“excellent quarters…one of those rare old fashioned hostelries which are fast passing away. Mr Barclay, the jolly landlord, made us exceedingly comfortable during our fortnight’s sojourn at his house.”
I located the Gordon Arms Hotel on old maps of Keith and I was pleased to find that it still runs as a hostelry today, now called the Grampian Hotel since the 1980s to avoid confusion with two or three other Gordon Arms in the region (although no longer the one in Elgin), and when I stayed there on my later trip to Keith I found it as comfortable and welcoming as Barnard had, more on which another time.
|Grampian Hotel, Keith - formerly site of the Gordon Arms|
Barnard’s party were coached to Aberlour from Craigellachie by the proprietor of the hiring company himself, Charlie Stuart, and he notes here the
|The bare wind swept north slope of Ben Rinnes|
Barnard continues with mention of James of the Hill, a “noted freebooter”, in a tale of dubious origin and then notes the water rising from a spring near the summit that feeds into the Burn of Aberlour. Aber (mouth of) lour (loud or chattering burn) gives its name to the village below and to the distillery that sits by its lower banks. Half a mile above the distillery the burn falls over a cascade that Barnard identifies as the Lynn [Linn] of Ruthrie, “a fall of 30 feet, broken by a projecting rock, and received into a gloomy pool below”, a delightful setting that our early nature worshipping ancestors would have celebrated as mystical.
|Linn of Ruthrie on the Burn of Aberlour|
|Aberlour and the Haugh of Elchies from near Fairy Knowe|
From the top of the path a steep walk downhill into the village brings you to the Fleming Cottage Hospital. James Fleming was the founder of Aberlour distillery in 1879 and he lived in the town until his passing in 1895. He was a great businessman and philanthropist and fully embodied the Fleming family motto “Let the deed show”. This philosophy is evident in the legacy that he left in Aberlour and reflected in various locations around the town, including the Hospital which he left £9,000 in his will towards. He had earlier designed and financed a public hall and also left £500 towards the
|Victoria Bridge (Penny Brig) over the Spey at Aberlour|
Aberlour was extended up the slopes on its east side in the late 20th century but wandering through the main street you can see evidence of the simple town plan that was developed by a local Laird, Charles Grant of Wester Elchies, in 1812 and after whom the town received its official name of Charlestown of Aberlour. A new church in the town square was also built as part of this development and it only has clock faces on three sides of the steeple, the blank northwest side appropriately facing the timeless flow of the River Spey.
|Aberlour church and old station, now the Speyside Way Visitor Centre|
Continuing up the main street we finally reach Aberlour House which stands in landscaped grounds at the very north end of the town. Built in 1838 it was later converted into the junior Prep school for Gordonstoun independent high school which is north of
Since 2004 Aberlour House has been the headquarters for