Ballindalloch Castle

History of Ballindalloch Estate

The lands of Ballindalloch and Glencairnie were granted to John Grant of Freuchie by King James IV in 1499 in reward for his: ‘Good faithful and thankful service in peace and war’. It was John Grant’s grandson, also christened John, who began the construction of a castle at Ballindalloch in the 1540s.

Traditionally, the lairds of Ballindalloch have been, at heart, men of the Highlands, concerned first and foremost with being good custodians of their estate. Up until the early 1800s life on the Ballindalloch Estate changed only with the seasons. However, the tendrils of industrial and agricultural revolution spreading across northern Europe would eventually reach out to the Highlands and the 19th Century would witness considerable modernisation. In particular, Sir George Macpherson of Ballindalloch, the 1st Baronet, was a devoted farmer and his stewardship brought about tremendous improvements in the efficiency of the Estate. The 3rd Baronet, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, was also a dedicated farmer and agricultural innovator and is best known for establishing, in 1860, the Ballindalloch herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle, now the oldest herd in the world.

The tumultuous era of two world wars would force a stark choice upon the great estates of Scotland: diversify or die. From the late 1970s onwards Clare (Macpherson-Grant) and her husband Oliver Russell devoted themselves to diversifying the activities of this ancient Highland estate, ensuring that Ballindalloch Estate would continue to play an important role into the 21st Century. The traditional activities of arable and cattle farming were complemented by new departures into forestry, country sports, leisure and tourism.

Today this process of sensitive diversification is carried on with the same dedication by their son Guy Macpherson-Grant and his wife Victoria, the latest evolution being the opening of Ballindalloch Distillery – Scotland’s first ever single estate distillery.