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Badenoch & Strathspey

Kingussie, near the head of the river Spey, was the seat of Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, outlawed son of King Robert II, who "exercised despotic tyranny over his vassals, spreading terror and dismay throughout adjacent districts", including burning down Elgin cathedral in 1390 after the bishop excommunicated him. The site of Alexander's castle is now occupied by the ruins of Ruthven barracks, erected soon after the 1715 rebellion to keep the local inhabitants in check. It was burnt down by them in 1745.

Kingussie is much more peaceful now, and along with nearby towns such as Aviemore, Newtonmore and Grantown-on-Spey, provides accomodation and services for skiers and mountaineers in the winter, and anglers and tourists in the summer including bird watchers who come to view the Ospreys at Boat of Garten.

Downstream from Grantown, the Spey enters whisky country, with distilleries such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Glenfarclas on the banks of it, and its tributaries. Tours of most distilleries are available, and those which charge for entry will usually allow the visitor to redeem the cost against a sample of the product.

The last part of the Spey's journey takes it through the county of Moray. Elgin, the county town, still holds the ruins of the cathedral, burnt in 1390, and elsewhere the remains of Duffus castle, a motte and bailey structure built in 1151, bear testament to the ancient history of the area.

          

 

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