Mar Lodge National Nature Reserve
The wild beauty of the Cairngorms unfolds around a 19th-century sporting lodge on this spectacular estate.
Mar Lodge Estate is made up of more than 29,000 hectares of astonishing Scottish landscape: heather-covered moorland, Caledonian pine forest, towering mountains and the Quoich wetlands, home to wading birds and otters.
There are 15 Munros here (mountains over 914m/3,000ft high), including 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the UK. The beautiful ancient pinewoods are home to red squirrels and pine martens as well as birds such as the crossbill and black grouse. Mar Lodge Estate has a wide range of landscape conservation projects underway, including woodland regeneration, footpath repair and reducing the damage caused to woodland by red deer.
The estate is one of the most important areas for nature conservation in the British Isles and in 2017 it was awarded National Nature Reserve status – making it the largest NNR in the UK.
The dramatic landscape acts as the backdrop to The Dark Knight Rises when Tom Hardy's Bane hijacks the plane in the action packed opening scene.
Things to do include:
- Guided Tours - Guided tours are available for groups by prior arrangement and the ranger service runs a programme of regular guided walks during the summer months. Catering can also be arranged for groups. Please telephone 01339 720164 for further details.
- Nature spotting with Mar Lodge Rangers - Mar Lodge Estate is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. On the moors, red grouse, meadow pipits and skylarks are active, while treecreepers, willow warblers, stonechats and great tits are at home in the woods. Fortunate birdwatchers may even spot a golden eagle soaring high above. But perhaps the most spectacular display comes in autumn when red deer stags start to rut – their roaring and clashing battles echo across the glens.
- Walks - Hill-walking on Mar Lodge Estate is unsurpassed. Scale the peak of Ben Macdui (1,309m), one of our 15 Munros and the second highest mountain in the UK. There are several mountain bothies, as well as opportunities for wild camping. From the Linn of Dee and Linn of Quoich car parks there are a number of low-level walks to be enjoyed, with views of the rushing falls. There are also some waymarked woodland walks from the Linn of Dee car park. Throughout the estate, there are many reminders of the area’s human history, from Mesolithic remnants and post-medieval townships to the remains of 19th-century sheep farming. Mar Lodge's ranger team are happy to provide a guided walking service, which takes in both low level and the high tops on the estate, and run events throughout the year, contact the team on 01339 720163 to book or enquire.
- Outdoor activities - Mar Lodge is a traditional sporting estate and offers seasonal sporting opportunities to guests. You can even bring your horse on holiday to Mar Lodge Estate, part of the British Horse Society’s Horses Welcome scheme. There are miles of off-road riding on the estate and hill tracks for riders and horses of most abilities. These include 30-minute and one-hour loops around the lodge grounds and policies for leisurely hacks, or half- and full-day rides in Glen Quoich and Glen Lui for those seeking to enjoy the wilderness experience to the full.
Mar Lodge Estate is situated three miles from Braemar in the heart of Royal Deeside. It forms part of the core area of the Cairngorms National Park, internationally recognised as the most important nature conservation landscape in the British Isles. The estate contains four of the five highest mountains in Britain and the upper watershed of the River Dee and remnant Caledonian pine forest of national importance. The outstanding wildlife and birdlife on this prime example of a Highland estate are characteristic of the northern mountainous area of Britain.
The National Trust for Scotland offers five luxurious self catering apartments within the Lodge and two stunning cottage properties within the grounds sleeping from 2 to 17 people. Exclusive use is available for groups of up to 75 and various catering options are available including dinners in the dining room and whisky tastings.
The properties at Mar Lodge Estate are ideal for visitors wishing to explore this magnificent area all year round. The immediate area boasts ample opportunities for hill-walking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and sledging, as well as fishing (salmon and trout) stalking and shooting which are offered on Mar Lodge Estate itself. Within the main property at Mar Lodge, there are a number of apartments available, all of which benefit from Sky TV and free Wi-Fi is available in the main reception area at Mar Lodge.
Derry is situated on the ground floor of the west wing and is suitable for disabled visitors. Entrance is by a main door at the southern end of the wing, while a door in the courtyard to the rear of the property gives wheelchair access. This apartment sleeps four, over two spacious bedrooms - one double, the other with twin beds. This apartment also enjoys a large sitting room / kitchen with dining area, a bathroom with WC, bath and wheelchair accessible shower (with seat) as well as a separate WC with wash basin. Dogs are permitted in this apartment.
