Speyside is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland, known mostly for its whisky, with over 50% of Scotland's malt whisky distilleries within 28 miles of the region. The Whisky Trail is the world's only trail devoted to single malt whisky and takes in 8 distilleries, as well as the Speyside Cooperage. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in May each year and has quickly become an established part of the local scene for visitors and locals alike, as well as the large number of international visitors.
This is also ‘castle country’ and Muckrach Castle stands on the southern border of Scotland’s Speyside whisky region. Set in an acre of gardens, the castle offers outstanding views over the Spey Valley and the Cairngorm Mountains. Located only three miles from Grantown-on-Spey, the castle is ideally located for a range of local services. For those who enjoy eating out, Muckrach Lodge Hotel, with its bar and restaurant, is just a short walk from the castle and is open to non-residents.
Standing on the top of a steep bank in the valley of the River Dulnain, Muckrach Castle is a typical Scottish tower house, built to a very simple L-plan, with a main block of three storeys, a garret and a circular stairway. Dating back to the late 1500's, this historical castle property lets you enjoy the modern amenities whilst taking in the historic atmosphere.
It is not all about staying in the castle; if you want to experience more of what this area offers, local guide and chauffeur, Mike Duncan, has a rich family heritage entwined with the farming and whisky industries for which Speyside is renowned.
With Mike expertly at the helm, the Moray Prestige Tour departs in the morning and heads north, following the dark waters of the River Spey.
After a short Land Rover chauffeur trip through the Speyside countryside, Mike escorts his guests through the regal gates and grounds of Ballindalloch Castle, “The Pearl of the North”. When her schedule allows for it, Lady-Laird Claire Macpherson-Grant Russell, whose family has owned the castle since 1546, will be on-hand as a personal castle guide.
The intimate Delnashaugh Inn sits by the River Avon within the picturesque setting of Ballindalloch Estate. Owner Kevin J. Smith will have lit the log fire to welcome guests for a three-course lunch, featuring the freshest of local produce.
After lunch and a short drive through the rolling hills, The Glenlivet Distillery is revealed in its isolated glory, providing the opportunity to tour “the Still” and then taste up to seven expressions of “the Single Malt that started it all”.
Mike will then return the group to the elegant Muckrach Castle, ending the 7-8 hour Prestige Tour where it began that morning.
Prices start at the castle from: £350 for 2 nights in low season to £600 for up to 8 people; 7 nights from £1015 in low season to £2,020 in peak season for up to 8 people.
The Moray Prestige day-tour is available at £165 per person (max 6 people).
Each tour is fully bespoke and unique to specific customer needs.
You can contact Mike at Moray Prestige Tours www.morayprestige.co.uk or just let us know that you would like a tour when you book the castle and we can arrange for him to contact you.
“An amazing experience in Scotland”
My husband and I spent the day with Mike on a whisky-tasting tour that was previously arranged from our country. It was our first time in Scotland and arranging things from South America could have been rather difficult but with Mike was really easy. He picked us up and took us to visit four distilleries and we were shown the amazing sites around the region as well. Mike has a wide knowledge of this area of Scotland apart from being a charming human being. I highly recommend his services.
Marta, Montevideo, Uruguay.
“Fantastic service from start to finish!”
Four friends and I spent the day with Mike on a pre-arranged tour. We were picked and driven for a tour of the Dalwhinnie Distillery, we then had a lovely drive round Loch Ness before stopping off at the stunning Urquhart Castle. Michael's easy-going and chatty personality, coupled with his knowledge of the area, made for a fantastic day. And his roomy Land Rover ensured we were entirely comfortable for the whole journey. From the moment we contacted Mike he was a great help with planning our day and his enthusiasm continued right through until we were dropped back home. I would highly recommend his services.
Emma, Aberdeen, Scotland
“Speyside Whisky Tasting With First-Class Service!”
My wife and I received outstanding and superb service from Mike at Moray Prestige Tours during my wife’s birthday trip to Scotland. We enjoyed the two days of touring and tasting of the Speyside region of Scotland, including visits to seven distilleries. I was delighted that Mike was able to provide a schedule to meet and exceed our expectations. We also appreciated being shown the amazing sites around the region (outside of the whisky itinerary) and Mike giving us a detailed history of the area (not to mention grabbing some batteries for my camera from his colleague at The Glenlivet Distillery!). It was also very helpful that Mike had a deep appreciation, knowledge, and roots in this area of Scotland, which we certainly could not have experienced on our own or with another service. We certainly were delighted to have retained Mike’s services and we provide the highest recommendation to others. His motto fits: “Be driven in comfort & luxury, wherever the road takes you”
Jeff, San Diego, California, USA