NewsVintage loco restored to its former gloryAccess rights must not be abused, says landownerTown businesses in clean-up for tourism seasonDistillery weighs in with games boost Remembering the Scottish boy who became Canada's first PMDouble joy for Aberlour in whisky awardsMoray Way walkers' map launchedTourism boss: Let's be on top of our gameHomage to Nessie at spring exhibitionTourism chief hails rise in visitors
Capital of Strathspey, Grantown-on-Spey provides year-round interest.
Handy for both the Lecht and Cairngorm Mountains, Grantown is exactly 22 miles between both resorts and appeals to skiers during winter months. Summer visitors enjoy activities and attractions found within easy reach.
Established in 1765 by local laird Sir James Grant, Grantown was one of the first planned towns in the Highlands. The grand 18th century Georgian buildings, the broad tree-lined main street and town square give Grantown its character.
The High Street has a reputation for country shopping at its best with independent shops that are a pleasure to browse. All celebrate the unique and unusual. The many friendly cafes and restaurants make the perfect retreat while local B&Bs, guest houses and hotels have a reputation for going out of their way to make guests feel welcome and the award-winning caravan site comes highly recommended.
The town is defined by the river in more than just its name. Arguably the most famous river in Scotland, the River Spey is certainly the fastest flowing river in the country and can rise up to 12 feet during a snow-melt. Home to the otter, the rare Goldeneye duck, freshwater pearl mussels and sea lampreys, the Spey is world-famous as a salmon river and offers first class beats for the angler.
Many activities in Grantown are organised around the river. Visitors can explore the river on the many organised canoe trips or keep feet dry on walks along its banks.
Once they have tested their skills, anglers should visit The Spey Valley Smokehouse on the outskirts of Grantown, which has more than 100 years experience in producing the finest smoked salmon.
Fresh salmon are carefully filleted and cured in the traditional manner with salt, a little sugar and a great deal of experience. Traditional curing lasts for 12 to 15 hours, after which the sides of salmon are washed, dried and individually hand-strung in the smokehouse before the final transformation begins.
The salmon are hung over smoking oak chips and gently absorb the rich aroma for around 18 hours before they are removed.
The Strathspey Estate, in addition to excellent accommodation, presents some of the finest and highest quality Scottish sport available amid breathtaking scenery.
The professional gamekeepers, deer stalkers and ghillies are only too willing to share knowledge of their sport with the visitor.
Grantown Museum and Heritage Trust in Burnfield House explores the history of the people and buildings that made Grantown what it is today. Discover all about Queen Victoria’s royal visit in the 19th century, the coming of the railways and how Grantown became a popular Highland holiday destination. The Finlarig Stone, currently on loan from the National Museum of Scotland, is a classic example of a Pictish symbol stone. It was found in the 1860s at Finlarig Farm, three miles west of Grantown. The town itself is the traditional home of the Clan Grant, and the museum receives frequent visits and enquiries from Grants across the world and can help with local research and genealogy.
Formed in 1890, Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club has a long standing tradition of excellent golf. In 1921, course designer James Braid advised on improvements to the course and the changes he recommended remain to the present day. One of the signature holes is Murdie’s View, the 275 yard 9th - a short downhill par 4 with the spectacular backdrop of pine trees and the Cromdale Hills.
Just five minutes walk from the town square, the native pines of Anagach Woods were originally planted on moorland in 1766, by 'Good Sir James'. The woods have regenerated naturally to provide a rich habitat for rare flora and fauna including red squirrel and capercaillie.
A network of tracks and paths has developed in the area including the long distance route The Speyside Way (84 miles); the Dava Way (26 miles) which follows the old railway line from Grantown to Forres and many shorter circular waymarked walks.
The Spey Valley has the greatest concentration of famous brand whisky distilleries in Scotland and Grantown makes a central base for touring the malt whisky and nearby coastal trails.
Taking you back in time, The Strathspey Railway recreates the atmosphere of the Highland railways in the 1950s and early 60s. The nearest station to Grantown-on-Spey is Broomhill, three and a half miles from the town.
The route from Aviemore to Boat of Garten and Broomhill was once part of the mainline from Perth to Forres via Grantown-on-Spey but was closed on October 18th 1965 under the ‘Beeching Plan’.
The railway’s ultimate goal is to bring steam trains back to Grantown again.
The award-winning Speyside Heather Centre is based near Grantown at Dulnain Bridge. Providing colour all year in the garden, the versatile heather is a favourite in the garden. The ‘Heather Trail’ at the centre leads around the show garden which features many varieties of heathers, conifers and shrubs in an inspirational setting. Take a living souvenir home with you from the garden centre which stocks up to 300 varieties of heather!
A selection of heather related crafts and gifts are available in the gift shop including Heather Wine!
Clothes are available from the boutique and in the heather thatched cottage, there’s a selection of antiques and collectibles.
The Heather Heritage Visitor Centre at Speyside Heather is Scotland’s only exhibition examining the historical and modern uses of heather in thatching, ropes, tattie baskets, doormats, medicinal and culinary applications, wool dyeing, and much more.
Afterwards relax in The Clootie Dumpling Restaurant and enjoy Scottish specialities including the Speyside Heather Centre’s famous Clootie Dumpling.
Ballindalloch Castle, just 15 miles from Grantown is another ‘must-see’. Set in magnificent grounds between the Rivers Spey and Avon, the castle and its gardens are open to visitors.
Known as the Pearl of the North, Ballindalloch is one of the few privately owned castles to have been lived in continuously by its original family. The Macpherson-Grants have lived here since 1546.
Dating from at least the 16th century, the castle was originally built in the traditional Z plan, but has been altered and enlarged over the centuries and is very much a family home.
In the fields surrounding the castle, the Ballindalloch cattle herd is the oldest Aberdeen Angus herd in the world. The breed is directly descended from the native cattle found in the north east and the Ballindalloch estate has been an important cattle breeder since the 19th century.