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Tomintoul and Glenlivet

[TOWN PLAN] (c) Moray Tourist Board

Tomintoul, one of the highest villages in the Highlands at 345 metres (1,150 feet) above sea level, lies on the A939 at the northern approach to the famous Lecht Pass (635 metres/2,100 feet). The A939 links Deeside to Speyside across an easterly spur of the Cairngorm Mountains. Tomintoul is a convenient stopping point for travellers between Braemar or Ballater and Inverness, and is popular with those seeking active outdoor holidays.

The village is laid out along a gentle ridge, flanked on one side by the River Avon, famed for the clarity of its waters, and on the other by the Conglass Water. The name comes from the Gaelic "tom-an-t-sabhal" meaning "barn hill". It is pronounced "Tom-in-towel" (not "Tom-in-tool").

Sir Henry Alexander, one-time Provost of Aberdeen, journalist and connoisseur of mountain scenery, wrote "The Avon, regarded from the point of view of river and mountain scenery, is perhaps the most perfect glen in Scotland, for in the whole 38 miles from its source above Loch Avon to the Spey there is not a single dull passage, and every phase of Highland landscape is presented, from the wild and barren grandeur of Ben Macdhui to the luxuriant beeches of Dalnashaugh, under whose shade the river flows deep and dark to meet the Spey."

The turbulent history of Glenlivet reflects religious upheavals from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The Battle of Glenlivet in 1594 was the last stand of the Roman Catholic party, whose leaders were forced to flee the country after their defeat. However Glenlivet remained an enclave of the Roman Catholic faith, and for most of the eighteenth century priests were trained at the remote seminary of Scalan. During the Disruption of the Church of Scotland itl 1843, the dissenters held their services in the open air until they were able to build a new church of their own.

For sportsmen, the surroundings offer salmon and trout fishing, deer stalking, grouse shooting and pony trekking. A variety of long and short walks gives access to magnificent views of the eastern Cairngorms and the Cromdale Hills, and there are opportunities to take part in outdoor sports including mountaineering and canoeing.

In winter the Lecht ski area at the summit of the pass offers facilities, including several tows, especially suited to beginners, intermediates and families. There is a cross-country skiing area with prepared trails at Glenmulliach.

The name Glenlivet is familiar to all connoisseurs of quality malt whisky. Such is the fame of this quiet glen that many distillers outwith the glen itself add the name as a suffix to the name of their own product, though only one distillery has the right to use the name on its own. One of the glen's distilleries, The Glenlivet, opens its doors to visitors in the summer.

(c) Moray Tourist Board

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