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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.

Farming and Forestry

Stretching from the edge of the Crown Estate’s Glenlivet Estate in the south to Glenfarclas in the north, Ballindalloch Estate encompasses over 9,000 hectares of mature woodland, moorlands, grazing pastures and arable fields, interspersed with farms and cottages.

We currently farm about 400 acres of arable land, with production centring upon the Estate’s Home Farm. The primary crop is Spring Barley, with the bulk of the crop destined for our own Ballindalloch Distillery. Working in partnership with local contractors, we sow the Laureate variety of barley each year and this provides the tonnage required for the following year’s whisky production. This is a very significant development because it means that every ingredient going into our Ballindalloch single malt has its origins here in Speyside – something that is not true of other local distillers, who often source their barley from across the United Kingdom.

Our livestock holding focuses primarily upon our world famous pedigree herd of Aberdeen Angus, the oldest herd in the world, which currently stands at 100 beasts. The herd is a passion for the family, driven by the desire to continue the standards set by our forebears.

Ballindalloch Estate forestry operations encompass native broadleaf woodlands, stands of Scots Pine and commercial forestry blocks. Management of all forestry on the Estate is conducted in accordance with an adopted and approved Forest Plan and utilises local contractors wherever possible. The careful management of our resident deer population, which is essential to preserve the right balance between our commercial interests and habitat diversity, is an important element of this Forest Plan.

To discover more about our world famous herd of Aberdeen Angus, both past and present, please click on the pages in this section.


The Macpherson-Grant family’s ambition is to support the diversification and growth of the rural Speyside economy through land management practices in keeping with the heritage and landscape of this beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands. These are the guiding principles which govern both the long-term management and day-to-day running of the Ballindalloch Estate.

Although we are always looking to improve upon our strong ethical approach to land management, we believe that our current mix of activities is making a significant contribution to the economy, community and environment of the Speyside region. With the help of our excellent team and the support of the local community we feel confident that Ballindalloch Estate can continue to meet the difficult challenges posed to rural communities in the 21st Century.

To learn more about the environmental and community work taking place at Ballindalloch Estate please contact us here or phone 01807 500 205.


Ballindalloch Estate has been a popular destination for lovers of Highland country sports for many years. Our many acres of mature woodland and heather bound moorland provide first class beats for grouse and pheasant shooting and the deer stalking is of the finest quality.


The shooting season starts in August (the ‘Glorious Twelfth’) and continues through to January, and we run organised shooting parties throughout the season.

The natural topography of Ballindalloch Estate, especially the steep banks of the Spey and Avon glens, and our abundant mature hardwoods, make it the perfect setting for both driven shooting and walked-up shooting. Thanks to the hard work of our team of dedicated gamekeepers our moorlands are now well stocked with both red and black grouse, partridge and other indigenous upland species. A limited number of let days for both driven and walked up shooting for pheasants are made available each season, so it is important to book early.


Stalking (aka ‘Hunting’) enthusiasts from around the world make the journey to Ballindalloch, attracted by the excellence of our deer stalking. The tranquillity of woodlands and the richness of the foliage helps engender superb quality bucks and does. Red deer are to be found both on the moors and woodlands hereabouts and offer interesting stalking challenges, although it is the iconic roe deer that Ballindalloch is particularly famed for. Our season extends from April to July each year, and we can accommodate two rifles on a daily or weekly basis.

We are experienced in arranging the relevant gun licences for clients visiting from abroad and we are happy to organise bespoke itineraries tailored to your needs. We offer self and full-catering options for our shooting parties and we can put together a package that includes shooting, fishing, distillery visits and other local activities at your discretion.

For current availability please contact the Estate Office via the Contact us page or by telephone on 01807 500 205.

Fishing at Ballindalloch

Two great Scottish Highland rivers converge at Ballindalloch Estate. The River Spey, springing from a small loch in the Monadhliath Mountains, is the second longest river in Scotland and indisputably the fastest. The River Avon, the longest tributary of the Spey, has its source some thirty eight miles distant upon the summit of Ben Muich Dhui. Both rivers are renowned for their clean and crystalline waters and healthy stocks of salmon and sea trout. Indeed, so clean is the River Spey that it sustains one of the largest populations of fresh water pearl mussel to be found in Scotland.

