Dufftown is the Malt Whisky Capital of Scotland due to the number of distilleries in the immediate vicinity and as such is a popular base for Speyside whisky enthusiasts. It is a planned town with the Clock Tower, (former jail) at its centre. A small range of shops selling everything from collectibles to malt whisky. There are plenty of well signposted walks surrounding the town. Population 1454.
The Keith and Dufftown Railway originally opened in 1862 to serve the whisky industry and towns. It is testament to the hard work of volunteers who have taken over the 11 mile line and refurbished the train station at Dufftown. It takes about 40 minutes for a one way trip and there is a converted train carriage café (Buffer Stop) at Dufftown station serving snacks and drinks.
This impressive 15th century castle sits in a stunning location surrounded by defensive ditches. Although a ruin, it is very well preserved with much of the walls and inner tower still standing. The access path is situated on the A941 where there is a space for two or three cars. A 20 minute, sometimes muddy, uphill walk from the road takes you through a farmyard and then left up to the castle.
Ben Rinnes at 840m is one of the highest mountains in Moray. It is a relatively gentle hill walk along clear paths and through stunning scenery. The final ascent is a bit steeper but worth the views over Speyside, Moray and the surrounding area. Take the B9009 from Dufftown for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn right into the Edinvillie Road and continue to the car park.
Balvenie Castle was built in the late 1200s and altered by later occupants. It is a defensive stronghold – huge walls and a defensive ditch surround the courtyard indicating the lack of security in times past. There is a pleasant walk back to Dufftown. Look out for the Highland Cows, which can often be seen in the field behind.
Mortlach Kirk stands near Dufftown Distillery down at Dullan Water. It’s believed to be on the site of a 6th century Christian missionary centre founded by St Moluag. St Moluag came from Ireland and was an associate of St Columba.
Dufftown has a well organised network of paths. There are longer walks (e.g. The Isla Way to Keith) and well sign posted shorter paths. The Giant’s Chair walk takes you past Mortlach Kirk, and along Dullan Water. The smell of whisky hangs in the air as you pass Dufftown Distillery. There are points of interest including the Linen Apron Waterfall, the Giant’s Chair and the Giant’s Cradle (a strange rock formation). There’s also an interesting memorial hidden on the left after the Giant’s Chair.
This award winning centre is one of the most popular attractions in Speyside. Here you can watch the barrels being made and refurbished in the working factory. In the grounds there are huge barrels dotted around which were once used for wine and beer, but now act as unusual picnic casks.