Whisky ToursDufftown is known as the Malt Whisky Capital of Scotland so a trip to a distillery or two is a must. For similar scenes to those I encountered on my first visit to Dufftown, plan your trip to overlap with the Autumn Whisky Festival – this year from 26th to 30th September. (I wonder if it’s a coincidence that I have developed a taste for whisky since moving to Speyside…). There are a range of events and activities to enjoy during the festival, including the ‘Seven Stills Tour’ – a bus trip that takes you around all seven of Dufftown’s distilleries (with a dram at each, of course!). If you can’t make the festival, you can still get an insider’s guide to the distilleries – sample whiskies you’ve never tried before and step off the beaten track with a walking tour of the distilleries. Glenfiddich Distillery, tucked at the bottom of the town, offers free distillery tours and the Malt Barn Restaurant/Café is fantastic. When leaving the distillery, take a left and then a right up a short hill to see the ruins of Balvenie Castle, hidden out of sight from the road.
GlenlivetThe scenic area of Glenlivet is only a 30 minute drive from Dufftown and, as well as being in the heart of the Malt Whisky region, it is known for its beautiful walks. One lovely walk is from Drumin Castle along the River Livet. If you’re looking for a good picnic site, the picturesque Packhorse Bridge is ideal, only a short drive from the Glenlivet Distillery. A highlight of the area at this time of year is the Red Deer Rut, when it’s possible to see around 100 to 200 red deer in the glen between the Suie and Kymah burns. You can join a Red Deer Rut Safari for a better view of these magnificent animals. As the area is a haven for wildlife, you could also spot red grouse, buzzards and kestrels, and, if you’re lucky, perhaps also a golden eagle, mountain hare or black grouse. Light up your autumn with a trip to Speyside and enjoy the walks, the whisky and the flushed autumnal landscapes. And if you stop by the café at Glenfiddich over the autumn months, look out for me – I’ll be sitting by the log fire, cradling a cup of their delicious orange hot chocolate. Follow @embracescotland and @dufftownwriter for more local tips. Emma Gibb writes about tips from the locals and hidden gems for Embrace Scotland self catering in Moray.
Images courtesy of Emma Gibb, Embrace Scotland ©