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At present there are 13 walks to choose from, from around Ballater and Loch Kinord - and with more walks added regularly.

The Monument to Sir Allan Russell MacKenzie

Sir Allan Russell MacKenzie was the 2nd Baronet of Glen Muick. He was born on 29th March 1850 and died at the age of 56 on the 19th August 1906. He gained the rank of sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards in 1873 although he resigned it in 1874 and succeeded to the title of Baronet in 1890. 

Monument to Sir Allan MacKenzie, Pannanich, Deeside
The monument to Sir Allan Russell MacKenzie
Not much is recorded about Sir Allan Russell MacKenzie, but his father, James, was certainly a colourful character. 

Sir James Thompson MacKenzie, or "James Thompson" as he was originally called, was the 1st Baronet. He was born the son of a small Aberdeen shopkeeper who went to India and made his fortune. On his return he apparently doubled it through shrewd investments in the City. 

Edward VII had a connection to Deeside
The Playboy Prince
With his newly acquired wealth James Thompson acquired a highland estate, Glen Muick, and entered society. He became a particular friend of the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, eldest son of Queen Victoria. 

Upon Sir James's death in 1890 he was described in some newspapers as having been a benefactor of the Prince of Wales, not in terms of giving him money but by providing hospitality to those Edward wished to entertain, in particular by loaning Edward the use of Sir James's stately home of Sunningdale Park, very convenient for the nearby race course, for Ascot week. 

Edward, or Bertie as he was then more commonly known, or more unkindly "the Playboy Prince", certainly would have had use for a large residence for entertaining around that time, he was known for his somewhat fast-living. In 1891 Edward was involved in "the Royal Baccarat Scandal" when it emerged he had played an illegal card game for money the previous year. He was called as a witness in the defamation court case when one of the players sued another for calling him a cheat. 

Also in that year a close friend of Edward's, Lord Charles Beresford, threatened to reveal details of his private life after Edward interfered in Beresford's affair with another woman. 

Walk across the Bridge of Ballater, Deeside
The Glen Muick estate: cads prohibited
Having risen from a being an Aberdonian shopkeeper's son to the ranks of the nobility, Sir James only lived to enjoy his baronetcy for 6 months before it passed to Sir Allan Russell on his death. 

Sir James was mindful of his friendship with his Royal neighbours at Balmoral to the last though, leaving a codicil in his will that Glen Muick must never be let to "a cad or anyone who would damage it, or be disagreeable to the Royalties from whom I have always received the greatest kindness."


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  7. There is a strong case for the reason for award of a baronetcy to Sir James through his loan to The Prince of Wales a large sum of money (some accounts give it as £250,000), the surety being Sandringham. It was recorded that shortly after Sir James' death Glenmuick was visited by some representatives of HRH Wales, and, going through Sir James' papers, removed the appropriate 'Sandringham' documents.

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