"Promoting Scotland's craftmanship & local produce". That's the claim.
I've driven past countless times, as it's on my route from Forres to the south. I'd never gone in until July 13 - its close to Forres so why stop going in either direction?
It was the urgent need for coffee & a scone which took me in last month. That worked well. The Olive Tree Cafe sorted me out nicely. You can sit inside or in the courtyard - no brainer that day, in very warm sunshine.
I also managed to pick up a couple of birthday cards in the Art Gallery.
It is a collection of enterprises. Those already mentioned, plus a bookshop, a farm & garden shop, an antique shop etc.
Lovely setting in lush farm/wood land.
Location is on the B9007 (see another of my tips) close to its junction with the Grantown road. It is close to Randolph's Leap.
This road runs between the A940 Forres-Grantown road and the Carrbridge-Grantown road, over Dava Moor.
It is magnificent.
You can often travel miles without seeing another car. Where else can you drive perfectly safely down the middle of a B road at 70mph +? The road is a mixture of tight, blind bends (requiring a lot of care and sensible speed) and long straight stretches where you can see miles ahead.
However the road is secondary. The wilderness landscape is what's so great. Miles of nothing (well, hills, forests and moors). Not even many sheep...
Stop the car at strategic points, turn the engine off and enjoy the silence. Bring a picnic if it's mealtime. Bring binoculars to spot the birdlife (black grouse occasionally).
Early morning and late evening are particularly good times because of the light.
DON'T use it in winter if there is any snow about. There are snow gates at each end, but I've been caught out before as just a little frozen snow can make the road very tricky.
I've been traveling the road for 50 years, and must have used it 20 times in the last 9 months, but I'll never tire of the beauty of the landscape.
Dulsie Bridge was built by General Wade in the mid 1700s as part of his road, bridge and fort building programme. It was aimed at bringing the unruly natives under proper colonial control after the Bonnie Prince Charlie uprising.
250 years later my wee Audi A3 crossed without a hitch.
You need nerves of steel and x-ray vision to reach Dulsie Bridge. The road is single track for miles, with tight blind bends every 100 metres. Fortunately traffic is virtually zero.
It is worth it. The surrounding landscape - forest, moorland and some marginal agriculture - is superb. The bridge crosses the River Findhorn as it flows through a deep gorge. It is very peaceful. No cars, almost no people...
The "car park" is a passing place which has been expanded to hold 2.5 cars comfortably. Other facilities comprise an information board and 2 picnic tables. I'd already had a super lunch, but next time I'm in the area and thinking of a picnic, it's the perfect spot.
Strange but true - Rabbie Burns spent the night in one of the 3 houses which make up the settlement (too small to be a hamlet, and definitely not a village).
To get there...
Have to confess, I went there from Cawdor (near Nairn) and access from Forres is better - but still very "rural".
From Forres take the A940 south towards Grantown. Then take the B9007 (signposted Ferness) on the right a few miles outside town. The Dulsie Bridge road is about 5km past Ferness on the right. It is signposted. From there is is 2.5km on an "unclassified" road (viz better than a farm track, but not as good as a B road).
25km in total from Forres. Via Michelin reckons 26 mins.
Be wary of going in the winter months - it can get wild up there.
Believe me, this is way off the beaten path.
You take the Grantown road (A940) south of town for about 29km, and watch out for the Lochindorb sign on the right. Then you take a single track road for about a mile to the lochside. Don't go in winter if there's snow about!
The loch sits high up on Dava Moor, remote and forbidding. In the middle is an island with a ruined castle - also remote and forbidding. The name means 'Loch of Trouble' in Gaelic and the castle dates back to the 13th century. At the end of the 14th century, it was given by Robert II to his 3rd son - the infamous Wolf of Badenoch (Alexander Stewart) who (among other ill deeds) destroyed Elgin Cathedral.
Great spot for a picnic and walk if the weather is good.
The drive there and back is through delightful countryside - farms, forests and moorlands.