on the Dee with Mr Ian Murray. He is very happy to teach absolute beginners or those with more experience. More info at www.lochnagar.net
The best place to find good fishing generally on all the local rivers is to log on to the fantastic Fish Scotland website where an awful lot of good quality fishing is available - and also some very good last minute offers.
The Salmon Hatchery for the whole of the River Don is two miles down the road at Forbestown. It is at the Mill of Newe and is on the left hand side soon after the Colquhonnie Hotel and has a bright red door and car park. If any of the bailiffs are on duty they will be delighted to show you around the juvenile salmon at their various stages and explain the life cycle of this most incredible fish. This is also a very good place to take children who always find it very interesting. There is also a little fishery (man made loch) at Ardgeith (signposted to the right three miles down the road to Aberdeen). This is an ideal place for children to learn.
There is also very good fishing available further down the Don, and if conditions are right there is good salmon fishing to be had at Alford Castle Forbes - tickets are also available at the Forbes Arms Hotel (25 minutes - Tel: 01975 562108) and at Monymusk at the Grant Arms Hotel (40 minutes - Tel: 01467 651226) and many of the lower beats.
Mr Neil Gallacher, Skellater House, Strathdon. 019756 51386 or 07711 969727.
Mrs Taylor, Delnabo Estate on the River Avon at Tomintoul
Tel: 01807 580 366 (Good if there is plenty of water).
Distilleries in the area
Tornashean is 40 minutes from Dufftown - the '"Whisky Capital" of the Highlands and home to Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Mortlach distilleries. Drive via the Lecht ski area and turn right just before Tomintoul into Glenlivet. This is a very pretty glen which will take you to Dufftown via the Tamnavoulin, Glenlivet and Chivas Bros distilleries.
There are also many other distilleries in neighbouring Speyside, quite a few of which are part of the "Whisky Trail" and have visitor centres, guided tours and tastings. The best place to go for serious whisky tasting (it also reputedly actually serves food) is the Craigellachie Hotel which is just the other side of Dufftown by the river Spey.
From here one can drive back to Tornashean via the Cabrach (the road between Dufftown and Rynie) and back up Strathdon.
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a mecca for whisky lovers worldwide.
Follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside to seven working distilleries, including a fascinating cooperage and a historic distillery. Visit Scotland's Whisky Trail website - the only malt whisky trail in the world.
The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK and is one of the country's most special and cared for landscapes with a wide variety of traditional and unique villages and communities. The website is your gateway to the Aviemore and Cairngorms, Angus Glens, Atholl and Glenshee, Tomintoul and Glenlivet and the Royal Deeside and Donside areas - see more at: visitcairngorms.com