River Dee, Aberdeenshire

River Dee, Aberdeenshire
River Dee (Uisge Dè)
The River Dee near Braemar
Country Scotland
County Aberdeenshire
Cities Aberdeen, Braemar
 - location Wells of Dee, Cairngorms
Length 140 km (87 mi)
Basin 2,100 km2 (811 sq mi)

The River Dee (Scottish Gaelic: Uisge Dè) is a river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It rises in the Cairngorms and flows through Strathdee (Deeside) to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen. The name is attested as early as the second century AD in the work of the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy, as Δηοῦα (=Deva), meaning 'Goddess', indicating a divine status for the river in the beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of the area. The several other rivers of the same name in Great Britain have the same origin. The Dee's near neighbour to the north, the river Don also means 'goddess'.



The River Dee rises at approximately 4,000 feet in elevation on the plateau of Braeriach, the highest source of any major river in the British Isles.[1] Water emerges in a number of pools like the one in the picture below[clarification needed Which one?] and flows across the plateau to the cliff edge, then plunges into An Garbh Choire. The young Dee joins a tributary from the Pools of Dee in the Lairig Ghru and passes between Ben Macdui and Cairn Toul. It flows over falls in the Chest of Dee on its way to White Bridge, the confluence of the Geldie Burn.

Linn of Dee

At Linn of Dee the river passes through a 300 metre natural rock gorge. Between there and Braemar, Lui Water (formed by Luibeg and Derry Burns) and Quoich Water join the growing River Dee. Clunie Water and Callater Burn join together and flow into the Dee at Braemar.


Through Strathdee ("Deeside"), the river passes the settlements of Braemar, Ballater, Aboyne and Banchory. The Rivers Muick and Gairn join the Dee at Ballater. The Water of Tanar flows through Glen Tanar before joining the Dee at Aboyne. The Water of Feugh joins the River Dee at Banchory. Coy Burn joins the Dee at Milton of Crathes.

Before reaching the North Sea, the river passes through Aberdeen harbour. An artificial channel was constructed in 1872 to modify the harbour, which is the largest marine centre in Europe servicing the offshore oil and gas industry.

Footdee ("Fittie") is an old fishing village at the east end of Aberdeen Harbour.

The A93 road runs along its strath from Braemar to Aberdeen.

Natural history

The Dee is important for nature conservation and the area has many designated sites.[1] The upper catchment is within the Cairngorms National Nature Reserve and (since 2003) Cairngorms National Park. Much of the semi-natural Caledonian pine woods in Scotland are within the Dee catchment. The area contains nationally rare examples of pinewoods, birchwoods and heather moors with associated wildlife. On the valley floor there are deciduous alder woods, mixed broadleaved woods, and meadow grasslands. Otter, Water Vole and freshwater mussel are among the animal species under threat.

The Dee is a popular salmon river, having a succession of varied pools, intersected by sharp rapids. In 1995 it was estimated that salmon fishing on the river contributed between £5 and £6 million a year to the Grampian Region economy.[2]

Royal Deeside

The area around Braemar and Ballater is known as Royal Deeside. Since the reign of Queen Victoria the British Royal Family have spent their summers at Balmoral Castle. Every year they attend the Braemar Highland Games and other local events. Birkhall, previously owned by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is now a favourite retreat of Prince Charles.[citation needed]

Famous and notable people who were either born in Royal Deeside or lived there include:



  1. ^ a b c Scottish Environment Protection Agency and www.theriverdee.org (2007). "The River Dee Catchment Management Plan: Issues Consultation Document" (pdf). http://www.theriverdee.org/userfiles/file/Plan/DCMP%20SummaryFORWEB.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  2. ^ Scottish Office (1997). Report of the Scottish Salmon Strategy Task Force. Edinburgh: Scottish Office. 

External links

Coordinates: 57°4′18″N 2°51′0″W / 57.07167°N 2.85°W / 57.07167; -2.85

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