Chill Out: The origin of the name Braemar is unknown but translates from Gaelic as ‘The Upper Part of Mar’ (Mar being an ancient district of Aberdeenshire). The village sits at a height of approximately 1100 feet and therefore temperatures regularly plummet during the winter months – the mercury has dropped to a teeth chattering -27.2ºC on two occasions (in 1895 and again in 1982). Braemar is perhaps best known for its Highland Gathering, the origins of which dates back to the 11th century. During this time King Malcolm Canmore III organised a foot race to the summit of Creag Choinnich in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger. The idea of the Highland Games seems to have emerged from this race as well as competitions at Clan gatherings that were drawn on to select the strongest, fleetest, and the most skilful warriors. Queen Victoria ensured the success of the games into modern times by attending them in 1848.
Nosy Neighbour: The Gathering also includes a hill race to the summit of Morrone which means ‘big nose’ or ‘promontory’. It rises to 859 metres above sea level and there are superb views of, amongst others, Ben MacDui, Derry Cairngorm, Cairn Toul, Braeriach, An Socath and the magnificent meanderings of the River Dee.