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Updated 07/17/2013


O'er the Bows to Ballindalloch

Ballindalloch (Scottish Gaelic: Baile na Dalach) is a small village on the River Spey in Scotland.  It is known for its whisky distilleries and for Ballindalloch Castle; the Glenlivet distillery distillery is near Ballindalloch in Moray  that produces single malt Scotch whisky.

Ballindalloch Castle is known as The Pearl of the North.  The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546. After it was plundered and burned by James Graham, the first Marquess of Montrose, it was restored in 1645. Extensions were added in 1770 by General James Grant (whose ghost is said to haunt the castle) and in 1850 by the architect Thomas MacKenzie. Further extensions carried out in 1878 were mostly demolished during and modernizations enacted in 1965. It has been continuously occupied by the Russell and Macpherson-Grant families throughout its existence.

James Grant, Laird of Ballindalloch (17201806) was a major general in the British Army during the American War of Independence. He served as Governor of East Florida from 1763 to 1771.  Grant was born on the family estate of Ballindalloch in Banffshire in the Northeast of Scotland. He began his military career by purchasing a commission as captain in the Royal Scots on October 24, 1744. The regiment was shipped to the Continent and Grant fought with them in the Battle of Fontenoy (1745).

Grant was named governor of East Florida in 1764.  In 1771, illness forced him to return to England.  Grant was elected to Parliament as an MP for Tain Burghs. In the period leading up to the American Revolutionary War, he became one of the most outspoken of the anti-American members. In a speech early in 1775, he remarked that the colonists "...could not fight...", and declared that he could "go from one end of America to other and geld all the males.

The castle houses an important collection of 17th century Spanish paintings. The dining room of Ballindalloch is said to be haunted by a ghost known as The Green Lady.  The castle grounds contain a 20th century rock garden and a 17th century dovecote. The rivers Spey and Avon flow through the grounds, offering excelling fishing. The famous Aberdeen Angus cattle herd resides in the castle estate.Today, the castle is still occupied by Clare Nancy Russell and her family. Mrs. Russell is the current Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire. It is open to tourists during the summer months and a number of workshops on its grounds are in active use.