Tomintoul

We went to the village of Tomintoul today. Many times we’ve driven through it and I’ve always thought it looked cute and wanted to linger but usually we’re en route somewhere and haven’t had time to stop. Today we made a special visit just to see Tomintoul.

Tomintoul is about 60 miles west of Aberdeen in the Cairngorms National Park. Most people will have heard of Tomintoul whisky which is named after the village. Tomintoul was a planned village, laid out as a grid by Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, in 1775. The village layout is the same today as it was 250 years ago.

Alexander Gordon hoped that by encouraging settlement and industry in the area he’d discourage the illegal stills (unregistered distilleries) and cattle theft. He wanted the locals to grow flax and produce linen but evidently the climate and landscape were not suited to growing flax and the locals continued to live as subsistence farmers and produce whisky.

Farming is challenging in this part of Scotland because of the hilly and exposed landscape, harsh winters, and peaty soils. This is perhaps why Queen Victoria described the place as miserable and dirty-looking.

Tomintoul is the most tumble-down, poor-looking place I ever saw – a long street with three inns, miserable dirty-looking houses and people, and a sad look of wretchedness about it. Grant told me that it was the dirtiest, poorest village in the whole of the Highlands.

Queen Victoria’s Highland Journals, 1860

We got this information from the museum in the square.

We didn’t think the village was dirty or wretched. Indeed I thought it was lovely.

This next building is the museum which had lots of interesting information about the history of the area.

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. There’s a handful of shops including the whisky castle shop which is floor to ceiling with bottles of whisky.

The village store and post office is a grocery store.

There’s a carpark off the main street and public toilets. The carpark even had charging points for electric cars which was handy for us.

There’s a lovely walk you can do around the village that goes through neighbouring farmland, up a ridge with a nice view, then back through some forest along the River Avon.

About a half a mile from the village is another terrific walk with some nice views including one known as the Queen Victoria Viewpoint.

I got this nice photo of Corgarff Castle on the way home.

6 Replies to “Tomintoul”

  1. Omg, Queen Victoria’s journal post about it 🙈 That’s so blunt and harsh 😳🙈😅😆
    I agree with you. It looks like a charming village. And lovely scenery surrounding it 🥰 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Maybe she was having a bad day that day? 🙂 It is a charming village and the surrounding countryside is stunning.

  2. The grid layout is actually quite good for community interaction. It encourages small businesses and services, and people walking to get to them where they encounter other people on the way. Modern layouts of long roads with long distances to get to services, etc, encourage driving and little interaction with others.

    1. I do like that they have a central square – that does seem to encourage community as a place to gather and it’s also enforced green space which I like. This one had trees which made it attractive.

  3. Good to hear about the charging points. I like local museums, they are usually put together with such care and pride.

    1. Definitely! The museum was community-run and the fellow there was very helpful and knew his stuff.

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