Grantown On Spey along with Castle Grant a mile to the north east is the historical heart Clan Grant. The area has seen settlements dating back thousands of years, in particular at Castle Grant itself and at Cromdale a mile to the east.
Grantown On Spey dating from 1766 is recognised as one of the best examples of a planned town in the Highlands of Scotlands. It was The Good Sir James Grant the 8th Baronet at Grant Castle who saw the need to create not just housing but new industry for his clan while Scotland was in the grip of the Highland Clearances. Agriculture in Scotland was changing from a traditional farming economy to one focused on sheep. This required less people and so many Highlanders were forced from their homes to make room. Many died as a result of starvation or hypothermia, but some managed to emigrated to North America and Australia in search of a new life.
Grantown On Spey is a monument to Sir James’s loyalty to his clansmen and for this he is affectionately known as The Good Sir James.
The town was initially established around the textile industry, however when this industry eventually waned due to its distance from the main markets to the south the town continued. In the 19th century it became known as a tourist destination and an ideal spot from which to explore the Highlands. A visit by Queen Victoria in 1860 during which time she stayed at the Grant Arms Hotel also helped boost its notoriety.
In 1863 two completing railway lines connected the town to the wider railway network making it easier for visitors to get there.
Today Grantown On Spey remains a tourist destination, in particular those in search of outdoor pursuits such as hillwalking or birdwatching. The surrounding area offers fantastic scenery to explore as well as around half the distilleries in Scotland. For those wishing to stay there is a wide range of accommodation available from B & Bs to holiday homes and Hotels.
For those seeking to explore or learn more about their Clan Grant Genealogy the Grantown Museum is a must.