Plenty for everyone in ‘Can-Do Country’

The Mucklefest was a popular attraction in Ballater
The Mucklefest was a popular attraction in Ballater

Royal Deeside is gearing up for a host of eye-catching events to highlight its huge range of visitor activities.

A three-day mountain festival, a weekend of running races for all ages, and a week-long creative arts festival are among nearly 40 public events already lined up under the Can-Do Country initiative.

These and other events, from cycling competitions and guided rides, to a musical ‘Mucklefest’ and a medieval banquet night, have been scheduled to complement the local shows and Highland games, including the world-famous Braemar Gathering in September, which already characterise the area.

The Can-Do Country brand reflects Deeside’s many hands-on activities for visitors and local people to experience independently or with expert tuition.

Claire Fraser, who is Ballater Business Association’s tourism, heritage and culture officer, said: “The programme of events, the area’s fabled landscapes and the range of conventional visitor activities from historic sightseeing to golf are increasingly augmented by the opportunities for participation and tuition in more specialised pursuits such as gliding, wildlife photography and fly fishing,

“Most of the target visitors are looking to actively enjoy one or more recreational opportunities here, as well as appreciating its dramatic scenery, and that can mean simply eclectic retail therapy, good eating or the opportunity to take to a salmon river or the air under expert instruction.”

The local communities have set up a Royal Deeside travel channel on YouTube, using specially-shot film for a variety of social media and other outlets, as well as a destination website to inform and encourage visitors.

The website, at, which went live last Friday, includes a timetable of events with links to each.

The Can-Do Country initiative was launched towards the end of last year to assist the area’s recovery following the devastating impact of the Storm Frank floods the previous winter.