Tranquil Getaway at Roseisle

Roseisle beach, burghead, Moray, Scotland
The beach at Roseisle is the perfect place to relax and unwind

Moray is known for its beautiful coastal villages and incredible walking trails, but one of the most beautiful spots for relaxing has to be Roseisle beach.

Situated between Findhorn and Burghead, the beautiful sandy beach offers brilliant views of the seaside village and town to each side.

Due to its brilliant location, clear waters and clean sandy shores, Roseisle is always busy – but it amazingly never seems to get crowded.  This is probably because of its extensive size, which means you don’t have to walk very far to be in peaceful solitude.

The privacy that the beach offers allows a great opportunity to relax and reflect.  On even the most stressful of days, the sound of the ocean waves can always help wash my worries away.

Something I work very hard at is making sure that I take time out of my busy schedule to look after my mental well-being.  I have found that, apart from the pond beside Carden, nowhere helps me unwind like the beach at Roseisle.

Carden Cottages, Moray, Scotland
The pond by Carden is a great spot to be at peace

Studies have shown that the sounds of nature – including the ocean and birds chirping – can help you recover faster from a stressful event.  Therefore, if you’re looking for a break from the stress and business of everyday life, this is the ideal place for you to visit.

The incredible beach is not all that Roseisle has to offer offer – it also boasts a woodland area that is equally picturesque, and just as relaxing when trying to escape.

The sweet smelling pine trees add to the relaxing atmosphere – making all of your senses completely at peace.

The fantastic woodland at Roseisle is the perfect escape from reality

There really is something for every member of the family in the area – a beach, woods and even a play park.  Every part of the area is just as beautiful during cold days as it is during the summer.

There is also a lot of military history to the beach – with the remnants of anti-tank blocks and pillboxes still standing on the shore.   Therefore, regardless if you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere or an adventure full of hiking ad history, you can find it here.

Our whole family loves Roseisle beach so much that it is where we spend our Boxing Day every year. We usually set up in the afternoon and have drinks and barbecues all day, with a big roaring fire to keep us all warm.  We have even had years where we stayed on the beach having a grand time until one in the morning!

One year there were couples setting off lanterns, making the landscape look like something out of a painting and making our evening even more special.

The area offers lots of public amenities which helps it stand out from other beaches and hiking trails in the area – including public toilets and a vast amount of parking, costing only £2 for the whole day.

This idyllic location, where you can relax and unwind, is only just over 10 minutes away from Carden Cottages by car.

Golfing in Moray

Moray is home to a huge variety of beautiful golf courses to suit every kind of golfer.  From the beautiful Cullen Links Course, to the upmarket Lossiemouth Club, to the popular Hopeman Course – Moray has a course for everyone regardless of budget, skill set or scenery preference!

Cullen Links, Cullen, Moray, Scotland
Cullen Links is set in the picturesque coastal town of Cullen | Credit: Wikimedia

Scenic Views

The stunning Cullen Links Golf Course is one of the most popular in the Moray area – and it is easy to see why.  The quality of the picturesque views surrounding this golf course are enough to make even the worst round of golf you’ve ever played feel like its going smoothly.  There are beautiful views of the ocean, which are like something out of a painting on a nice sunny day.

With 10 par three holes – Cullen is the shortest links course in Scotland.  However, the short course is full of adventure – winding its way up around a cliff-top, before twisting back down towards the shore where you can golf in between old sea stacks.

The Covesea Links is another course in the Moray area with fantastic views of the sea.  The 9-hole course is nestled in a cove right on the coast between Lossiemouth and Hopeman – following the contours of the cove to offer stunning views of the coast.

Hopeman Golf Course, Moray, Scotland
Hopeman Golf Course is home to one of the best 3-par holes in Scotland | Credit: Geograph

Best Par 3 Hole in Scotland

Hopeman Golf Course is by far one of the most popular courses in the Moray area.  In fact, it’s signature hole, The Prieshach, was voted one of the best Par 3 holes in Scotland by Sky Golf.

Although the 12th hole is the signature hole, there are several others that stand out as particularly brilliant – with the greens at this course being just as good as the far pricier courses in the area.  It is no wonder that the course is so popular.

Moray Golf Clubhouse, Lossiemouth, Scotland
Moray Golf Club is popular with visitors | Credit: Richard Hoare

High End Courses

Moray Golf Course is one of the more high end clubs in the area.  The clubhouse has some real old world charm, and offers some delicious food and drink – the most important part for me!

The course is of a very high standard – with the fairways and greens kept in excellent condition.  It is a great challenge, especially when the wind is blowing, but you can treat yourself to an excellent meal afterwards.

