This week I came across a great travel writer Neil Robertson (travelswithakilt) who really enjoyed his time in Moray and you know, even spending just a few days immersed in our culture will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Reasons to visit Moray
Moray goes hand in hand with whisky. Dominated in tourism circles with chatter about heavenly Speyside malts, it is hard to look past Scotland’s most concentrated distillery congregation when reflecting on this north eastern segment of the country. And yet, I’m going to try. The latest in my ‘weekend in…’ series will look at the range of standout interests making up my top reasons to visit Moray, one of our most under hyped but incredibly rewarding regions.
It begins with a nod to the wealth of historical incentive on offer throughout these parts. Starting in the town of Elgin, the 13th Century Cathedral is one of the finest ruins in the country and one that, to me anyway, bears a strong resemblance to fabulous Melrose Abbey in the Borders.
In its day one of the most beautiful and intricate structures in Scotland, there is still a distinctive atmosphere to the place and its eerie surrounding graveyard. The presence of the River Lossie to the north adds further to a memorable image.
Selecting from the numerous additional ruins in the area is hard going for this castle fanatic but another great standout is medieval Spynie Palace. In an excellent state of repair, the historical home to the Bishops of Moray has a peaceful setting overlooking the gentle rural landscapes north of Elgin.
They picked their spot well. With origins from the 12th Century, Spynie boasts a large courtyard area and is dominated by the plain, yet practical, David’s Tower. It’s time for another comparison as I am reminded of the island fortress of Loch Leven Castle in the appearance of the Palace ruins.
Going even further back in time, the gigantic standing stone of Sueno puts those piddly wee things in Outlander to shame. At over 20 feet tall, Sueno’s Stone dates from the 9th Century and is easily the most impressive of its type that I have seen. Resembling the famous Bayeux Tapestry, the carvings tell a story to set the imagination on fire. An array of warriors clearly depict an epic battle, although the specific meanings are not known with any certainty.
Naturally, it has its own place in literary history too as it is said to be at this spot that Macbeth met the three witches who were to wreak such havoc on his mental health. In the legend, the witches were imprisoned within the stone for their evil-doing and should it break, they would be released. There’s a consideration for house prices in the area…..
Opening a newer chapter in Scottish history, the stately-home style of castle is epitomised with the grandeur of Brodie Castle near the town of Forres. Decadent, formidable and ostentatious, Brodie is a fabulous example of wealthy family life in the 16th Century. Richly furnished, art adorned and with 71 hectares worth of grounds, the Clan Brodie did alright for themselves.