Tour Grantown-on-Spey Scotland
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Castle Grant, seat of Clan Grant, Earls of Seafield, gives its name to Grantown, usually designated as " on-Spey " to distinguish it from Granton near Edinburgh.
Speyside Whisky Map. The region of Speyside in north east Scotland has the greatest concentration of malt whisky distilleries in the world. This colour map and guide clearly shows the names and locations of over 50 distilleries. Those open to the public are identified and separated from distilleries that are mothballed or closed. The eight distilleries and cooperage of the world’s only Malt Whisky Trail are also marked. Use this map and guide to locate world-famous brands and plan an unforgettable visit to this rich and scenic area.
Grantown Museum hosts meetings of the Grantown Society and houses its archives. It provides research facilities for genealogy and local history. Grantown is the traditional home of the Clan Grant and the museum receives frequent visits and enquiries from Grants across the world.
The Speyside Way captures the spirit of Scotland, running from the fishing port of Buckie, 50 miles east of Inverness, along the lovely valley of the River Spey.
Grantown-on-Spey, a town bustling with locals and visitors, is set amid farmland and sheltered by hills, its air fragrant with the tang of birch and pinewoods growing in the immediate vicinity. Yet a barren tract of land was the site chosen by James Grant of Castle Grant in 1766 for the settlement that now bears his name. New towns, usually laid out on a grid pattern, were all the rage with 18th century landowners, an investment that exploited poor land,
accommodated subsistence farmers and crofters who were landless owing to the reorganisation of larger farms, and served as a local centre in a predominantly rural area. Within twenty years of Grantown-on-Spey's foundation the town had nearly four hundred inhabitants, among
whom were shoemakers, tailors, weavers of wool, linen and stockings, blacksmiths, wrights, masons and twelve merchants.
The main street that passes through the centre of Grantown-on-Spey is part of the military road linking Braemar and Deeside with Fort George on the Moray Firth; this was carried over the River Spey quite close to the town on a substantial three-arch bridge constructed in 1754.
The principal local building material is a handsome pale grey granite; the main streets and the spacious central square are lined with buildings of this excellent fabric. Some of the early houses are of a local design, pairs of semi-detached dwellings with a regular pattern
of windows and doors across the front, window-door-window-door-window. One small and one slightly larger home are provided in the same building. These were built during the first fifty years of the town and flank The Square, Castle Street and High Street, although
some have had the ground floor altered by the insertion of modern shop fronts.
There is a handsome Bank of Scotland, built 1865-1867, on the angle of The Square and High Street. The local grey granite is seen here to good advantage; large windows light the ground floor, with separate entrances to the banking hall and the manager's accommodation,
one from High Street the other from The Square.
Another building of note in The Square is the old orphanage. This was established with money left by Lady Grant of Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, after her death in 1788, and the building was remodelled in 1824 by the addition of the projecting centre tower decorated with angle urns and crowned by a fine octagonal clock tower.
The clock was also installed in 1824 and still keeps accurate time. Also of note in The Square is the dignified fluted-column war memorial designed by the well-known Aberdeen architect A. Marshall Mackenzie.
Another fine building in Grantown-on-Spey is the Inverallan Church of Scotland in Mossie Road. The grandiose Gothic structure was erected in 1854-6 in memory of the seventh and eighth earls of Seafield, of Castle Grant and Cullen, by Caroline, dowager countess, wife of the former and mother of the latter. The sinuous window tracery incorporates the S for Seafield, the east window ICOG (lan Charles Ogilvie Grant), and in a west window CS for Caroline Stuart, the countess. The pulpit is made up of unusual pieces of ornate German carving dated 1639, which came from Castle Grant. There is also a richly carved 17th century panel depicting the arms of many local
landowners, further decorated with stylised flowers, geometric forms and texts. This was discovered in a nearby farmhouse in 1874 by the Earl of Seafield and is thought to have come from a former church at Duthill, to the north of Grantown.
The number of hotels in Grantown-on-Spey reflect its role as a tourist centre, started perhaps by Queen Victoria who stayed, almost incognito, at the Grant Arms Hotel in September, 1860. There she enjoyed "excellent porridge" and judged the trip from Balmoral to be a "never to be forgotten expedition, which will always be remembered with delight". The Queen and Prince Albert travelled in a carriage, the servants in a wagonnette. The railway arrived a few years later, it is now closed, and with it the visitors, establishing Grantown as a tourist centre. The hotels and the residential streets with their barge-boarded villas grew from then on.