Royal Past of Glenshee

Ever since Malcolm Canmore - King of Scotland, built a hunting lodge at Braemar in 1059, Glenshee has been traversed by travellers from Kings & Queens to the humblest of subjects.


By the 1500’s the glen had evolved into a complex mix of Lairds and tenants shaping and making a tenuous living on land over 1000 feet above sea level. 



The present Queen on her way to Braemar up the Devil's Elbow


During this period the glen was a common thoroughfare and target for Caterans or raiders coming over the mountains from Lochabar and Badenoch. 

In 1602, the largest raid of this type took place with 500 Caterans stealing 2000 head of cattle. The Battle of the Cairnwell was subsequently fought when the locals decided to recover their property by force. It was said every household lost at least one or two family members. Today the Cateran trail is a popular walk and traces the trail of the wild Caterans through Glenshee and into the rich southern lands of Angus and mid-Perthshire. 


The people of Glenshee lived a very isolated existence and were largely cut off from the outside world as no roads existed through the glen until 1749, following the suppression of the last Jacobite rebellion. The coming of the roads signified the end of a way of life which had  lasted for time immemorial.


Queen Victoria helped renew interest in the Highlands with her visits and was a regular traveller through Glenshee in the 1840’s. The Glen was transformed during this period with today’s fields representing major late 18th and 19th century change driven in part by a desire for increased production and profit, but also by a broad ideological mission to improve society. The shooting lodges, castles and ancillary buildings associated with the growing 19th century estates, and their focus on tourism, still remain a distinctive facet of the built heritage.


To this day the Queen and her family can be seen driving through the glens and appearing at local events.  They are resident at Balmoral during July, August and September.  Every year the Royal Family attend the Braemar Highland Games.

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