Rothiemurchus

Rothiemurchus is a privately owned Highland Estate within Strathspey, northeast of the River Spey. It is one of the most treasured areas of the Cairngorms National Park because of its truly special relationship between nature and people. It has been under the stewardship of the Grant family since the 16th Century but has a wealth of history before this.

There is evidence that Rothiemurchus is a very old human settlement, as the name dates to the 8th Century. The first inhabitants were most likely Picts and Rothiemurchus would have been the centre of the great Caledonian Pine Forest of Scotland. The Parish of Rothiemurchus belonged to the crown until 1226 when Alexander II gave it to Andrew Bishop of Moray as a hereditary thanage. In 1370 Alexander Stuart (the Wolf of Badenoch) became protector of the Bishop of Moray, his men and his lands, including Rothiemurchus. However, relations between the two became strained and in 1389 the Bishop dismissed Stuart and took on Thomas Dunbar as protector. In June 1390 Stuart descended on Forres and Elgin and he sacked and burned two royal burghs, destroying the parish kirk and hospital. The Wolf of Badenoch was never punished.

In 1574 John’s son, Patrick Grant, was designated “of Rothiemurchus” by King James VI and he then moved to The Doune of Rothiemurchus from Muckrach near Dulnain Bridge in 1597.

Today, Rothiemurchus is a special area for conservation. In the words of Johnnie Grant, the present Laird of Rothiemurchus, "Rothiemurchus forest is not just trees, but a wonderfully rich network of habitats and wildlife, interdependent and evolving. The conservation of this diverse, living landscape does not happen by accident. Long-term planning and sensitive use maintain and enhance the forest for future generations."

 

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