Category Archives: Ballindalloch Estate

Estate Aims

The aims of management of Ballindalloch Estate are:

·       To provide a home for the current and future generations of the Macpherson-Grant family while also being a thriving family business.

·       To work together with all stakeholders to achieve a high standard of stewardship and land management for the benefit of present and future generations.

·       To adopt consistent policies for the conservation of the natural assets of the Estate.

These aims will be achieved by:

·       Contributing to the economic activity of the local area.

·       Maintaining efficient and considerate management policies for all areas of activity.

·       Ensuring an exemplary welcome for all visitors to the Estate, whether for tourism, leisure or business.

·       Providing good working conditions for staff and good living conditions for those accommodated on the estate, while ensuring equal opportunities for all.

·       Contributing where possible to the social well-being of the estate staff, pensioners, tenants and the local community.

·       Keeping costs under scrutiny and constantly improving the standard of financial accountability and management of the Estate.

·       Managing in an efficient and sustainable manner the natural assets of the Estate, and developing new economic enterprises where viable and appropriate.

·       Conserving the natural heritage of the Estate, and maintaining to a high standard all built heritage of importance.

·       Managing efficiently and sustainably the wild game resources of the Estate and providing a variety of shooting, stalking and fishing opportunities.

·       Managing the natural woodland and forestry plantations in a sustainable manner.

The Ballindalloch Estate

The Ballindalloch Estate is a privately owned and professionally managed family business in the heart of Speyside in North-East Scotland that employs more than thirty people.  The Estate consists of farmland, woodland, distilling, tourism, leisure, sporting, and renewable energy interests and a number of commercial and residential properties.  This activity is centred on Ballindalloch Castle, which is a listed building of national heritage interest, having been built originally in 1546, and is one of only a small number of castles in Scotland still lived in by the family of its original owners.

The Estate aims to maintain diverse economic activity in this rural area in order to make a significant contribution towards a sustainable rural community in keeping with its Highland surroundings.  Visitors are welcome on the Estate; the family consider that education is essential for people to understand the Estate’s role in the wider community.

The Estate is an area of approximately 9,000 hectares of farmland, woodland and moorland at the junction of the Rivers Spey and Avon in the North-East of Scotland.  The Estate straddles the Morayshire and Banffshire county boundaries and has changed little in its extent since the late Eighteenth century.  Ownership of the Estate throughout this period has been, and presently is, the responsibility of the Macpherson-Grant family.

The character of the Estate varies from the riverine landscape of the straths of the Spey and the Avon at around 450 feet to the moorland on Ben Rinnes and the montane conditions existing at the Estate’s march on the Scurran of Morinsh at 2,500 feet.  In between there is a mixture of arable and livestock farming land, both held in hand and tenanted, a variety of natural woodland areas and commercial softwood plantations, as well as areas of peatland and wetland.

The permanent population of the area is centred on the settlements of Marypark and Cragganmore, though the numbers are swelled considerably by those living throughout the area in the various properties and by those visiting during the summer months.  The Estate is situated in Speyside, seven miles south-west of Aberlour-on-Spey and fourteen miles north-east of Grantown-on-Spey.  These villages provide much of the support infrastructure for those living on the Estate.  The main businesses in the Speyside area are tourism, whisky distilleries, farming and country sports, together with the world-renowned food manufacturers Walkers Shortbread and Baxters Foods.

Access by road is straightforward since the Estate is almost bisected by the A95 Keith to Aviemore trunk road.  Minor roads lead off to Glenlivet and Knockando, while a number of single track public roads also exist.  Access by foot to the upland areas is simple, for instance by the well-signposted Speyside Way that crosses the Estate.  However, since the Estate is by no means an area of ‘wild land’ and has no hills of Munro height, the pressure from hill-walkers has never been extensive.

The Estate presently directly employs a full time resident Factor and more than thirty people full time, part time and seasonally; in addition the Estate provides work for a substantial number of local tradesmen.  The Estate is owned and run by the present generation of the Macpherson-Grant family, who live at Ballindalloch Castle.  The management of the Estate is headed by Guy and Victoria Macpherson-Grant who manage a number of aspects of the Estate directly.  There are seven tenanted farms on the Estate, as well as the Home Farm.

The Estate has a narrow choice in the economic activity it carries out.  Within the limitations placed upon it, the Estate looks to carry on a business that has several components, in order to generate sufficient income to reinvest in the Estate and its assets.  The following sections identify the various operations of the Estate, the key elements of its businesses and the aims the Estate has for those businesses.

There are four websites that provide full information for visitors to the Estate:




Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens

Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grants since the Sixteenth Century and today is one of the finest surviving examples of a classic Scottish baronial castle. Situated on the banks of the River Avon, a short distance from its junction with the River Spey, we welcome visitors from Good Friday until 30th September.

Come and explore and enjoy five hundred years of Highland history, acres of formal gardens, woodlands and riverside walks, the children’s Playground, Picnic Area, Tearoom and Gift Shop…and some award-winning loos!

You find information about the castle on the Ballindaloch Castle and Gardens website.

Ballindalloch Distillery

Located in a 19th century steading, Ballindalloch Distillery began production in September 2014 after a number of years of planning, building and renovation work.

It can very much be said that the building of Ballindalloch Distillery is a return to the industry for the Macpherson-Grant family following the work of Sir George Macpherson-Grant, the 3rd Baronet of Ballindalloch who began his involvement in the industry in the 1860’s.

Based on traditional distillation principles, our single malt Distillery has no reliance on computers, instead using the skill of Distillery Manager Colin Poppy and assistants David Norquoy and Ian McMurdo. Here you are able to get as close as it is possible to be to the art of whisky making and a range of tours of Ballindalloch Distillery are available by appointment

For more information and to book a tour please visit the Distillery website

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 Single Malt Distillery.