The Grant name started to make an appearance in the north
the early 13th century. Descendants of Sir Laurence Le Grant,
Sheriff of Inverness in 1258. Supporters of William Wallace and Robert
the Bruce however allegiances were divided over the Jacobite cause
fighting on both sides.
Grantown on Spey was built by the Grant clan chief as a place for
members to live and a centre for manufacturing items for the
This was at a time when other clan chiefs were
clearing their lands. Foundations were laid 19 years after Culloden and today the population is around 2,500.
The River Spey known world-wide for it's salmon fishing is one of the longest rivers in Scotland and due to it's origins, above 300 metres, it can be prone to flash floods after a heavy rainfall in the mountains. In certain areas it flows faster than 50 feet per second making it the fastest flowing river in Britain. The power of the river was harnessed to power the woolen mills.
Carrbridge got it's name from the bridge over the river Carr.
There was a funeral procession bearing a prominent member of the Clan Grant to the burial grounds at the nearby Duthil Kirk. They had to ford the River Carr, and just as the funeral procession was picking their way across the river, heavy rains upstream caused a flash flood that washed away the entire funeral procession. Because of that tragedy, the Clan Chief Brigadier-General Sir Alexander Grant of Grant in 1717 commissioned the building of a bridge.
Duthil Kirk near Carrbridge, where many of the Chiefs and prominent members of the early Clan Grant are buried. Now owned by the Clan Grant and used as a visitor centre.
Grant Castle located 1 mile north of Grantown on Spey dates back to the
early 15th century and was always
occupied by the Grant Clan apart from
a brief episode when the
Jacobites took over occupation in 1747. Since
1950 the Castle has ceased to be the family seat and has been in a poor
condition for a number of years, changing owners frequently.
renovation by its new owner.
Muckrach Castle is situated 3 miles from Grantown on Spey.
John Grant of Freuchie (4th Laird of Grant) gave Muckrach to his second
son, Patrick, in 1583 and the castle was built soon afterwards. Completely renovated today the castle earns it's way as a holiday hotel.
Doune of the Rothiemurchus - In 1585 a branch of the Chief's line established themselves further down the river Spey. Patrick Grant moved into the Doune around that time and there is still a descendant of his in charge to this day. Ballindalloch Castle is located 15 miles down the Spey. A home of the Grant of Grant family since 1546. In the early 18th century, it was sold to their cousin, Colonel William Grant of Rothiemurchus and later on by inheritance changed owners to George MacPherson-Grant. Ballindalloch is a beautiful castle that started life as a simple fortified tower and has evolved over the centuries to meet the demands placed upon it. The estates are blessed to have both the River Spey and the River Avon running through them. Descendants of that line still live there today.
Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness is the third most visited castle in Scotland. It's foundations go back to the 6th century. Being added on and strengthened through the years it became one of the largest medieval strongholds in Northern Scotland.
In 1509 King James the 4th granted the Lordship of Urquhart to John Grant of Freuchie who was ordered to repair and improve the castle. The Grants retained possession until 1912.
Unfortunately it was blown up with the stored gunpowder in 1692 by the Grants to prevent the Jacobites getting their hands on it. Which explains the unusual shape of the ruin that lasts to this day.
On the old etching of the castle you will notice the castle stands higher out of the water. Urquhart castle was originally 50 foot above Loch Ness but the level of the loch was raised 6 foot during the building of the Caledonian Canal.