The village of BRAEMAR is situated 1100ft above sea level in the upper part of Deeside, where three passes meet. It's an invigorating, outdoor kind of place, well patronized by committed hikers, but probably best known for its Highland Games, the annual Braemar Gathering, on the first Saturday of September (Web: www.braemargathering.org ). Since Queen Victoria's day, successive generations of royals have attended and the world's most famous Highland Games have become rather an overcrowded, overblown event. You're not guaranteed to get in if you just turn up; the website has details of how to book tickets in advance.
Clunie Lodge Guesthouse, Clunie Bank Rd (Tel:013397/41330, Web: www.clunielodge.com ; Price: ₤41-50), on the edge of town, is a good B&B with lovely views up Clunie Glen, while cheery Rucksacks, an easygoing bunkhouse that's well equipped for walkers and backpackers, is just behind the Mews complex (Tel:013397/41517).
For food, avoid the large hotels, which tend to be filled with coach parties, and try either Taste, a coffee shop and moderately priced contemporary restaurant on the road out to the Linn of Dee, or The Gathering Place in the heart of the village (by Braemar Mountain Sports) where you'll find mouthwatering, though pricey, freshly prepared Scottish-based cuisine.