- Type 2 Bed Room Apartment
Macdui is situated immediately above Derry on the first floor of the west wing, entrance is up one flight of stairs from the door at the south end of the west wing. This apartment sleeps four, over two large bedrooms - one double, one twin. The sitting room boasts a balcony overlooking the main entrance to Mar Lodge. This apartment also has a kitchen with a dining area, bathroom with WC, bath and shower and separate WC with wash basin. Dogs are not permitted in this apartment, however, kennel facilities are available at an additional charge.
- Type 2 Bed Room Apartment
Dalvorar is situated next to Macdui on the first floor. The unique feature of this apartment is the sitting room with its bookcases built into the semi-circular western wall. This apartments sleeps four, over two twin bedrooms, one of which has a balcony overlooking the main entrance to Mar Lodge. This apartment also has a kitchen with dining area, bathroom with bath and shower and separate WC with wash basin. Dogs are not permitted in this apartment, however kennel facilities are available at an additional charge.
- Type 2 Bed Room Apartment
Braeriach is situated opposite Dalvorar at the top of the main staircase. This spacious apartment sleeps two. The bedroom boasts a Queen Anne four-poster king-size bed. The large sitting room has a balcony overlooking the courtyard in front of the property. This apartment also has a kitchen / dining room, bathroom with bath and shower and separate WC with wash basin. Dogs are not permitted in this apartment, however kennel facilities are available at an additional charge.
- Type 1 Bed Room Apartment
Bynack is a large apartment, ideal for family get-togethers, parties and dinner parties. This apartment sleeps seventeen, over seven bedrooms. There are four twin bedrooms, two double bedrooms and a family bedroom (one double and one single bed) along with four bathrooms (three with bath and shower, one with bath only) on the first floor. On the ground floor of the apartment there is a kitchen and a living / dining room, which can comfortably seat fifteen, as well as an additional WC. Dogs are not permitted in this apartment, however kennel facilities are available at an additional charge.
Bynack is available for short breaks Friday - Monday and Monday - Friday. Full weeks run Saturday - Saturday.
Claybokie Cottage - sleeps 10
Secluded in the pine woods of Mar Lodge estate, Claybokie is an exclusive hideaway in a Highland paradise. Furnished in classic antique style, with uninterrupted views across the River Dee and Glen Eye, this miniature lodge offers the quintessential country retreat. It's little wonder travel author Pete Irvine named Mar Lodge the best place in Scotland to have a house party. Claybokie's privacy, it's old-world glamour and contemporary facilities make it an unparalleled base for a clan gathering.
For larger parties, Creag Bhalg sleeps 8 and connects to the garden of Claybokie via an illuminated woodland path.
2 storey, sleeps 10 - 2 double and 3 twin bedrooms. One of the doubles and one twin has ensuite facilities; the other double and twin share a bathroom. The third twin has its own bathroom on the landing close by. Grand dining room to seat up to 18 people. Beautiful sitting room with open fire, conservatory and study. There is a large kitchen with AGA, Utility room and cloakrooms. Electric central heating with open fires - Two complimentary baskets of logs will be provided. Parking available outside the property. Kennel facilities available at an additional charge
- Type 4 Bed Room Apartment
Creag Bhalg - sleeps 8
Creag Bhalg is named after the nearby hill that rises between Linn of Dee and Linn of Quoich. Set among Mar Lodge's pine woodland, this exclusive Highland hideaway has been furnished in true country sporting style, with wood panelling and open fires.
The views look onto the River Dee and Glen Eye. After a family gathering at Creag Bhalg you'll understand why travel author Pete Irvine named Mar Lodge the best place in Scotland to have a house party.
For larger parties, Claybokie sleeps 10 and connects to the garden of Creag Bhalg via an illuminated woodland path.
1 storey - suitable for the less mobile. Sleeps 8 - 2 doubles, 2 twins all with ensuite bathrooms. Wood panelled sitting room with open fires. Kitchen/dining room, Utility room and cloakrooms. Electric central heating. Kennel facilities available
- Type Holiday Home