Rita Marks was a long time resident of Glenlivet. These were some of her favourite places.
1. Visit 3 whisky distilleries open to the public. Glenlivet, Glenfarclas and (by appointment) Cragganmore. View 4 more from the outside – Tamnavulin, Braeval, Tomintoul and Allt-aBhainne. Pure Glenlivet spring water to go with your whisky, is bottled in the Braes of Glenlivet. Extend the trip to include the other distilleries on the Whisky Trail, plus the Cooperage at Craigellachie. There are excellent specialist whisky shops in Dufftown and Tomintoul.
From Mammon to God!
2. Inveravon Church (Church of Scotland) has 3 interesting Pictish stones at the rear. There are other stones of archaeological interest in the area and a Pictish earth house at Knock.
3. Scalan. An evocative building deep in the Braes of Glenlivet where Catholic priests were trained in secret for 100 years when it was proscribed to do so.
4. In early spring the slopes of Drumin Castle are carpeted with millions of snowdrops. A little later primroses flourish on the hillside above the Tombae road. Further on the same road, in summer, mimulus abounds by the Livet. Bright yellow gorse illuminates the banks. In August the hills are bright with purple heather. Throughout the area colourful tubs are part of the Best Kept Village display – with Glenlivet Hall a sight to behold. There is a great amenity area beside the Braes Chapel with a rockery and water garden.
Cross That Bridge
5. Picnic at the bridge at Bridgend of Glenlivet or the Old Brig at Tomnavoulin. Cross the Livet and the Avon by several suspension bridges.
6. Fish the Livet. For not much more you can fish the Avon. Tickets available locally.
7. Visit the Sandbank Hatchery at Morinsh – where millions of salmon are raised for putting into the Spey river system.
Walk the Walk
8. Be spoilt for choice on the waymarked walks around the Glenlivet Estate.
9. Take the Smugglers Trails to be part of history.
10. Walk the Speyside Way spur from Ballindalloch to Tomintoul for great views and abundant wildlife.
On your Bike
11. There are special trails for mountain bikers and horse riders.
Play the Game
12. At the Lecht, snow permitting, take part in skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. Go karts in summer. For informal winter fun there are many slopes suitable for sledging.
13. Take a landrover trip or a guided walk with local naturalist and see, for sure, game birds, roe deer, hares, buzzards, oyster catchers, sandpipers etc and maybe red squirrel, red deer, badger and a glimpse of a golden eagle soaring above.
14. Be sure of seeing the wildlife by visiting the Wild farm at Balcorach. Hand feed the Reindeer, see red, roe and fallow deer, plus belted Galloway cattle, Soay sheep, wild boar and fancy farmyard fowl. Buy the produce.
The Inner (man and woman)
15. Great value for money food at the Delnasheugh and the Croft Inn.
16. In August don’t miss Tea IN THE PARK. Along with paintings, books, crafts by local artists, delicious food, using mainly organic local produce, is available 11am to 5pm daily – with profits going to local good causes. (Ballindalloch Castle and Glenlivet Distillery both have self-service restaurants).
Fight the Good Fight
17. Take a walk to the site of the Battle of Glenlivet (1594) the last Catholic victory on British soil.
18. Find the grave of a soldier fleeing the Battle of Cromdale (1690) along the Avonside road.
King or Queen of the Castle
19. Ballindalloch Castle. The home of the MacPherson-Grants. A delightful place to visit. Beautiful grounds including a splendid rock garden. Tea shop with irresistible cakes.
20. Drumin Castle. Recently renovated by Historic Scotland and The Crown Estate. Climb the tower and admire the view. Ponder on the life and times of its most famous owner. Alexander Stewart, the notorious Wolf of Badenoch.
21. Blairfindy Castle. A sad ruin. Lowering over the now privately-owned ex-distillery houses.
22. Join the local customs. The Glenlivet Bottle Race in August is (wet) fun. All are welcome at the Braes Barbecue in August and their fireworks and bonfire in November. Don’t forget local Halloween and Hogmanay parties, Visitors are always welcome.
What and Argument
23. Here’s a controversial one to end on. Walk up to the Paul’s Hill Wind Farm! Whatever your views on this form of energy the contrast between the sleek, stately turning turbines and the wild empty moorland is awesome.