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A Highland Fling - Grantown on Spey

A Highland Fling - Grantown on Spey

Castles, Casks, Boats & Trains, this tour has them all!

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Castles, Casks, Boats & Trains, this tour has them all!

Ballindalloch Castle

Situated on the banks of the River Avon, a short distance from its junction with the River Spey, Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since it was finished in 1546.

Over the entrance to Ballindalloch Castle stands the Macpherson-Grant arms, finely cut in freestone, inscribed with Ye Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in. Either side of the inscription is carved Erected 1546 and the codicil Restored 1850. These two eras, more so than any other, have left their mark upon the architectural style of the castle.

The largest and arguably the grandest room in the Castle is the Dining Room. Entered by a wide staircase from the Hallway, flanked by large oak balustrades, this was once the Great Hall; the beating heart of the original 16th Century fortress. The Library is home to the Macpherson-Grant’s private collection of original 18th and 19th Century European literature: a collection which runs to some 2,500 volumes. This valuable archive was begun by Colonel William Grant who was a keen collector of early 18th Century classic English and French literature.

Beneath the stone floors of the original 16th Century Castle there lies a dungeon. Here, where once the enemies of the clan Grant would reside, these past three centuries the wine has been kept!

The Gardens are the pride and joy of the Laird’s mother, Clare Russell, and the Head Gardener, Giles Sumner. Although not blessed with the most ideal of climates to produce reliably horticultural firework displays, the Gardens have been planned to make the most of the soil and the landscape throughout the year!

Today the visitor enters the Gardens by passing the 18th Century Doo’cot (or dovecote) and soon discovers that there are, in fact, three distinct gardens waiting to be explored. Beyond the large lawn extending from the front of the Castle lies the Rockery, climbing up from the lower slopes of the valley of the River Avon, and affording fine views of the Castle itself. Adjacent to, and enclosed on three sides by the Castle, sits the Courtyard Garden, classically formal and hauntingly romantic. North of the Castle a laburnum arch and tree-lined avenue leads to the magnificent Walled Garden, redesigned in 1996 to celebrate the Castle’s 450th anniversary, and a profusion of colour and perfume all year round. All three gardens offer a cornucopia of flora and fauna. Red Squirrels darting here and there along the tree lined avenue; roe deer grazing along the banks of the River Avon.

Speyside Cooperage

No visit to Speyside would be complete without a visit to the Speyside Cooperage, the only cooperage in Britain with a visitor centre.

In the heart of Scotland’s rolling hills lies Speyside Cooperage, the only working cooperage in the UK where you can experience the ancient art of coopering. Since 1947, the family owned Speyside Cooperage has produced the finest casks from the best American Oak. Today the cooperage continues to work and produce the age-old product, still using traditional methods and tools. Although shipped across the world, many of the casks remain in Scotland, providing a vital ingredient in Scotland’s whisky making process. Enjoy a journey through the lifecycle of the cask, see the highly skilled coopers at work, try it for yourself with the mini casks or simply relax and enjoy the gift and coffee shop.

 

Strathspey Steam Railway

The Strathspey Railway runs between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill in the Cairngorms. This attraction is run by a group of volunteer train enthusiasts, who have recreated a nostalgic experience of the 1950’s with great attention to detail. The experience takes you back 50 years in time, with train guards in period dress, quaint old fashioned wagons and traditional restaurant carriage. 

It’s a relatively short train journey, but the route does pass through lovely countryside, and it is a treat to travel by steam train. The journey takes about 40 minutes to go from Aviemore to Broomhill which was used as the station for Glenbogle, in the BBC series " Monarch of the Glen".

Highland Folk Museum

The Highland Folk Museum gives visitors a flavour of how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700's up until the 1960's! Over 30 historical buildings with furnishings appropriate to their time period are on display. Some have been built from scratch on site and some have been moved from other locations. The site is a mile long with a 1700's Township (featuring 6 houses) at one end through to a 1930's working croft at the other. There is an on site cafe and gift shop.

 

Inverness & the Dolphin Spirit Cruise

See the world's most northerly population of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Moray Firth. An experience made all the more enjoyable by the stability and space of the boat, Dolphin Spirit, this purpose-built passenger vessel offers all round visibility and exceptional comfort for up to 70 dolphin watchers on two decks.

The dolphins in the Moray Firth are common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), they live in groups of between 10 and 30 individuals. These groups are called "pods". You can find bottlenose dolphins in various locations around the Moray Firth area. The animals you're visiting when you sail with Dolphin Discovery Inverness are those who live in the waters of the Inner Moray Firth area. Between the Beauly Firth to the west and Chanonry Point to the east. This is an area where the dolphins are particularly active. Or perhaps we just think that because their activity is so close to shore!

Inverness

Inverness was granted its city status in 2000. It is the prosperous hub of the Highlands, with an enviable location on the banks of the River Ness at the head of the Great Glen. The city is crowned by a pink crenellated castle, and lavishly decorated with flowers. There are plenty of shops, places to eat and drink, peaceful areas close to the centre for relaxing. Chill out by the river at lovely Ness Islands; shop for something tartan to take home. Inverness is small, compact and easy to get around.

Day 1

A morning departure as we head north to Grantown on Spey and a warm welcome at the Grant Arms Hotel. Dinner in the hotel.

D

Day 2

Following breakfast today we head into Speyside to beautiful Ballindalloch Castle. The castle has been occupied by members of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546, the current family resident in the castle are the 23rd generation. Highlights include a fine collection of 17th century Spanish paintings, one of the finest country house libraries in all of Scotland, the grand dining room with its magnificent fireplace, the vaulted hall and the delightful nursery with its antique toys, also we can enjoy the gardens which are the pride and joy of the laird’s mother, particularly the walled and rock gardens. In the afternoon we visit the Speyside Cooperage to discover the specialised art of cask making, here we enjoy an informative 4D presentation along with a guided tour to watch the Coopers at work. This five star award winning exhibition will take you on a journey from ‘Acorn to Cask. Dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 3

Today we head off on a return journey on the Strathspey Steam Railway from Aviemore, taking in glorious views of heather-clad moors, Caledonian forest and the Spey River. We have free time for lunch in Aviemore before heading south to the Highland Folk Museum, Britain’s first open-air museum. Here we can see how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s through to the 1950s as we explore this mile long site, complete with a township at one end and a working croft at the other. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 4

This morning, we travel to Inverness Marina and board the Dolphin Spirit boat for a 75 minute wildlife cruise between the Beauly Firth and Inverness Firth. Our guide will provide an interesting commentary and we may see otters, seals, red kites, ospreys, herons and the resident bottlenose dolphins After our cruise we head to Inverness, ‘Capital of the Highlands’ an attractive and historic city on the River Ness for the afternoon at leisure. Dinner on our return to the Grant Arms Hotel.

B, D

Day 5

We leave our hosts at the Grant Arms for the return journey home to Cumbria, arriving home early evening

B

B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Grant Arms Hotel

Situated in the fine Scottish country town of Grantown on Spey, not far from the famous Spey River in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park, is the handsome stone built Grant Arms Hotel.

The hotel has 50 en-suite bedrooms, all with tea and coffee making facilities, toiletries, hair dryer, colour TV and direct dial phone and three fully accessible enabled rooms for disabled guests. All facilities in the Grant Arms Hotel are wheelchair accessible.

Breakfast, the full Scotish or the from the self sevice buffet and Dinner are taken in the Restaurant, the chef using as much local, regional produce as possible in the creation of the menus. 

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

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Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Bus Stop Tangier Street Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites
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