|Population||808 (2011) (Crathie and Braemar Civil Parish) |
|OS grid reference|
|o Edinburgh||73 mi (117 km)|
|o London||402 mi (647 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around 58 miles (93 km) west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of 339 metres (1,112 ft).
The Gaelic Bràigh Mhàrr properly refers to the area of upper Marr (as it literally means), i.e. the area of Marr to the west of Aboyne, the village itself being Castleton of Braemar (Baile a' Chaisteil). The village used to be known as Cinn Drochaid (bridge end); Baile a' Chaisteil referred to only the part of the village on the east bank of the river, the part on the west bank being known as Ach an Droighinn (thorn field).
Braemar is approached from the South on the A93 from Glen Clunie and the Cairnwell Pass and from the East also on the A93 from Deeside. Braemar can be approached on foot from the West through Glen Tilt, Glen Feshie, Glen Dee (by the Lairig Ghru), and Glen Derry (by the Lairig an Laoigh). Braemar is within a one-and-a-half-hour drive of Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth.
The village is overlooked (from roughly northwest) by Carn na Drochaide (818 m), (from roughly northeast) by Creag Choinneach (538 m), (from roughly southwest) by Carn na Sgliat (690 m), and (from roughly southwest) by Morrone (859 m).
Braemar is the third-coldest low-lying place in the UK, after the villages of Dalwhinnie and Leadhills, with an annual average temperature of 6.8 °C (44.2 °F). Braemar has twice entered the UK weather records with the lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2 °C (-17.0 °F), on 11 February 1895 and 10 January 1982. Braemar has an average of 102 days of air frost and 153 days with 1 mm or more of rainfall. Snowfall can be heavy in winter and early spring, and often accumulates to depths of 30 cm (12 in) or more. On 30 September 2015, Braemar had one of the largest recorded diurnal ranges of temperature in the UK, as well as recording the warmest and coldest temperatures for the UK for September 2015 on that day; the maximum temperature was 24.0 °C (75.2 °F) and the minimum was -1.3 °C (29.7 °F). The very next day it was again the coldest and warmest place in the UK. The minimum temperature was -2.0 °C (28.4 °F) and the maximum was a new record for Braemar--it was 22.7 °C (72.9 °F). Braemar recorded -5.0 °C (23.0 °F) later that month, meaning that for the second month in a row, Braemar recorded the warmest and coldest monthly temperatures for the UK. As well as this, temperatures reached a new record for November in Braemar of 17.7 °C (63.9 °F), set on 2 November 2015.
|Climate data for Braemar, elevation: 339 m (1,112 ft), 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1880-present|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.6
|Average high °C (°F)||4.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.5
|Average low °C (°F)||-1.5
|Record low °C (°F)||-27.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||105.0
|Average precipitation days||15.5||12.9||15.1||11.3||11.6||10.9||11.4||11.8||11.8||15.2||14.5||14.2||156.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||27.9||57.0||100.7||137.9||180.2||162.2||158.8||147.3||114.9||70.7||38.1||21.0||1,216.4|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: KNMI|
The modern village sits over the Clunie Water, a strategically important crossing on the Elsick Mounth, an ancient trackway used by Picts and Romans. It is located in the upper end of the historical Earldom of Mar, literally the Braes o' Mar. The Scottish Gaelic name Bràigh Mhàrr or upland of Mar was originally applied to the general area; using Braemar for the village dates to around 1870.
Before the 11th century, there were separate hamlets on each bank of the Clunie, Auchendryne on the west and Castleton on the east, or Bail Chasteil.  The names are clearly marked on the current Ordnance Survey maps, below 'Braemar'. 'Castleton' refers to Kindrochit Castle, located within the modern village, rather than Braemar Castle to the south, while Kindrochit means 'bridge end'.
According to legend, Malcolm III came to the area in around 1059, and built a timber bridge connecting the east and west banks. 'Kindrochit' means bridge end and the castle is assumed to have been built to protect the crossing. The ruins are considered to be largely of 14th-century origin, replacing the presumed timber-construction of the original castle. 
Following the accession of George I in 1714, the Earl of Mar launched the 1715 Jacobite Rising on 6 September at Braemar. In 1795, a Roman Catholic chapel was built on the high-ground to the west of Auchendryne, giving the name to Chapel Brae, which was used as a school.
Until the 20th century, Braemar was largely owned by one of the adjoining Mar Estates, with Auchendryne and Invercauld on one side, Castleton on the other. Allegedly, inter-estate rivalry was a factor in each having its own pub, the Fife Arms Hotel in Auchendryne, and the Invercauld Arms Hotel in Castleton, built over the mound where the Earl of Mar raised the Jacobite standard in 1715.
Auchindryne (to use the spelling by Wyness) from ach' an droighinn (field of the thorn) belonged to a branch of the Farquharsons until it was forfeited in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Later that century it was acquired by William Duff, 1st Earl Fife.
Catholicism has traditionally been strong in the Braemar area, and the bones of Saint Andrew rested in Braemar before being taken to the place now known as St. Andrews. The Catholic Church in Braemar is dedicated to Saint Andrew and was built in 1839.
In the 1891 census, 59.2% of the population of Braemar spoke the Gaelic language "habitually", the percentage of those actually able to speak the language (despite not having much opportunity to) would have been somewhat higher. The small crofting township of Inverey (Inbhir Èidh) was 86.3% Gaelic-speaking, most non-speakers being originally from Lower Deeside. The Gaelic spoken in the Aberdeenshire Highlands shared most features in common with the Gaelic of Strathspey and East Perthshire. The last native-speaker of the local Gaelic dialect died in 1984, though there are still surviving native-speakers of the similar Strathspey dialect. At the 2001 census, out of a total population of 839 in Crathie and Braemar Civil Parish, only 5 (0.6%) claimed to be Gaelic-speakers.
Known colloquially as The Games and originating from those believed to have been held by Malcolm III, an annual Highland Games Gathering is held at Braemar on the first Saturday in September and is traditionally attended by the British Royal Family.
In 1746, the Act of Proscription stopped all clan gatherings, but following its repeal in 1782, the old enthusiasms for such events returned. About 1826, the Braemar Highland Society was created; the first modern-day games taking place in 1832. On 14 September 1844 Queen Victoria attended the gathering at Invercauld. In 1866, Royal was added to Braemar Highland Society and in 1906, the Duke of Fife presented 12 acres (49,000 m2) of Mar Estate to the Society and The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, the current home of the Braemar Gathering, was created.
This gallery shows general views of the 2006 Braemar Gathering
Braemar has a golf course, two large hotels (Fife Arms and Invercauld Arms) as well as many smaller hotels and private homes offering bed and breakfast-style accommodation and a large SYHA hostel. On the southern edge of the village there is also a caravan site. A tourist information centre is opposite the Fife Arms Hotel. Braemar also has a small Post Office/village shop and mountain bike hire.
The Morrone Birkwood Nature Reserve is a nature reserve on the edge of the village reached from the car park at the top of Chapel Brae.
This gallery shows general views of Braemar.
Other articles of local interest include: