Gairnshiel: why it’s Alan Campbell’s favourite view
Each of us has a spot in the North East that we hold close to our heart, and our 2018 calendar sets out to share just what these beautiful views mean to us.
For each month, we have asked someone with a connection to either ASPC or Aberdeenshire itself to choose a location and tell us why it is significant to them, showcasing the view with a beautiful image from photographer Ray Smith.
February’s image was chosen by Alan Campbell, the former CEO of Grampian Region and Aberdeenshire Councils. Alan is a lifelong cyclist and currently President of Deeside Thistle cycling club, so it’s unsurprising that he has chosen a scenic route of Gairnshiel as this month’s image: “The hill roads of Deeside and Donside are a challenge and a joy on a bike. Although I’ve ridden all the mountain passes that feature in the Tour De France, I always feel a special thrill on the home roads like Gairnshiel and The Lecht.”
Gairnshiel is a beautiful part of the world around the River Gairn which flows from Ben Avon through Glen Gairn until it joins the River Dee just outside of Ballater.
Apart from the beautiful sights, the area is most notably known for Gairnshiel Bridge and Gairnshiel lodge.
The bridge was constructed in the 18th century as part of one of the military roads that were built soon after the Jacobite uprising to allow troops to get from A to B quickly if needed. This particular road runs from Braemar to Fort George in Inverness and is one of the few that are still in operation to this day (albeit highly augmented to suit more modern needs).
The bridge itself is a single lane humpbacked bridge that crosses the River Gairn and would be highly unremarkable had it not been for the stunning views across the Cairngorms National Park that surround it.
The Gairnshiel Lodge is a former Victorian hunting lodge which is now used as a luxury retreat for those who want to immerse themselves in the idyllic Scottish countryside.
As well as the main building, there are cottages nestled in the surrounding area which can also be booked by those looking for a bit more solitude.
Passing through Gairnshiel will lead you on to The Lecht which, as confirmed by Alan, is a stunning ride through the heart of the Cairngorms leading up to the Lecht Ski Centre. However, the steep slopes and rugged roads propose quite the challenge – even for the more experienced cyclists!