This beauty spot is worth a visit. It is about 10 minutes drive south of town in the direction of Grantown on Spey.
The River Findhorn runs through a deep gorge, giving some spectacular views. As with so many local sights, the surrounding countryside is almost worth the trip by itself.
Apparently the name is misleading. It refers to one of the Earls of Moray and his escapades, but it seems it wasn't him. The website linked below tells the story very well, and I'm not about to plagiarise or paraphrase it!
Must get some photos - drive past almost ever time I'm in the area, but haven't stopped for a while.
UPDATE - stopped and walked around yesterday (8-5-10) on a beautiful early spring afternoon. Wonderful pine & birch forest, the River Findhorn looking special, tranquility apart from the noise of the river... good place to start rebuilding the soul.
This is a Pictish standing stone. Scotland has many sites where similar stones (often in groupings) can be found, but this is a top rate example and more easily accessed than many.
It is now surrounded by a glass case to preserve it from the effects of the elements and pollution.
The stone is 23 feet high, and the largest sculpted stone in the UK. Dates from the 9th century and may be a cenotaph. It is thought to have been erected by Kenneth, who became the first Scottish king after defeating the 7 northern Pictish kingdoms.
This is a real gem!
A "must see" if you are in the area.
It dates from about 1380, but has been added to and restored frequently since then. I could write pages about the place, but I'm trying to be concise and you should look at the website for more detail.
- check the website for current opening times (it is closed in winter)
- do buy a guide book; it's only £3, it's written by the Cawdor family (not the usual corporate blurb) and is a bit of fun in itself!
- £8 entry for adults (June 09)
- PAY ATTENTION! Hidden away among all the family portraits I spotted a Dali sketch...
- the gardens are wonderful, so allow time to enjoy them and try to pick a warm sunny day!
- the Dowager's dog is an aggressive, yappy wee brute of a terrier, so watch out if it's been allowed off the leash
- they have a picnic area, so take advantage
- they also have a restaurant if you prefer being catered for and/or the weather is being Scottish
- golf course also available!
- watch out for special events (a performance of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream on the front lawn was upcoming when I visited).
- the Thane of Cawdor is one of the characters in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Like many other things to do in this area, it gets you off the beaten track onto the B roads, and lets you enjoy the wonderful countryside in the region.
This is a 16th-century tower house full of art and antiques. You will see French furniture; English, continental and Chinese porcelain and an art collection including 17th century Dutch art, 19th century English watercolours, Scottish colourists and early 20th century works. The library holds around 6,000 books.
The castle was the home of the Brodie family until the late 20th century and it is believed Malcom IV gave the land to the Brodies as long ago as 1160.
The surrounding parkland and gardens are part of the visitor experience.
The castle is closed in winter, so check the website for current information.
You can't visit Moray and not take in a distillery visit! After all, you have distilleries around every corner.
The Forres one is not particularly famous when compared with the Glenfiddichs and Glenmorangies of this world, but part of the attraction of malt whisky is its diversity.
So, take a couple of hours to visit Benromach. It is owned by the Elgin based Gordon & Macphail business - a well known local name in the whisky trade. Worth remembering that if your kids are at high school age they will enjoy the experience - the applied chemistry and biology in the process will strike a chord. The website is very good, and will give you current opening times.
And, every time you see the Mosset Burn flowing through the town (as you will if you stay awhile) contemplate the end result...
Located just off the High Street at the Tolbooth.
I didn't have time to go in last time I was in town, but next time.
From looking at the website, it is a typical local museum. It has a visitor centre too.
I was reminded of the castles of Mar with this little number. The typical turret set at a corner is so reminiscent of their ilk though the large bay windows belied a modernity in this particular edifice.
Brodie Castle has fine grounds as befits a stateky residence, It is famous for its long drive flanked by daffodils, of over 200 species, many of which are rare. Luckilly we were there at exactly the right time in April to see them in ful bloom.
There is also a recently renovated ancient pond, with lovely woodland walks around.
In the grounds of the castle, there is a Pictish stone which was found in 1781 during excavations for a local church. It was moved here around 1840 and is sculptured with Ogham inscriptions including fish monsters and an elephant. This cross-slab of grey sandstone is known as Rodney's Stone with varying stories as to the origin of the name.
Set in peaceful parkland, this fine 16th-century tower house is packed with enough art and antiques to keep connoisseurs happy all day. It contains fine French furniture; English, continental and Chinese porcelain; and a major collection of paintings, including 17th-century Dutch art, 19th-century English watercolours, Scottish Colourists and early 20th-century works. The magnificent library contains some 6,000 volumes.
The castle itself was the home of the Brodie family until the late 20th century. In fact, the family’s association with the area goes back further than the building of the castle, possibly as far as 1160 when it is believed Malcolm IV gave these lands to the Brodies. In 1645, the castle came under attack from Montrose’s army and sustained some damage, but thankfully survived. Today, you can see the additions made to the building in the 17th and 19th centuries.
There's also a picnic area, tea room and gift shop, adventure playground with timber fort for the kids, woodland walks, gardens and a lake. If you have chance to visit during the Spring, the famous collection of daffodils will be in full bloom.
In care of National Trust For Scotland
Admission Charge -
Adults £8.00 for castle and grounds
The distillery has an interesting exhibit of an old horse drawn, steam powered fire engine. It has some relevance to the local area, but I can't remember what exactly. Still it looks nice on the publicity photos.
Some of the equipment at the distillery is getting a bit rusty these days, but the giant copper stills are worth seeing. It is a shame you don't get the smells of fermenting barley and distilling liquor.
This former distillery has been developed to allow visitors to see in more detail how whisky is produced.
Dallas Dhu was the last distillery to be built in the nineteenth century.
Visitors can explore the old Victorian distillery and then enjoy a dram in the audio-visual theatre whilst watching the story of Scotch Whisky.
We came away a bit disappointed (but warmed after the free drams) There are much better working distilleries in the area. The last whisky made here was in 1983. You can still buy it, and it is out of this world, but it costs £50 .00 a bottle (we had a miniature). Be aware there though the whisky you taste after the tour was not distilled here!
In care of Historic Scotland -
Admission charge - Adults £4.50
Findhorn is a village in Moray located near the end of a small peninsula on the eastern shore of Findhorn Bay. Although endowed with beautiful scenery, it is best known for the Findhorn Foundation, a major international centre for spiritual retreat, education & personal transformation. In other words a bit of a hippy type community, or should I say "New Age". originally caravans on the dunes, it now has more permanent lodgings where you can stay and find yourself.
The Witch's Stoen at the side of the road, going out of town, marks the point at the bottom of the hill, from which suspected witches were rolled down the hill in spiked barrells. It doesn't say how many of them met there end this way.
Sore point maybe?