Golfing for Better Mental Health

Not only does golfing help improve your physical health, there are strong arguments to suggest it works wonders for your mental health too.  Research has shown that the sport can help you improve your confidence, self-esteem and anxiety levels.

Next week, on Friday 17th May, Living Golf will be hosting its Changing Lives in Moray event at Covesea Golf Links.  The purpose of the event is to promote the sport as a way of improving mental health.

The event is open to everyone, regardless of ability (so even I might be able to give it a go!)  Teams of four can play 9 holes at a cost of £5 per player.  For more information, or if you have transport problems, you can contact Living Golf on 07570 139657 or letsplay@livinggolf.com

Moray Golf Courses

Click on the links below to find out more about the individual Golf Clubs in Moray.

 

For more information about golfing in the Moray area, check out our other article on the sport.

Carden Cottages offers a central location to call home while you are visiting all of the fantastic surrounding golf courses.  Join our mailing list to find out about some fantastic last minute deals.

Great food at The Red Lion

The Red Lion, known lovingly by locals as The “Red Beastie”, is a fantastic little pub in Forres.

The Red Lion Forres from outside
The Red Lion is located just off Forres High Street | Credit: The Red Lion

Located just off Forres High Street, it is an ideal central location for when you are exploring the area.

I recently went to the beastie for my dinner and found myself spoilt for choice for starters, mains and desserts.  On my visit I opted to take advantage of the specials menu, treating myself to all three courses.

To start, I had the traditional haggis and clapshot with whisky cream.  This deliciously Scottish dish melted in the mouth.  The pub certainly did the classic combination justice!

Haggis, neeps and tatties
Haggis is a delicious Scottish dish that The Red Lion did justice | Credit: Wikimedia

I then had grilled butterflied chicken, served with rice and veg and a tasty honey Dijon sauce.  The chicken was cooked perfectly – moist and juicy.  The sauce added a nice sweet touch that brilliantly complimented the rest of the dish.

For my final and favourite course (dessert!) I had a fantastically sweet homemade oreo cheesecake.  It was the perfect combination of a crumbly biscuit base, with a rich, creamy top half.  The chunks of oreo mixed with the soft texture added a superb extra crunch that took the dessert to the next level.  I would definitely recommend you give it a go if it is on the menu when you visit.

Unfortunately, on this occasion I was driving so I didn’t get to put the bar to the test.  However, The Red Lion bar serves everything – from cask ales and premium lagers to wine or whisky.  It is definitely the spot to unwind and relax with a drink in Forres.

The Red Lion bar forres
The Red Lion bar boasts a variety of drinks including some wonderful cask ales | Credit: The Red Lion

The staff were all very friendly and the service was excellent.  You are never left waiting to be served or dying of thirst waiting on a drink!

I would recommend the Red Beastie to anyone looking to relax and enjoy some good, hearty food after a long day.

The pub is a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages and is within walking distance from some historic sites in Forres, such as Sueno’s Stone and Nelson’s Tower.

Spirit of Speyside returns for 20th anniversary

The largest whisky festival of its kind in the world, Spirit of Speyside, is set to return for another successful run next week.

Spirit of speyside scottish whisky
Scotland is home to some amazing whisky distilleries – the Spirit of Speyside festival offers an opportunity like no other to check them out | Credit: Wikimedia

Starting on Wednesday the 1st of May and ending on Monday 6th May, the festival boasts a programme of over 500 whisky-inspired events.

The whisky festival allows you to tour old and new distilleries, village halls, local whisky bars, historic castles, old steadings, much loved local shops as well as the great outdoors!  What better way to explore the Speyside area than with a nip or two of some of Scotland’s most popular whiskies?

There are events all over the Moray area to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival, from Aviemore in the South, following the river Spey to central Speyside and the historic towns in the coastal North.

Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown Speyside Spirit of Speyside
Speyside boasts excellent distilleries, including the brilliant Glenfiddich distillery | Credit: Wikimedia

Scotland has a long history with uisge beatha (the water of life), with the fiery drink, with the first recorded account of whisky going back to Friar John Cor in around 1495.  However, most believe that the manufacturing of whisky in Scotland stems back much further than that.

Spirit of Speyside is run by a board of directors from different industries including whisky, culture and heritage, tourism and hospitality.  They work on a voluntary basis along with the festival manager, finance manager and event development graduate.

There are a number of distilleries that open their doors for the festival, with the events programme changing every year.  This year distilleries hosting events include Craigellachie, Ballindalloch, Glenlivet and GlenAllachie, to name just a few.

