Date: July, 2014
Location: Cairngorms National Park, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
The River Dee rises in the Cairngorms and flows through Strathdee to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen. The general area is called “Royal Deeside” between Braemar and Banchory because Queen Victoria came to love the place and built Balmoral Castle there. The name is attested as early as the second century AD in the work of the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy, as Δηοῦα (=Deva), meaning ‘Goddess’, indicating a divine status for the river in the beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of the area.
The River Dee rises at approximately 4,000 feet in elevation on the plateau of Braeriach in the Cairngorm Mountains, the highest source of any major river in the British Isles. At Linn of Dee the river passes east through a 300 meter natural rock gorge.
The river is important for nature conservation. Much of the semi-natural Caledonian pine forest in Scotland is within the Dee catchment. The area contains nationally rare examples of pine woods, birch woods and heather moors with associated wildlife. On the valley floor there are deciduous alder and mixed broadleaved woods, and meadow grasslands. Otter, Water Vole and freshwater mussel are among the animal species under threat.
The Dee is a popular salmon river, having a succession of varied pools, intersected by sharp rapids. In 1995 it was estimated that salmon fishing on the river contributed between £5-£6 million a year to the Grampian Region economy.