About Grantown

ABOUT GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY

Grantown on Spey est: 1765 known today sits on the bank of the Spey River was founded in 1765 and is the capital of the local region: Strathspey and Badenoch.

It was James Grant of Grant, later known as the Good Sir James, who established Grantown on Spey on the 28th of June 1765. The 1st building cost £40.00 sterling and measured 58 feet long and 28 feet wide. It consisted of a weaving shop and accommodation for the weaver and his family.  Strathspey and Badenoch with Grantown-on-Spey at its heart, has a very special natural environment; rich in wildlife and spectacular scenery. 

It was described in the 1930s as “the Elysium of all who love and appreciate natural grandeur”.

The landscape of the “majestic River Spey” and the “matchless panorama” of the mountains prompted Robert Burns in 1767 on his visit to Castle Grant to describe Strathspey as “Rich and Romantic”. It is Walter Scott’s “Land of brown heath and shaggy wood. Land of the mountain and the flood.” It has, too, always been recognised as a sporting venue. Edward I on his last visit to Scotland in 1306, whilst staying at Garten Rothe, (Boat of Garten’s Castle overlooking the River Spey) was hunting in the Garten Hills. Grantown’s story carries accounts of severe punishments for theft and poaching. It is a land, though, which shaped the settlements and formed the character and the culture of its people.

The story of Grantown on Spey; its location; its character make it a town for all interests and a town for all seasons. It is an excellent centre for sport, an ideal location for business and a first-class tourist resort. It is a wildlife paradise; a town with vibrant shops, true Highland hospitality, a great history and unique heritage: a story well worth celebrating.

Book Tulach Ard House, Grantown on Spey Bed and Breakfast for 2020.  Tulach Ard opened in May 2012 run by Douglas and Claire Mackenzie.  The accommodations offered are for guests only.  All bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms, wifi and parking off road.  At Tulach Ard House Grantown on Spey Bed and Breakfast access to laundry and fully equipped kitchen is given to all guests.

Many travellers have written about their experiences of the area’s food and company. Queen Victoria put Grantown on Spey on the tourist map as all road lead here.

Queen Victoria commented on her stay at our Inn:

 “The dinner was very fair, and all very clean ….. ending with a good tart of cranberries”.

Robert Burns wrote of his dinner with Sir James and Lady Grant:

“a sweet pleasant body” and Miss Bailie “the most beautiful, elegant woman in the world”

This visit to Grantown on Spey inspired him later to pen: “O, saw ye bonnie Leslie?”

Grantown, too, has a rare history of brewing and distilling. Legends abound with tales of illicit distilling and smuggling. The founder of Grantown was so keen to diminish the local consumption of spirits that he himself encouraged the founding of a brewery (in what is now the Grant Arms): though it is recorded that “the cellars of the Brewery were not confined to vats of nappy ale.”

The story of Grantown and Strathspey is also one of music – inspired by nature and the voices of storms lost in desolate mountain plateaus; echoes in the high corries; the hiss of wind and rain through forests of pine; the cry of wild animals, the murmurings of gentle burns and the louder rhythms of the river itself.

Since the warlike voice of the Carnyx was heard across the hills these sounds have been reflected in the tunes of harp and fiddle, voices, pipes and drums developing into a unique musical tradition. One of Scotland’s most iconic paintings is that of the laird’s Piper, William Cumming, now hanging in the National Museum of Scotland but which originally hung in Castle Grant. Music has never been neglected.

Whilst pushing ahead with his new town and promoting improved farming and forestry, the young chief of Grant was also careful to foster the music of the Great Highland Bagpipe.

In Strathspey in the 1760s and ‘70s, the Cumming family of hereditary pipers to the Chiefs was represented by Angus Cumming, one of the first settlers in New Grantown. His well-regarded collection of “Strathspey, or Old Highland Reels” was published in 1780. In July 1770, James Grant of Grant arranged for one of his sons, John Cumming, to be sent to the McArthur college of piping at Kilmuir in Skye.

Strathspey, with Grantown-on-Spey at its heart, has a very special natural environment, rich in wildlife and spectacular scenery. It was described in the 1930s as “the Elysium of all who love and appreciate natural grandeur”. The landscape of the “majestic Spey” and the “matchless panorama” of the mountains prompted Robert Burns in 1767 on his visit to Castle Grant to describe Strathspey as “Rich and Romantic”. It is Walter Scott’s “Land of brown heath and shaggy wood. Land of the mountain and the flood.” It has, too, always been recognised as a sporting venue. Edward I on his last visit to Scotland in 1306, whilst staying at Garten Rothe, (Boat of Garten’s Castle overlooking the Spey) was hunting in the Garten Hills. Grantown’s story carries accounts of severe punishments for theft and poaching. It is a land, though, which shaped the settlements and formed the character and the culture of its people.

Grantown’s story, its location and its character make it a town for all interests and a town for all seasons. It is an excellent centre for sport, an ideal location for business and a first-class tourist resort. It is a wildlife paradise; a town with vibrant shops, true Highland hospitality, a great history and unique heritage: a story well worth celebrating.