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The local area guide to living in Ballater
Ballater is a picturesque village (or Burgh, as villages are known in Scotland), located in Aberdeenshire. The village is surrounded by the river Dee and to the west lies the Cairngorms Mountain Range.
The village is a place of natural beauty, making it a popular centre for hikers and ramblers, as well as those who enjoy outdoor sporting activities such as golf, cycling and fishing.
Historically, the settlement of Ballater dates to the 18th century, and was famed for its spring water, once thought to cure scrofula. Today Ballater is a thriving village, that is bursting with charm and Scottish warmth. Its idyllic location among the stunning countryside of the Cairngorms National Park has contributed to it becoming a popular retreat with tourists. Ballater sits just over 40 miles to the west of Aberdeen, and the historic Balmoral Castle is only 8 miles away.
Information about the local residents
The Census of 2011 revealed that Ballater was home to slightly more than 1,500 residents. In the 10 years since the Census of 2001 was conducted, Ballater’s population has grown by roughly 100 people. Today, the people who call Ballater home are divided into 734 households – most of which occupy unshared, detached homes.
Ballater boasts fairly average home ownership statistics when compared to Scotland as a whole. Around 64% of Ballater’s households own their homes, as opposed to 62% nationwide.
In terms of schooling, Ballater is fairly limited. Ballater Primary School is the only school in the village, and is currently attended by 103 pupils. Student achievement is respectable, with 90% of pupils at the P7 level performing well or very well in reading and 66% performing well or very well in numeracy at the same level.
Students at the secondary level will find they have to travel elsewhere in order to attend high school. The closest secondary school to Ballater is Aboyne Academy, which is located in the town of Aboyne. There are currently 658 students in attendance at the academy.
As you might expect from a small, rural village, transport links are rather few and far between in Ballater. Unfortunately, the village has been without any train services since the 1960s, but there are a number of buses that operate in the village. These bus services connect the village to other settlements in the area, as well as regional centres such as Aberdeen or Crathes, and tourist destinations like Balmoral Castle.
If you are planning to move to Ballater, we would advise you to have your own car as a result of the limited nature of public transport. The 2011 Census revealed that about 80% of the village’s households have access to at least one car.
For a small village, Ballater has a surprising number of shops. If traditional Scottish arts and crafts are your thing, Celicall Crafts produces bespoke needlework, photos and prints. You may also be able to find a couple of trinkets and treasures at the Byzantium Gift Shop. Second-hand and out-of-print books are the flavour of the day at Deeside Books.
There are a number of shops and cafes, selling fresh, locally grown and handmade produce. Deeside Deli & Garden is locally renowned for its fresh produce, fine wines and Scottish cheeses and beers. Riverside Cottage is famous for its artisan Crannach bread and homemade cakes.
For the active outdoors type, Cycle Highlands supplies a range of bicycles for men, women and children and specialises in mountain biking. The Bike Station rents a range of bikes year round.
The choice of places to dine out in Ballater is extensive and includes traditional Scottish food, classic pub grub, Indian and Italian cuisine. There are also a wide range of takeaways, cafes and bistros serving traditional, local bread and cakes.
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