The festival also delivers an opening dinner, opening and closing ceilidhs, the Whisky Awards and the Whisky School.  However, the majority of events are delivered by partners and members, making every event unique.

Spirit of Speyside Glen Moray whisky
Glen Moray landed lots of prizes at the 2018 Whisky Awards | Credit: Shirokazan

You can book tickets now for the many events by visiting the Spirit of Speyside website.  Events include distillery tours, whisky tastings, walks, afternoon teas and much more.  The prices for these events range from free, to £30 – £60, to £500.  There are activities to suit every budget.

Although the festival is spectacular, visitors can expect a friendly welcome at Speyside all year round.

Make Moray your destination for your next whisky tasting experience by booking your stay at Carden Cottages now.  You can also subscribe to our mailing list for updates on last minute bargains.

Amazing views from Nelson’s Tower

One of the best tourist attractions in Forres has reopened for the Summer.  Nelson’s Tower has now opened for the season – and is a great place to visit for both tourists and locals.

Nelson's Tower Cluny Hill Forres Moray Scotland
Nelson’s Tower stands proudly on Cluny Hill in Forres | Credit: Valenta

Nelson’s Tower stands proudly on Cluny Hill, looking over Forres.  The foundation stone was laid there by James Brodie in 1806, in memory of Admiral Lord Nelson.

The tower was created to commemorate the Lord Admiral’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, and took another six years before it was open to the public.

On the day of the grand opening, cannons fired a twenty-one gun salute.  It was said that these canons were with the first fleet at the bombardment of Alexandria.  These canons can still be seen at the entrance to the tower to this day.

Canons Nelson's Tower Forres Moray Scotland
The canons at the entrance of Nelson’s Tower | Credit: Forres Heritage Trust

Once inside, a steep spiral staircase of 97 steps leads you to the it’s highest point.  There are two stops on the way up, where you can view associated historic information on your trek to the top.

My favourite part of the tower is the amazing views from the top.  From the peak you can see a complete 360 of the surrounding area – the view of the Moray Firth is particularly breathtaking.

Nelson's Tower view Forres Heritage Trust
Nelson’s Tower offers fantastic views of Forres and the surrounding areas | Credit: Forres Heritage Trust

Nelson Tower really does have a lot to offer.  For keen walkers there is the surrounding Grant Park and the walk up Cluny Hill.  People who love nature can embrace the beautiful views and surroundings.  And for the history buffs there is plenty information about the background of the tower.

The tower is currently looked after by lovely volunteers from the Forres Heritage Trust, who are all very passionate and knowledgeable about the local area.  They are very helpful and keen to answer any questions you have.

It is open from 2pm to 4pm every day, from the beginning of April to the end of September, and entry is by donation.

Nelson’s Tower is only a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages.  It is also near other great historic sites such as Sueno’s Stone, and is near some lovely cafes such as Timeout or The Peppermill.

Spynie Palace is a must visit in Moray

One of my favourite castles in Moray reopens this month.  Spynie Palace has a rich history, beautiful scenery, and is well worth a visit if you are in the Moray area!

Spynie Palace Moray
The magnificent ruins of Spynie Palace | Credit: Mike Searle

Spynie Palace is actually the largest surviving medieval bishop’s house in Scotland.  It was the residence of the bishops of Moray for five centuries, with royalty travelling the area sometimes using it as a guesthouse.  James I, James II and James IV were among those who stayed at Spynie during their travels.

The palace originally sat at the edge of Spynie Loch, surrounded by a thriving settlement.  Today only ruins remain where the palace once stood – the loch tiny in comparison to its former self.

Due to its rich history, there are many stunning historic features of Spynie Castle to appreciate on your visit.  Some details are smaller than others – for example you can see the gun holes that the final Catholic Bishop of Spynie Palace, Patrick Hepburn, had put in place just before the Protestant Reformation of 1560.

The three bishops who played a part in the building of the tower house have their coats of arms displayed at Spynie Palace

My favourite part however, is David’s Tower.  The tower is the largest tower house by volume to survive in Scotland.  The top of the tower offers fantastic views of the spectacular countryside that the palace is located in, as well as the rest of the palace.

You can also find all three of the Bishop’s coat of arms who were parties to the creation of the tower house carved intricately into the ruins.

Due to its peaceful location, birds and other wildlife can also be spotted in the area.  Loch Spynie is actually a great location for bird watching – from mute swans, to ducks, to woodpeckers, many different birds have been spotted in the area.

swans Loch Spynie Moray
Swans, among many other birds, can be spotted at Loch Spynie | Credit: Des Colhoun

The palace is also a 10 minute drive to one of my other favourite tourist spots, Elgin Cathedral, which has a rich history, and I would recommend going there when you are in the area.

