Find Your Light and feed your curiosity.

The East Cairngorms is teeming with the stories which bring alive our history and heritage.

The mountains instilled a passion in our ancestors which is still alive today.

The Jacobite and Whisky Trail brings alive the connection between two key aspects; a time when our ancestors raised the standard and toasted with whisky drank from the Quoich.

You can relive their experiences by wandering around the landmarks, imagining the atmosphere and excitement, whilst seeing how modern day has interwoven to remind us of how quickly our stories turn into our histories.

Plan your history adventure on the map below.

Find your Light in the richness of our Jacobite Trail around Braemar and Ballater.

Be inspired at The Quoich Punchbowl where legend has it that the ‘bowl’ was filled with whisky and honey for clansmen to toast the ‘Old Pretender’.

Follow the whisky theme by enjoying whisky chocolates at Braemar Chocolate Shop.

Wander down to Braemar Castle which rose from the ashes after being burnt to the ground by the Black Colonel, and became a garrison to house government forces to prevent illicit whisky production.

Reflect on the Martin Creed artwork “Everything is going to be alright”!

Take a walk over the Old Brig O’Dee built in 1753 after the quelling of the 1745 Rising. Continue to Lochangar Distillery where, fortunately you can now legitimately enjoy our whisky.

Continue along the A93 and discover the hidden memorial of Carn-na-Cuimhne. The trail takes you all the way to Ballater and Tullich. By which time you will be ready for a hearty meal and a wee dram in one of our many bars such as the Balmoral Bar.

For a fuller flavour of our Jacobite & Whisky landmarks and history, check out the proposed trail below.

The Jacobite Whisky Trail through Ballater, Braemar and Deeside

Imagine a place where the senses ignite, where history is made, and heritage is passed down the generations.

Proposed Trail

(1) Numbers in brackets refer to the Trail Stories below.

· Start at (1) (Braemar Castle). Go westward along A93 taking in points (2) and (3)

· Take right fork into Braemar village (4).

· Take right fork out of village towards Linn of Dee until Mar Lodge.

· Cross Mar Lodge bridge, pass through the estate and exit right onto road to Quoich.

· Take sizeable track on left over the hill to the Punchbowl (5) in rocks just above Linn of Quoich

· Cross bridge over the Linn of Quoich and follow river back down to new bridge over Quoich.

· Take track along Invercauld Estate on north of Dee past Allanaquoich

· Pass Invercauld House (6) and Keiloch until road joins main A93 near Old Brig O’ Dee (7).

· Go east along A93, past Inver to shortly after large layby on right. Cross stile a short distance along on the right, and follow track to Carn-na-Cuimhne (Cairnaquheen) (8)

· Return to stile and continue eastwards taking the left turn over the Dee past Balmoral (9). Continue on road until right turn to Lochnagar Distillery (10)

· Return to the B976, turn right for 100m then cross the white pedestrian Crathie Suspension Bridge, continue on the road and take left at next junction to Crathie Old Kirk (11).

· Return to A93 and go eastward passing Abergeldie Castle (12). Take left on B972, into the Pass of Ballater (13). Before the end of Pass, take the road on right to Monaltrie House.

· Return to Pass and continue till road meets A93 near Tullich (14). Turn right along A93 to Ballater, cross Bridge (15), turn left on B976 and continue to Pannanich Wells (16)

· Return west on B976 and, crossing bridge again, pass into town of Ballater (17).

Jacobite Trail & Whisky Trail Stories

Provided by local historian Maureen Kelly.

1    Braemar Castle (1st Rising, 1689): Built in 1628 by the 2nd Earl of Mar. In 1689, during the 1st Jacobite Rising, it was burned by John Farquharson of Inverey, the Black Colonel, to prevent it being used by the Government troops to police the Jacobite’s of Upper Deeside.

In 1748, after the collapse of the last Jacobite Rising, Braemar Castle was rebuilt by the military and garrisoned for over 80 years. The garrison task was to prevent any future Jacobite activity, to control cattle thieving and, towards the end of the 18th century, to prevent illicit whisky distilling. Ironically, the garrison were principal customers!

