If I Were to Visit Aberdeen, part 2 (Linn o’ Dee)

Exploring the best places in nature around the world.

The River Dee is one of the two rivers in Aberdeen, Scotland. The other one is called the River Don. In Scotland and Northern England, a Linn is a geographical feature describing where a watercourse has cut through a shelf of hard rock creating a narrow, steep-sided cut in which the watercourse runs. Many rivers have this particular feature, and some even have more than one, but the Linn of Dee — or “Linn o’ Dee” as they say in Scotland — is the most beautiful.

Linn of Dee 1

Though it’s over an hour west of Aberdeen, if you happen to be visiting the city, I highly recommend you treat yourself to a road trip to see such a beautiful geological feature as this.

It’s such a relaxing and famous scene in Scotland, it was even made into a jigsaw puzzle for your pleasure.

It apparently impressed Queen Victoria, because, according to several histories I have read, this became a favorite spot for her to visit. As a matter of fact, she went ahead and had a castle built near there for herself (9 miles or 15 km away): Balmoral Castle.

Balmoral Castle

I LOVE castles, and I would have to make an additional trip just to see this place.

With the castle being near the Linn o’ Dee, that area of the River Dee has become known as “Royal Deeside.”

The river at the Linn of Dee runs for 300 meters (almost a thousand feet) through the natural gorge carved through the surrounding rock. There are walking trails through the woods and picnic spots beside the falls.

Linn of Dee walking trail

An adorable blog by the Supan Clan shows how a family with small children can have a charming time visiting the Linn o’ Dee.

A road runs around the top of the Linn, over a Gothic-style bridge built by the 5th Earl of Mar and officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1857.

Linn of Dee bridge

The slopes rise steeply on either side, with tall stands of larch and pine looming high above the rushing water below.

The River Dee is important for nature conservation. Much of the semi-natural Caledonian pine forest in Scotland is within the Dee catchment. The Royal Deeside area contains nationally rare examples of pine woods, birch woods, and heather moors with associated wildlife.

Linn of Dee pine and birch

This place is so beautiful.

On the valley floor there are deciduous alder and mixed broad-leaved woods as well as meadow grasslands. The otter, water vole, red squirrel, and freshwater mussel are among the animal species under threat in the area. There’s some fascinating research being done — as well as discoveries made — on the River Dee. (My favorite were the ice “pancakes” found on December 17).

Linn of Dee otter

It may be tempting to go swimming there, but if you do, keep two things in mind:

  1. This is considered the coldest spot in Scotland. Make sure it’s either a really warm summer day, and/or at least make sure you are well prepared with warm, dry clothes to change in to.
  2. It’s actually a pretty dangerous place to swim, so it’s not recommended by many to do so. However it’s not an impossible place to swim. But consider this warning:

“The important lesson is to swim here only on a dry day that follows a period of dry days. Swimming during or soon after rainfall is not a good idea; neither is swimming during the spring thaw. Even on relatively calm days the waterside can be dangerous. Tourists, thinking they’re safe along the edge, have been pulled into the center, pulled under, and drowned.”

Linn of Dee view from swimming

As you can see, it could be a hard place to climb out of. If necessary, you may be able to just float downstream until you’re able to flounder out along the shoreline, and then walk the distance back to where you began. But why risk it?

Additionally, when getting close to the falls and rapids, keep in mind the rocks are very slippery. Either wear the appropriate shoes with “sticky” soles, or just don’t get that close.

Linn of Dee 2

Yes, if I were to visit Aberdeen, Scotland, I would definitely check out the Linn of Dee.

I wonder what else I can find in and around the “Granite City.”

See also:
If I were to visit Aberdeen, part 1 (Balmedie Beach)

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