Tickets come at affordable prices, including: £6 per adult, £4.80 for people 60 and above, £3.60 for children, free for children under five and £1.00 for YoungScot Card Holders.

Despite the fact that Spynie Palace has shrunk from an incredible castle to ruins, it still has a remarkable grandeur about it.  I would definitely recommend a visit when you are staying with us at Carden Cottages – it’s less than a 20 minute drive!

Delicious lunch at The Peppermill, Forres

Last week for a Friday treat I decided to pay a visit to another of my favourite Forres spots, The Peppermill.

The Peppermill Forres from High Street
The Peppermill in Forres is a popular café and restaurant, serving delicious food | Credit: The Peppermill

I was on Forres High Street when I decided to nip in for a spot of light lunch.  I was seated straight away by the window, which gave me a great view of all the goings on of the High Street.

There were lots of excellent choices on the lunch menu – from soup to battered Buckie haddock.  I opted for the Cajun chicken and mayonnaise baguette with a side of lovely homemade chips.

The service was speedy and before I knew it I had a beautifully delicious baguette in front of me.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the baguette was much bigger than I expected.  The chicken was perfectly cooked, the sauce was deliciously creamy, and the bread was just the right balance between soft in the middle and crisp on the outside.

Chicken tikka and mayonnaise baguette from The Peppermill Forres
My chicken tikka and mayonnaise baguette with salad and homemade chips made for a delicious lunch

Although I love my coffee, Friday was a nice warm day and I fancied something refreshing to drink.  I asked for an orange Fanta, however this is something they don’t serve at the Peppermill.  The lovely waitress offered to make me up some orange juice with lemonade which I gladly accepted.  Her kindness and helpfulness made the whole experience that bit better.

In a very out of character move I didn’t have any cake to finish off my lunch at The Peppermill – but the restaurant does offer delightful home bakes such as caramel slices, scones and tiffin.

The café and restaurant has a great cosy feel and the amount of people coming in and even ordering food to go showed just how popular it is.  I would recommend reserving a table at The Peppermill when you decide to pay it a visit as it does get very busy.

The scrumptious generous portions of food also come at great value for money.  It cost me just around £8 for my huge baguette, large portion of hand cut chips, salad and large drink.

For more information on The Peppermill, check out there Facebook page where they post pictures of their delicious food and baked goods.

The Peppermill can be found on Forres High Street, a short 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages.

Special thanks to MORAYWAYS for a superb set of walks

Of all the great places to go walking in Scotland, Moray is arguably the most celebrated. With so many spectacular places to walk, it’s really hard to choose a favourite between lochs, beaches, ancient sites, forests and rushing rivers.

Here we have selected a range of walks right on your doorstep that we hope will ‘kick-start’ your interest in Moray as an excellent walking destination and Carden Cottages as the perfect place to stay.

All images and text sourced from MORAYWAYS

Quarrel Wood Trail

quarrel woods walkThe Ancestor’s Trail meanders through the beautiful Oakwood part of which is an ancient semi natural wood.

2.5 Miles

 

Millbuies Lock Trail

millbuies trailMillbuies Loch was created by the damming of streams to provide angling facilities on the loch.Moray District Council took over the estate in 1975 and the fishing was extended to the public.

2.5 Miles

 

Brodie Castle Trail

brodie castle walkBrodie Castle has a variety of paths offering a wide choice of scenic and historic features along the routes.

2.5 Miles

 

 

Culbin Forest Trail – Hill 99

Hill 99 walkOne of Moray’s many Forestry Commissions woodlands with promoted access, it is located on the coastal sand dunes between Findhorn Bay and Nairn. It has a wide network of paths suitable for many users, including the signed all abilities trail, known as the Route 99. Click on in the ‘Useful Links’ section below for more information on this and other Access opportunities within Moray’s Forestry Commission woodlands.

02 Hour walk

 

Forres – River Findhorn Circular

Forres findhorn walkA circular walk through and around the town of Forres, following the banks of the River Findhorn for much of the route. With some fine views of the surrounding countryside it explores some attractive, yet less frequented, environs of this pretty Moray town. Click on the FORRES FOOTPATHS TRUST WEBSITE link at the bottom of this page for more information on the Forres Paths Network.

8 Miles

 

Roseisle Beach Walk

Roseisle beach walkOne of the featured routes on the Moray Equestrian Access Group’s website.

Approximately 8miles of sandy beach to enjoy.

8 Miles

 

Burghead: Clarkly Hill Circular

burghead walk and trailA circular walk starting in the Pictish Fort town of Burghead and passing through farmland and rocky shores, with stunning views of the Moray Firth along the ridge of Clarkly Hill.

