Speyside Area Profile

This area includes Rothes, Aberlour, Craigellachie, Dufftown, Tomintoul, Glenlivet, Archiestown, Knockando, Marypark and Carron.

Only one wall remains on the site of the 11th century castle in Rothes, which overlooks the southern end of the town. Built by the de Pollocks and latterly a Leslie stronghold, it was once an imposing site. Rothes was built in the traditional Scottish settlement pattern along a street, with the farmland originally behind the houses.

Nestling at the confluence of the River Fiddich and Dullan Water is Dufftown, relying very much on the quality of its water for its survival. The distilleries which use the water are the lifeblood of the community and a magnet for tourists. Dufftown is also noted for the 13th century ruin of Balvenie Castle, for its historic parish church at Mortlach, its imposing clock tower and the peaceful walk along the banks of the Dullan to the Giant's Chair.

Tomintoul, at over 1,000 feet above sea level, is the highest village in Moray and the Highlands and lies just to the west of the infamous Lecht Pass, which is always the first to be blocked by snow in winter. A planned community developed in the 18th century, Tomintoul lies in the Glenlivet Estate and the Cairngorms National Park. The community in the area, with the exception of Tomintoul village, is widely spread throughout the rural area with small settlements and farms.

Glenlivet is famous not just for its whisky, or 'uisge beatha' (meaning the 'water of life' in Gaelic), but for its remoteness, a hidden glen where cattle reivers, smugglers and illicit distillers congregated for safety two centuries ago. The economy revolves around farming, forestry, game-keeping, whisky distilling and tourism. 'The Glenlivet' distillery visitor centre can attract as many as 30,000 visitors a year.

Essentially Victorian in character, Craigellachie is a lively and very attractive village built in terraces above the rivers Spey and Fiddich. Attractions include the Craigellachie Telford Bridge, Speyside Cooperage Visitors Centre, the Macallan Distillery, and the Green Hall Art Gallery.

The Fiddich Park is on the site once occupied by Craigellachie Station, which used to be the busiest junction in the northeast of Scotland. The famously scenic Speyside Line came through Craigellachie from Dufftown and Keith en route for Grantown-on-Spey and Aviemore. The old track between Dufftown and Ballindalloch is now used by the Speyside Way Long Distance Route, as it carries walkers between Buckie and Aviemore.