This photo guide has been put together by competition founder Stuart Low to provide photographers with new locations and inspiration in the Perth to Ballater area. The images in this route are a small selection of locations that Stuart has sought out during his years of photographing the area and will be added to frequently. Please feel free to download this to your device or computer for your reference. Please also feel free to share this route with friends, other photographers and photography groups. Please note: This photo guide route is strictly intended as a free guide to promote these areas, promote photography, tourism and above all, respect for the Scottish landscape and we ask that you please follow the country code at all times.

GOOGLE MAPS ROUTE:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Perth/Ballater/@56.7583773,-3.3167675,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x488615c6fb484d03:0xb65f146e7df49618!2m2!1d-3.430838!2d56.394994!1m5!1m1!1s0x4885c49f3b51c4c5:0x805387b3164d41d5!2m2!1d-3.036649!2d57.05003

Meilekelour Forest

Heading North towards Blairgowrie, this superb conifer plantation by the side of the a93 offers many opprtunities for forest photography. There are only a few parking spaces at the north end of the forest next to a disused gate, so please excercise caution when parking, as this can be a busy road at times.

Both early mornings, afternoons and late evenings provide superb light between the upright tall trees. Interspersed among the conifers are birches providing an interesting contrast. The plantation affords a decent walk and is especially atmospheric in mist or fog. Follow the paths and explore many of the canopied views.

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Meikelour Forest

Google map co-ordinates: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/56%C2%B032’56.7%22N+3%C2%B021’09.5%22W/@56.5490816,-3.3701485,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

Drimmie Woods View

This is a detour on the a93 Braemar road that takes you round some rolling countryside with stunning views across to Bridge of Cally to the west. From Rattray, follow the signs for Drimmie then drive up the single-track road. The glen opens up to rolling hills and farmland. Best images are in sidelight across the small hillocks. Mist and fog often lingers in between the hillock troughs in the early mornings making for superb classic landscape shots.

Follow the road all the way round where it re-connects with the a93 north of Bridge of Cally where you will head north. Be careful when turning right as this is a sharp turn.

Google coordinates: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/56%C2%B037’37.9%22N+3%C2%B019’30.3%22W/@56.627191,-3.3272647,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

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Drimmie viewb looking west across farmland.

Drumore Loch

Another detour on the a93 north takes you to Drumore Loch. This small loch is known as a Mesotrophic loch that is home to natural plant life so please be respectful of the flora and fauna during your visit. For the photographer, there is a wonderful focal point in the shape of the abandoned boat house on the shore. There are a couple of parking spaces to stop by the side of the road. At the east end of the loch, the view opens up towards the small glens. This loch is best photographed in the late evening and sunset as the light streams through the glen from the west, lighting up the boathouse and the firs on the opposite bank.

Google map coordinates: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Drumore+Loch/@56.7312013,-3.3690748,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x48860dc83f7cfe17:0x48860dc81f1464f5

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Drumore Loch and boat house

Spittal and Glen Shee to Braemar

The Spittal forms the start of the Glen and opens up to some breathtaking views of the mountains with the river snaking its way through the glen for some 23 miles. This being one of Scotland’s ski resort areas, it can be closed in winter so bear this in mind during the winter months. During the milder months, the light can be spectacular, providing endless opportunities for the “classic” Scottish landscape shot. In early summer, slow passing rain showers can produce lots of rainbows in the glen so it’s worth while spending some time planning your shot. There are several places to park along this stretch of the road. The river that runs through the glen is a spate river which is often shallow enough for a paddle. Many rocks litter the river bed and provide great focal points to capture the low down “near-far” type of landscape shot. It’s best to park up, sit and watch the weather rolling over the glen then pick your favoured spot for your photographs. Dotted all along the road are several lone trees and a ruined croft which make for great focal points to any photograph.

Google maps link: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Spittal+of+Glenshee,+Perth+and+Kinross,+UK/Braemar,+Aberdeenshire,+UK/@56.908876,-3.5642863,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x488608ded3202327:0x462f3e508fbfecdb!2m2!1d-3.461446!2d56.811439!1m5!1m1!1s0x4885e458e9e9d3c3:0xd78d16916a837a4d!2m2!1d-3.3979439!2d57.0064696

Some images from the Glen Shee stretch.

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Spittal of Glen shee
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Two pines, Spittal of Glen Shee
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Abanoned croft, Glen Shee

Linn o’ Dee

The road from Braemar to the Linn of Dee is a stunning drive which affords a myriad of photographic opportunities. There’s everything from mountains, caledonian pines, river gorges and sweeping vistas.  The river dee snakes its way down through the glen with many places to stop off and capture some wide or intimate landscapes along the way. There are the odd ruins, fallen trees, spate river beds and there’s the fantastic pine forest by the Linn of Dee car park.

As you drive along from Braemar to the Linn o’Dee make sure to stop off at some of the viewpoints around Inverey. The views from the side of the hills are superb. At sunrise and sunset, the light fills the glen below and illuminates the river into a brilliant mercury-like flow. You can walk down easily to some parts of the river and capture closer views of the landscape.

Along the way, various characterful Scots pines line the roads making many opportunities for tree shots. The River Dee that follows the road is framed by forest and well worn rocks leading up to the gorge at the Linn o’ Dee itself.

Google map directions: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Braemar,+Aberdeenshire,+UK/Unnamed+Rd,+Ballater+AB35+5YB,+UK,+Linn+O’+Dee,+Ballater,+Aberdeenshire/@56.9954851,-3.5069213,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4885e458e9e9d3c3:0xd78d16916a837a4d!2m2!1d-3.3979439!2d57.0064696!1m5!1m1!1s0x4885e4cb68fe6bfb:0xd60aea2339258df2!2m2!1d-3.5458852!2d56.9883181

Some images from the Linn o’ Dee stretch

 

Pine tops Linn o’ Dee

 

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Winter trees and River Dee near Inverey
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Scots pine forest Linn o’ Dee
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The River Dee, near Inverey

Larks Gallery, Ballater

As part of your day out, please take time to visit Larks Gallery where you can see some of the winning images on display. You can also buy a copy of the Collection 2 book in the shop or you can buy it direct from the website here. Click here to buy the book.

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(This guide comprises a collection of locations (i.e. a copyright body of work), images and information of which the the intellectual property belongs to © Stuart Low. The guide and route may not be used in whole or in part for any commercial publication such as a commercial photo guide book, magazine or commercial website without the express permission of the author.)