of Scotland, Speyside
Steep red-sandstone cliffs
sweep down to sheltered sandy coves and rocky outcrops, where
thousands of sea birds flock together. Scattered farmsteads and
fishing villages border the fertile land by Moray Firth, known
as the 'Granary of the North'. The Spey's soft, peaty waters supply
a host of malt whisky distilleries, and its rocky pools are alive
with salmon and brown trout.
Museum, a mile east of Archiestown, displays horse-drawn vehicles,
distinctive farm tools.
Two-storey tower built
in 1655. Bell tolls to summon locals to church and to warn of
Fortress of clan chief
'Edom o Gordon' in 16th century tops ancient earthworks. Its corner-stones
were taken for use in Balvenie Castle nearby.
Castle motte of 12th
century over-looks scene of 1645 Civil War skir-mish. Restored
dovecote on castle mound provides views of Black Isle. Remains
of medieval Rait Castle stand nearby.
Earth Pillars, naturally
eroded from red sandstone, stand on steep hillside near River
Dcv moat surrounds bold,
13th-century castle ruin, noted for its high stone walls and double
iron gates. Triumphant Jacobite troops returned here in 1689 after
the Battle of Killiecrankie.
Family portraits line
walls of battlemented tower house built in 1567. Ornate plaster
ceiling of flowers and fruit in dining room.
Fishermen moor at Cluny
to sell their catches. Chapel dedicated to fishermen who died
at sea. Maritime museum illustrates local fishing industry.
Old general store has
original shop fittings dating from the 1920s.
Thomas Telford's cast-iron
bridge of 1815 spans River Spey.
Roe deer and capercaillie
inhabit forest and salt marsh along coast. Picnic areas near dunes,
which cover old village of Culbin.
Ducks, geese, terns inhabit
shingle bars along coast. Predatory birds scout acres of salt
marsh where waders sift the mud. Stone-crops and lichens thrive
on Nairn Old Bar to the west, as well as heathers, crowberries
Resort village on two
levels, divided by disused viaduct. Distant Sutherland peaks present
panorama from Bin Hill. Foot-bridge leads to golf course and 'Three
Kings' rock formations.
Set on River Lossie.
US vice-president George Mifflin Dallas, a descendant of Dallas
family which owned the village, gave his name to the Texas city
Working distillery housed
in a Victorian building offers guided tours, videos of whisky
making. Impressive shop display of 200 different whiskies.
Farm Visitor Centre
Old farm tools contrast
with a modern dairy viewed from elevated walkway. Afternoon trips
explore Darnaway forest and castle. The latter is noted for its
magnificent medieval hammer-beam roof in the hall.
Noble church ruin bears
inscription of founder, Alexander Ogilvy of Deskford, dated 1551.
Lantern tower crowns
restored castle, built by Duff family in Victorian era. Guided
tours of castle and grounds available.
River Fiddich and Dullan
Water converge here. Town clock tower houses museum and information
centre. Glenfiddich distillery was founded in 1887.
Ruin of Duffus Castle,
rebuilt of stone in 14th century, stands on a Norman mound. The
sounds of modern fighter planes are heard from RAF Lossiemouth.
remains of Elgin Cathedral, burned by 'Wolf of Badenoch' in 1390.
Pictish symbols survive on Celtic cross slab in choir. Old oatmeal
mill on River Lossie dates from 13th century.
Third village of this
name; storms buried first one with sand in 17th century while
flooding swamped second in 1701. Sea birds feed in tidal bay and
organic vegetables flourish at Findhorn Foundation, established
Steep path to ruins of
cliff-side castle, built by Ogilvy family in medieval times and
inhabited until about 16011. Crescent-shaped Sunnyside Beach to
Village's lower part
envelops sandy cove, from which footpath leads to Portknockie.
Upper part's skyline dominated by church.
designed in 18th century. Horse-drawn vehicles, model engines
re-create past at folk museum, housed in old church.
Castle of 16th century
lies at heart of conservation village. Impressive canopied tombs
housed in small church.
Ancient town among hills.
Buildings of many periods include 15th-century market cross and
a 19th-century tolbooth. Steep path leads to battlemented 7Oft
Nelson Tower, which provides views of Moray Firth. Walks south
explore riverside and woodland trails.
Whisky distillery supplied
by soft, peaty water from Grampian Hills. Guided tours, exhibitions/displays
explain whisky-making process.
Fishing village, now
water sports and fishing centre. Pleasure boats moor at harbour,
village itself is set on slope away from sea.
Excellent fishing at
this meeting place of the rivers Bugle and Deveron. A 17th-century
heraldic carving stands over the main door of Huntly Castle, set
in lush park-land by Deveron Gorge.
'Auld Brig o' Keith'
over River lsla, built 1609, links medieval Old Keith and New
Keith (1750) to Fife Keith (1817). Milton Distillery, now Strathisla,
of 1785, is Scot-land's oldest operating malt whisky distillery.
Local pine forests supplied
timber to these two once-flourishing sailing-ship building centres
on the River Spey in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Sea birds
flock to coastline. Coastal path by sand and shingle beach leads
7 miles west to Lossiemouth.
Bustling fishing port,
with sandy beaches good for bathing. Fisheries and Community Museum
at harbour includes story of James Ramsay MacDonald (1886-1937),
born here, who became Prime Minister in 1924. A 4 mile walk inland
leads to ruins of Palace of Spynie, 15th-century fortress of Bishops
of Moray. Good fishing at both riverside and seashore.
Restored oatmeal mill,
built 19th century, stands beside River Isla.
stands on an ancient site, founded by St Moluag in 6th century.
Pictish stone in the churchyard records Danish defeat.
Monastic services still
take place in abbey founded in 1230 by Alexander II. Badly damaged
in 14th century and had fallen into ruin by 1560, but was restored
in 1948 by Benedictines.
Restored Gollachy ice
house, relic of salmon industry, and where fish were once stored,
stands on shore of this 18th-century harbour. Dovecote surviving
from now-vanished castle nearby can be seen from A98.
'Preacher's Cave' on
shore was church in 19th century. Foundations of 7th-century Pictish
fort perched on promontory overlooking harbour. Cliff-top path
to west provides views of the Black Isle.
River Findhorn runs through
a deep, spectacular sandstone chasm at Randolph's Leap. Beech,
larch and oak shade woodland paths above gorge. Floodstones are
reminders of the storms of 1829, when waters rose 5Oft.
chapel; perhaps oldest post-Reformation Catholic church still
Long-distance 30 mile
walk follows fishermen's trails and old railway south. Ospreys
fish in river near Fochabers. A marked and well-maintained pathway
leads to Ballindalloch.
Stretch of steeply angled
hillsides hold the turbulent waters of River Findhorn in check,
like a bridle on a mettlesome horse -- Gaelic srian
means 'bridle'. Grouse
moors overlook the Tirfogrean Gully, eroded by swirling currents.
Scattered farms are those that survived flooding in 1829.
Carvings of warriors
and corpses embellish this 23ft monolith east of Forres. It was
carved by the Picts around AD 900. Witches' Stone a't foot of
Cluny Hill nearby marks the place where women accused of practising
witchcraft were put to death.
Marked paths, called
Winding Walks, span stretch of woodland east of Fochabers. Hill's
summit provides views of Fochabers and lower Speyside.