We offer two exciting Day Tours in Speyside – The Secret Life of Glenlivet and Castles and Casks – and one in Deeside – Forts to Fairies. Pick-ups for both the Speyside tours can be made in Deeside (Aboyne to Braemar) and Speyside (Grantown on Spey to Dufftown), while pick-ups for the Deeside Tour are made in Deeside (Banchory to Braemar). We can pick up from your accommodation – please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Details about the tours are given below:
Forbidden Seminary and Illicit Stills, The Secret Life of Glenlivet
The day is spent in the remote Glenlivet area of Speyside where we peer into a secret history of Jacobite refugees, illicit whisky production and secretly trained ‘Heather Priests’, with a short moorland walk to the secluded and peaceful Forbidden Seminary. Along the way, we look at how the Highland Clearances impacted not only the landscape, but the people that lived there, resulting in the Scottish diaspora. We add a couple of castles to the mix to show how the change from warlike clan chiefs to landed gentry was reflected in their homes and management of the land.
Our distillery visit is to the stunningly located Glenlivet Distillery, with a comprehensive tour and tasting of cask, plus two aged samples.
Visits to: Tomintoul; Braes of Glenlivet and Scalan Seminary (2km return walk on track); Glenlivet Packhorse Bridge; Glenlivet distillery tour and lunch; Drumin Castle; Ballindalloch Castle and tea; Inveravon Pictish Stones (Speyside pick-ups only); Cabrach Moor (Deeside pick-ups only)
Castles and Casks, Icons of Speyside
Travelling through beautiful Donside and Speyside we trace the Scottish castle through the ages, from Norman ‘keep’ and courtyard, to solitary tower house, to rambling baronial country residence, while sampling some fine whisky along the way. After driving over the dramatic Snow Road, we pass through the historic Speyside villages of Tomintoul, Dufftown and Aberlour, visiting the ruined Drumin and Balvenie castles, and the beautiful, Disneyesque Ballindalloch Castle. We take in the landscape and history of Speyside and the role its castles played in shaping both, including suppressing the illicit whisky making and smuggling that was rampant until the early 19th century! We take a tour of the stunningly located Glenlivet distillery in the heart of whisky smuggling country and round off the day with a tasting at the Whisky Castle in Tomintoul.
Visits to: Corgarff Castle (view from road); Glenlivet distillery tour and coffee; Drumin Castle, Glenlivet; Balvenie Castle, Dufftown; lunch at Glenfiddich distillery; Ballindalloch Castle; tasting at the Whisky Castle, Tomintoul (optional)
Forts to Fairies, a Deeside Story
Driving through beautiful mid Deeside we trace the evolution of the Scottish castle from wooden ‘keep’, to stone tower house, to baronial country residence, setting the scene with an Iron Age hill fort and crannog (man-made island), the ‘castles’ of earlier ages. Along the way, we also visit the impressive granite cauldron and waterfall at Burn o’ Vat and a stone circle dating from the earlier peaceful Bronze Age, peek into the real Macbeth’s life and death and end up at the beautifully restored and iconic Craigievar and Drum Castles.
As we travel, we’ll look at the way in which the landscape changed over the centuries of our journey, from primeval forest and bog to the managed land of today.
Visits to: Burn o’Vat Visitor Centre and viewpoint (to view the crannog); Burn o’Vat waterfall; Tomnaverie Stone Circle (to view hill fort); Peel Ring of Lumphanan castle mound; Macbeth’s Stone and Cairn (view from road); Craigievar Castle; Drum Castle and rose garden.