Auchtavan is open to all

Once ferm touns were an integral part of the North-east way of life, now few survive.

Remnants of the once thriving community of Auchatavan, high above the River Dee in Glen Fearder, can still be visited thanks to the efforts of members of the Braemar community.

Walkers can walk to the old settlement at any time but on Sunday (June 3) from noon until 3pm, visitors will be able to see inside the hingin lum cottage, the horsemill and the Queen Mother’s former picnic cottage.

The ruined cruck-framed cottage and mill were restored in 2008 by Braemar Community Ltd to give an insight into a way of life now long gone.

Countless generations scraped a living in these remote places in the centuries before the industrial revolution. Now all that’s left of many are rows of stones marking where the houses once were.

Neil Bain, of Braemar Community Ltd, said: “There is something magical about Auchtavan. With the spectacular views across the valley towards Lochnagar, it is a special place with a special atmosphere.

“It’s hard to think that now remote hillside was once home to so many families but you can certainly understand why the Queen Mum loved to picnic here.”

Auchtavan is situated about six miles North-east of Braemar. Cars can be parked in the lay-by opposite the turn-off, marked Aberarder. It is then a 2.5 mile uphill walk to the settlement.

The track passes through birch woods and open moorland and can be quite rough, so walking shoes and outdoor clothing are recommended.