Moray Coast and Speyside Tour North East 250 – Itinerary
The Moray Coast and Speyside Tour is a great mix of coast and country. We head east to Gordon Castle, then see Bow Fiddle Rock and later the Three Kings at Cullen. You will enjoy free time here for lunch and a wander. In the afternoon we continue through Fordyce Historic Village to our last coastal location; Portsoy Harbour. Then we head inland to the town of Keith where you can choose between free time in town or a visit to Strathisla Distillery. Our return to Inverness will give us the chance for photos at Craigellachie Bridge and the village of Dallas.
Gordon Castle Walled Garden
Open all year round, the walled garden is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. At almost eight acres in size it is one of the oldest and largest kitchen gardens in Britain and has been lovingly restored to its former glory with a modern design by world famous designer Arne Maynard. There is an award-winning café and a shop, with a product range based on the plants they grow.
Bow Fiddle Rock
The quarzite natural rock arch near Portknockie on the Moray Coast is one of our most famous coastal features. It get’s its name because it resembles the tip of a fiddle bow. It is a lovely place for a short walk and a photo or two.
The Three Kings
The Three Kings are impressive Quarzite stacks on Cullen Beach. There was a major battle here in 962 AD, where King Indulf of the Scots was killed fighting an invading Norse and Danish force. Both Vikings and Danes also supposedly lost kings that day, hence the name of the sea stacks. The old rhyme says “Between Coedlich and the sea, there lies Kings’ sons three.”
Cullen is a charming seaside town, with an impressive beach and attractive harbour. Gift shops and antique stores line the main street, and the ice cream shop is nearly legendary. All of that, together with charming cafes, pubs and an excellent Fish and chip shop make Cullen an excellent choice for free time and lunch. The town has also given its name to the famous fish soup; Cullen Skink. Smoked haddock, potatoes and onion are the primary ingredients and the world Cullen Skink championships are held in town every year. Competition is fierce!
Historic Fordyce is so lovely it would be a shame to miss it. A village with a truly medieval feel, it is just the place to have a walk and soak up the atmosphere. The Castle on the main street dates was a Menzies house, built in 1592. The churchyard is one of the most interesting in northern Scotland, and some of the church ruins there date back to 1272. The upper floor of the ruined church has some fascinating exhibits on the village history.
Portsoy is a charming coastal village particularly well known because of its historic harbour. The harbour makes Portsoy the ideal place to host the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival. We also find the artisan Portsoy marble shop here, making jewellery not from marble but rather from Serpentine. Filming for the 2016 movie “Whisky Galore” took place here.
Keith’s earliest records date back to the 1100’s. The area around Mid Street, the main shopping street, is newer, however. This is because the part of the town east of the river was laid out as a planned town in the 1700’s. The town centre has character and a great range of independent shops. Keith has a long history in the textile trade, and perhaps as a result, has developed the Keith Kilt and Textile Centre. This is the premier training centre in the world where students are trained in the art of kiltmaking. Keith is also where we find the Scottish Tartans Museum. Distilling has been Keith’s other big industry, and the best known distillery in town is undoubtedly Strathisla.
Chivas Brothers own Strathisla Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries in the Highlands. Opened in 1786, the distillery is one of the prettiest in the Highlands as well as one of the oldest! Chivas Brothers bought the distillery in 1955 and are proud to say that Strathisla Single Malt is at the heart of each and every Chivas Regal blend. This location is important to their whisky making partly because it was the first distillery they ever owned.
The famous civil engineer, Thomas Telford, built Craigellachie Bridge (between 1812 and 1815) to span the River Spey. It is the oldest surviving cast-iron bridge in Scotland and considered one of the finest in Britain. The poet laureate, Robert Southey, exclaimed that it was “beautifully light, in a situation where the utility of lightness is instantly perceived”.
Dallas is a pretty one-street village in the Morayshire Hills. One of our guides had a lot of fun taking Ken Kercheval to visit it, because he played Cliff Barnes from “Dallas” the TV show). We also see the ruined remains of Dallas Castle.
Moray Coast and Speyside Tour – Price
£475 for up to seven passengers.
Moray Coast and Speyside Tour – Departure
The tour departs from your Inverness accommodation, or any transport hub you prefer, like bus station, train station or airport. You tell us, and we’ll be there.