Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
The River Dee flows from Braemar to Aberdeen in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Its journey to the North Sea begins high in the Cairngorms on the plateau of Braeriach.
Level of Difficulty: Class II-III / Beginner
The Dee River is a fun, mellow river with a few Class II and III rapids, so it is suitable for most ages and comfort levels. It is a great way for people to test out whitewater rafting for the first time. The rapids build in strength as you head downriver. Cairnton is the first main rapid, and is described as a “lengthy rollercoaster ride.” The next rapid is Invercannie, which is shorter but more demanding than Cairnton. The whitewater is mostly large waves, some of which should be avoided. After every rapid there is a long stretch of calm water, allowing for plenty of recovery time.
Scenery: Pine Forests of the Balmoral Estate
For the first few miles of the whitewater rafting stretch, the River Dee winds through an open glen. After Braemer, however, the valley becomes deeper and the scenery more varied. There, the river enters the pine forests of the Balmoral Estate, where it flows past native Caledonian pines, alderwoods, mixed broadleaved woods, and scattered meadow grasslands. Balmoral Castle can also be seen from the river. Otter, Water Vole, and salmon are among commonly-spotted wildlife.
Season: March – October
The river can be rafted all year long, but rafting companies generally only run trips in the warmer months of the year. Fall is an especially beautiful time on the River Dee, as many of the trees turn into a vivid display of orange, red and brown leaves.