Ballindalloch Estate boasts over three miles of double-bank fishing on the River Spey and fishermen and women travel from around the world to fish the famous salmon pools of the Castle and Pitchroy beats. Well known for its torrents and steep gradients, the River Spey travels more gently through the Estate and provides good stocks of native Brown Trout and Atlantic Salmon.

In addition we have six miles of challenging fly-fishing on the River Avon. Known hereabouts as the ‘Fisherman’s River’, the Avon (pronounced A’an) brawls and rushes on its journey toward the River Spey and our pools and runs offer excellent stocks of Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout.

Fishing vacations on the Ballindalloch Estate are tailor-made to suit the needs of our guests. Our beats can be fished exclusively by the week with some day permits available. Spacious and comfortable accommodation can be provided at either Marionburgh House or the Delnashaugh Hotel and both self-catering and full-catered options are available. All our beats have riverside huts and novices and experts alike will benefit from the local knowhow of our long serving ghillies.

For more information on our beats, availability and how to book a fishing vacation with Ballindalloch Estate, please browse the pages in this section.

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Staying With Us

Located between the granite mountains of the Cairngorms and the long sandy beaches of the Moray Firth, with a magnificent 16th Century baronial castle at its centre, Ballindalloch Estate is the perfect venue for a Scottish Highlands vacation.

Our holiday properties nestle amongst the wooded glens of the Spey Valley and are traditional stone buildings, built to exacting standards and tastefully upgraded, affording our guests a pleasing combination of tranquillity, privacy and a nice touch of old-fashioned luxury. We offer both self-catering and fully-catered packages and these can be tailored to suit the differing needs of holiday guests, corporate clients and sporting parties.

There’s plenty to see and do nearby. The Moray Firth is listed by the National Geographic as one of the top ten coastal destinations in the world. The local cuisine is so rich and varied that Speyside has gained the moniker ‘larder of Scotland’. We have some of the best golf courses in Scotland on our doorstep. And don’t forget the ‘liquid gold’: Ballindalloch Estate is on the famous ‘Moray Whisky Trail’ and there are over forty distilleries to visit.

For more information on staying at Ballindalloch Estate and the availability of the properties listed below please contact us here or phone 01807 500 205.

The Delnashaugh

For guests wishing to stay on the Ballindalloch Estate on a fully-catered basis there is The Delnashaugh, an early 18th Century former drovers inn situated on the banks of the River Avon. The Delnashaugh has eight double/twin ensuite bedrooms, a comfortable lounge bar with open log fireplace and restaurant. Please note that The Delnashaugh manages its own bookings directly and can be reached by phoning 01807 500379 and has it’s own website which can be found here.

Marionburgh House

A traditional Scottish country house, Marionburgh House is set in its own private grounds amidst mature woodlands and provides spacious and comfortable accommodation for up to eight guests. Victorian in character but fully modernised throughout, this exclusive holiday let has four twin bedrooms, four bathrooms, a farmhouse kitchen, a large dining room, a cosy sitting room with a beautiful open log fireplace, and the water comes from the Ballindalloch Estate’s own natural spring. Marionburgh House is let weekly on a self-catering basis and the services of a housekeeper are available on request.

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Swiss Cottage

Swiss Cottage is a charming and unusual property on the banks of the River Avon, a well known salmon river. It sleeps up to four people in two twin bedded rooms (one can convert to a double on request). The back gate takes you into old beech woodlands where red squirrels can be seen and down to the river side. On the Speyside Way and a short walk from the Delnashaugh Hotel, the local shop and post office, our Golf Course and Distillery and of course Ballindalloch Castle, Swiss Cottage is a perfect spot from which to explore the pleasures of Speyside, and perhaps further afield following the NORTHEAST250

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