Day 1 – Cairns to Castles, The Barley Lands of Moray, is spent investigating the ancient history of Laich of Moray, the fertile coastal plain where much of the barley for the Speyside whisky is grown. Here we explore enigmatic Bronze Age burial cairns and Pictish standing stones, a magnificent Norman castle and historic fishing villages juxtaposed with ultra-modern maltings.
Our distillery visit is to the small, independent Benromach distillery at Forres, where the spirit ‘cut’ is still made by hand by the master distiller.
Visits to: Bronze Age Clava Cairns; Moyness Ring Cairn; the Pictish Brodie and Sueno’s Stones; Benromach distillery; Findhorn fishing village; Burghead Pictish Fort and the Norman castle at Duffus
Day 2 – Hidden Seminary and Illicit Stills, The Secret Life of Glenlivet, is spent in the remote Glenlivet area of upland Speyside where we peer into a secret history of Jacobite refugees, illicit whisky production and secretly trained ‘Heather Priests’. Along the way, we look at how extensive sheep grazing and other land management impacted not only the landscape, but the people that lived there.
We add a couple of castles to the mix to show how the change from warlike chiefs to landed gentry was reflected in homes of the nobility.
Our distillery visit is to the superbly located Glenlivet distillery, with a comprehensive tour and tasting comprising cask, plus two aged samples.
Visits to: Lochindorb Castle; Grantown-on-Spey; Tomintoul; Braes of Glenlivet and Scalan Seminary (short moorland walk); Glenlivet Packhorse Bridge; The Glenlivet distillery and Ballindalloch Castle