We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
Read more about us.

We had a good night sleep after the first day of paddling down the River Dee from Braemar. Everything was frozen when we woke up. The day however seems again to be quite promising with a blue sky and nice scenery.

Packrafting in Scotland - River Dee

The worst was however not to sit in a frozen packraft …

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

… but to slip your hands into the frozen neoprene gloves. However, after a few minutes of paddling with gloves we just decided to continue paddling without gloves as they were just too cold to wear. But first we had breakfast.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

For breakfast we still had some Japanese dehydrated camping food with us which taste much better than the camping food you can buy in our camping stores. So we ignited our MSR Windburner stove with our Light My Fire FireSteel Scout 2.0 Fire Starter and got the water boiling.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Visiting Balmoral Castle

Since we just camped almost next to the Balmoral Castle we decided to get a bit closer and explore it a bit.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Back into the River Dee

Once back from the Balmoral Castle we packed our gear and got our packraft ready. The day was again beautiful and we were quite excited to continue our trip.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

There was ice everywhere but fortunately it didn’t have any impact on our packrafting trip.

Packrafting the River Dee

Abergeldie – The falling castle

After some paddling we passed by Abergeldie which almost fell into the river after the last flood. It seems that they were able to prevent the worst so we were still able to get a nice picture with us and the castle.

Packrafting the River Dee

River walking

The scenery was again breath taking on the second day. Even so the night was freezing cold the sun kept us warm once we came closer to lunch time.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Unfortunately, the water level was just too low on some spots so we had to step out and walk from time to time.

Packrafting the River Dee

Lunch break

After some paddling we found a really nice beach with rocks and gravel on the left hand side of the river where we stepped out to have our lunch breack.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

We filled the MSR Windburner stove with water from the river and a few minutes later we poured it into our dehydrated lunch packages.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Flat river and great scenery

After our lunch break the river continued to be quite flat but we were able to paddle most of the time.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

The river was marked from the last flood. Fallen trees and the undercut shore are witnesses of this tragic event 2 months ago.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

The flood and remainings

The damaged bridges, the castle, part of the road, the caravan park – on the way it looked like on the Grensmaas where we paddled a while ago. Lots of rubbish. We also met a local guy on our trip who was taking pictures on the river. He told us that the stationary trailer destroyed against a bridge on the river. There was all kind of stuff in the river once we paddled it further down. Furniture, contorted bikes, bedding, clothes and a small Scottish St. Andrew’s flag was hanging on a tree. However, there was also something positive on the flood – we were able to find a lot of firewood.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

And then we came to a bridge where we could see even more evidence of the past flood.

Packrafting the River Dee

A trailer smashed against one pillow of the bridge. There were also lots of sharp metal objects in the water. So we just paddled and tried to be careful without think too much about the sharp objects – self-fulfilling prophecy.

Packrafting the River Dee

Tea Time in Ballater

In Ballater – just after the bridge – we stepped out to get some food at Dreeside garage. We got tea and chocolate. We also asked there if there was a good place to eat.

The store owner said: Well, the town centre had all been flooded. Were they too? Yes. They got the water, but from the village, not directly from the river. When did it happen? On the 30th of December. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. In a way yes, he smiled bitterly.

Then Konstantin returned to the place where we stepped out from our packrafts while Patrick has unpacked the backpacks to get our gear drying in the sun.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

We enjoyed our tea and asked a passer-by if there was a shop. We actually saw the shop but we were not sure if it was open. The passer-by said: “Yes, behind the church. Just follow the main road”.

Getting food in Ballater

Konstantin walked with his dry suite to the ship. It felt strange to walk in a village with a dry suite but it was comfortable. He was anyway not there to impress people, but to get the food. No one asked me any questions, I didn’t give any one any explanations.

On the way to the shop, Konstantin saw that there were many closed shops. The Royal appointment for this or for that. The floor boards were ripped off, heaters and fens staring there to dry the aftermath of the flood.

For more than 100 years nothing happened like that. People have already forgotten that it can be like that. And they got careless. But the nature reminds us of its might from time to time.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Preparing for the night

After we got some food in Ballater we continued paddling down the river almost until the sun went down. We pitched our tent and also met the owner of the field where we camped. He said that it’s ok that we camp here over the night.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

We collected a lot of firewood. There was so much of it so we kept the fire burning till late in the night. Patrick went already sleeping quite early while Konstantin was still enjoying the warmth of the fire.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Rapid highlight

On the next day we had a quick breakfast and started paddling shortly after. The weather turned already bad and we decided that we will paddle only till early afternoon to take the bus back to Aberdeen. The last day however, was offering us the best rapids of the trip.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

Deflating the packrafts

Once we passed the last rapid we came to bridge which we had to cross to get to the bus stop of the village. So we stepped out and packed our gear.

Packrafting the River Dee in Scotland

We felt a bit cold and it also started to rain a little bit. Fortunately, it was only raining for a couple of minutes.

Packrafting the River Dee

Searching for a bus

Once we were back on the road we walked towards Dinnet where we searched for the bus stop. Fortunately, Dinnet is quite a small place so the search was quite short.

Packrafting the River Dee

Well, this was our packrafting trip to the river Dee. It would have been interesting to paddle the river further down even so the scenery was not that spectacular anymore as it was higher up in the mountains. Well, maybe we will return here one day …

Packrafting the River Dee

Video

Interested in more packrafting stories? Read about the first Swedish Packrafting Round-Up which was our next packrafting trip.