|Invercauld Estate lies partly
in Aberdeenshire and partly in Perthshire. It has been in the
ownership of the Farquharson family since at least 1630. The
current (16th) Laird, Captain Alwyne Farquharson, inherited
the estate in 1941. It lies at the upper end of the River Dee
catchment, within the Cairngorm Mountains, and covers approximately
43,660 hectares (108,000 acres). Managed as a sporting estate,
income is derived from stalking, shooting, forestry, agriculture,
tourism, fishing and let properties.
The estate's winter red deer population currently stands
at approximately 1,500 stags and 3,500 hinds plus calves.
Just over half of this total are resident on the Perthshire
side of the estate. In line with advice from the Deer Commission
for Scotland, it is estate policy to reduce numbers to protect
and enhance the natural heritage. Shooting for around 280
stags is let each year. The highest bag
over the past ten years was achieved in 1998 when 3,800
brace of grouse were shot. In 2004 the Home Beat of
Invercauld shot a record of 1,250 brace for the season.
The four main beat areas are also
managed as red grouse moor. The bag for 1998 was 3,800 brace
of grouse, the highest for the last ten years. Management
of moorland for grouse by legal control of predators (particularly
crows and foxes), strip burning of heather and controlled
grazing also benefits other moorland birds.
Reduction of ticks is an important management activity.
The Estate lets the fishing on the River Dee between Braemar
Castle and Ballater. For some years salmon numbers have been
low and the annual catch declined from over 800 in 1978 to
less than 30 in 1999. Recent catches have
improved greatly with well over 200 fish caught in 2005.
Fishing progress and availability can be seen on
The estate's commercial forestry is mostly north of the River
Dee. Plantations of mainly Scots pine, with some larch, cover
around 1,000 hectares. Most of the semi-natural woodland is
mixed pine and birch woodland, with areas of broadleaf and
conifers also present. The estate actively promotes the enhancement
of habitat to encourage stocks of capercaillie and black grouse.
The estate employs around 30 full-time employees, including
maintenance staff and an estate office.
Visitors are welcome for hillwalking and mountain biking
using the network of estate tracks. A number of routes are
waymarked and the "Hillphone" service gives information
on shooting and stalking activities, so that the visitors
can plan routes accordingly. Wild camping is permitted on
most parts of the estate. The estate operates a Ranger service.
The current estate strategy is to support a number of enterprises
which use land resources sustainably to provide income and
employment from sporting activities (in particular red deer
stalking and red grouse shooting), agriculture, forestry and
tourism, while at the same time protecting and enhancing the
natural heritage. The provision of housing and employment
for local people is a key objective of the estate.
A Successful Stalk
Burning the heather