River Dee (Scottish Highlands)

After some time looking at it on maps I went up to paddle the River Dee last week. I only did a 75km stretch, but I reckon the section I paddled is probably the most “natural” stretch (as far as the banks and the surrounds go). The biggest of the white water is still to come at the point I took out, but it also gets more agricultural as you carry on down.

There is a lot more potential for trips involving the to take in parts of the Cairngorm Mountains, it is a river I plan on visiting in the future. Put simply, it is a great river with lots to offer for a packrafter. My trip report and vid are here:

There is more info here:

What a lovely opportunity to paddle some amazing water. Is it the Dee or Don that flows past Balmoral and Mar Lodge? (Or are these on different rivers?!!).

How do you go paddling rivers that are “owned” by the landholders on either side. Do you have to pay access fees, as one does to fish such rivers?

I’m in Oz. we have a lovely free arrangement with river use here - mostly.

Andrew A

Hi Andrew - Land access law in Scotland is different to the rest of the UK. In Scotland, although the country is chunked up and owned in large estates, you have the right to cross any land. This includes rivers, there are no restrictions whatsoever. That said, many landowners don’t like the fact because fishing a big part of how estates earn their money. It is not the case in England and Wales that access is unrestricted, far from it.

Mar Lodge and Balmoral are both on the Dee ~I haven’t been on the Don yet, but it’s on the list!

Lucky you. My primary interest in rivers is fly fishing. Packrafting is secondary. If you have access to raft freely over there, you’re on clover. I haven’t been to Scotland for 20sh years…but I still have great memories of the Dee, Don, Glen Nevis, etc etc. Get out here and pt some piccies.

Andrew A