3.5 Miles

 

The Moray Way

Moray wayThe Moray Way concept links existing walking routes to form a circuit of 95 miles (153km) that can be walked comfortably in six to nine days. The route encompases a wide variety of Scotland’s scenery and wildlife condensed into one area ie Moray. The walker experiences expansive beaches, rugged clifftops, wide Straths, fertile farmlands, forests, open moorland and mountains. The route links numerous towns and villages where there is a variety of accommodation and shops.

95 Miles

Hopeman Railway Path

This walk takes you from Hopeman Surgery on a circular route along part of the old railway line to Cummingston. It is quite sheltered along the old track and has lovely views over the Moray Firth with potential to spot dolphins.

The section from Cummingston back towards Hopeman is along a pavement next to a relatively busy road so care will be required.

1.5 Miles

 

Check out MORAYWAYS for a great range of walks, trails, cycle ways and bridle ways.

Great customer service at The Loft, Kinloss

This week I ventured over to The Loft in Kinloss for a business meeting – and in search of the perfect coffee!

The Loft Café from outside | Credit: The Loft

Having recently had my mind opened to the incredible world of a Cortado, I wanted to find out if one of my favourite cafes that I visit regularly could provide one for me.  This option wasn’t on The Loft’s menu, but the wonderful Gayle was kind enough to make one for me anyway.

After a quick Google she knew exactly what she was doing and the next thing I knew I had the perfect Cortado sitting in front of me.  The coffee was made exactly how I hoped it would be, with the exactly right balance between coffee and frothy deliciousness.

The Loft Coffee Cortado
Gayle going out of her way to make me my Cortado!

As I’m (trying) to be very healthy lately, I only ate a little cheese scone on my visit.  It was fresh out the oven and smelled incredible.  Because it was still warm from being freshly baked, my butter melted perfectly into the light and fluffy scone.

My colleague, who was being considerably less healthy than me, decided to have a big slice of chocolate cake – probably just to make me jealous!  According to her, it was delicious, melted in the mouth and had beautiful rich icing.  I think I have had enough cake from The Loft to take her opinion as a fact, as every cake I have had from there has been stunning.

Crispy cake at The Loft Kinloss
Some of the tasty cakes from The Loft

Although the coffee, scones and cakes are all amazing at The Loft, it is the friendliness and kindness of the staff that really takes the café to the next level.  From Gayle going out of her way to get me the Cortado I had my heart set on, to Bill the chef passionately talking us through all of the great soup ideas he has – the staff are there to brighten your experience from the moment you step through the door.

If you want to find out more about The Loft Café and the delicious treats they offer you can visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram.  They are also more than just a café: they offer activities, host events such as concerts, and even work as a wedding venue!

It is also in a prime bird-watching spot and is close to many local attractions, from beaches to museums.

Best of all, you can find all of this at just a 10 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages.

Take some Time Out at one of Forres’ best cafes

One of my favourite spots for a spot of coffee and some cake in Forres is Time Out Café.

Outside Time Out Cafe Forres High Street
Time Out Cafe is located in the centre of Forres | Credit: Maria W

My most recent visit to the café, which is conveniently located on the High Street, was for business rather than pleasure – but that didn’t stop me thoroughly enjoying my time there.

Time Out is a great place to visit when you want to get some work done, but in a relaxed and informal setting.  The combination of tables and booths creates a laid back atmosphere to the café, which can really help when you’re having a mental block.

Hard work can build up quite the appetite, which is probably part of the reason my bacon roll went down so quickly, but this was also largely due to the fact that it was so delicious.  The bacon was juicy yet crisp, cooked exactly how I like it.

 I washed my food down with a mug of delicious white coffee, the perfect drink to compliment a bacon roll and to keep my brain functioning properly while doing work.

The café also offers fresh home bakes, including mouth-watering Danishes which are always my go-to at Time Out when I am there for a light snack.

Time Out Café have Delicious Home Bakes | Credit: Time Out Café

Time Out also offer a full lunch menu including everything from soups, sandwiches and toasties to burgers and macaroni cheese.

Aside from the great food, one of the main reasons I enjoy my trips to Time Out is the great customer service from the lovely workers.  They are always there to lend a helping hand, even when the café is packed full – which it often is as it is a very popular spot.

To top it all off, the prices are more than reasonable, but make sure you bring your cash with you as they do not accept card!

The café is only a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages and I would definitely recommend giving it a visit if you find yourself visiting any of the sites in Forres, such as Sueno’s Stone.