2          Braemar Graveyard (near Braemar Castle carpark): Site of 1824 grave of 110 year old Peter Grant (Auld Dubrach) the last surviving Jacobite Soldier who fought in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army at Culloden in 1746, the battle which ended the last Jacobite Rising. Around 300 people attended Auld Dubrach’s funeral and were reported to have drunk 4 gallons of whisky!

The granite Farquharson Mausoleum building (not open to public) holds the grave and memorial to John Farquharson 9th of Invercauld who was Clan Chief during the 1715 and 1745 Risings and fought with the Jacobite’s in the 1715 Rising. It is also the burial ground of his son James 10th of Invercauld who fought in the Hanoverian army in the 1745 Rising.

Black Colonel was initially buried in Braemar graveyard (c1698): On the morning after the burial, his coffin was discovered lying above ground. It was reburied several times but each morning was found lying above ground. At last, it was transported (as he had originally requested) to the graveyard in Inverey (now ‘lost’) beside his mistress, Annie Bhan.

3          1715 Jacobite Rising Monument: The monument and plaque commemorating the raising of the Jacobite standard for the Old Pretender, King James III, on 6 September 1715 is on the roadside opposite the Invercauld Arms Hotel (which was the site of the original event). The standard was raised by the 6th Earl of Mar, leader of the Rising, to signify the start of the 2nd Jacobite Rising.

4          Braemar Village: Bottles of whisky, much loved by the Jacobite’s and other Highlanders, can be purchased in The Highlander and the Co-operative Store. Hand-made whisky-flavoured chocolates are available from the Braemar Chocolate Shop. A glass of whisky can be drunk in local hotels and bars and The Fife Arms Hotel has a special whisky bar serving 365 different whiskies.

The booklet ‘Jacobites and Upper Deeside’ and other guide booklets and leaflets of the area can be purchased in most village outlets.

5          River Quoich Punchbowl (2nd Rising, 1715): Site of the gathering of clan leaders on 5 September 1715, ostensibly for a great stag hunt, but in reality, to plan and drink to the success of the Rising. Traditionally, a large hollow in the flat rocks just above the Linn of Quoich was filled with whisky and honey with which the Clansmen toasted “The King over the Water” (ie the Old Pretender, James III). The rim of the Punch Bowl can still be seen but its base now has a hole eroded by the action of the river.

6          Invercauld House (1715 rising) (not open to public): Site of the preliminary planning meeting in August 1715 for the 2nd Jacobite Rising. the meeting was called by the Earl of Mar who was residing there at the time. Invercauld House was the home of John Farquharson 9th Laird of Invercauld and Farquharson Clan Chief. Although initially reluctant to join the Rising, John was present at the standard raising and proved to be a brave and able leader of men in the 1715 Jacobite army.

7          Old Brig O’ Dee (1753): Bridge constructed by the military shortly after the ending of the 1745 Jacobite Rising to carry the new Military Road over the River Dee and onwards to Inverness. The road and bridge were aimed to improve Government access to the Highlands and make it easier to subdue any future Jacobite Risings.

8          Carn-na-Cuimhne (or Cairnaquheen – the Cairn of Remembrance): Meeting point for Clan Farquharson and cairn of remembrance of those who died in battle. Before setting off in 1715 and 1745, clansmen gathered there, as was their custom before a fight. Each man left a stone which he removed on his return. The remaining stones were placed on the Cairn as a memorial to those who had died.

9          Balmoral Castle (1715 and 1745 Risings): The former castle was the home of James Farquharson of Balmoral, a staunch Jacobite who fought in both the 1715 and 1745 Risings. During the latter he gained the soubriquet ‘Balmoral the Brave’ for his leadership and bravery when severely wounded during the Battle of Falkirk Muir in January 1746.

10        Lochnagar Distillery: Lochnagar Distillery, dating back to 1823, was the earliest legal distillery in the area. It signifies the ‘cross-over’ between illicit whisky distilling of the Jacobite times and the legal distilling of the 19th century. In 1848, the distillery was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Twice before then the distillery had been burned down by vengeful whisky smugglers!

11        Crathie Old Kirk: The Farquharson Aisle (not open to public), attached to one end of the Parish Church at the time of the Jacobite Risings, is the burial place of many Farquharsons. Included among them is the Jacobite Colonel and leader of the Farquharson battalion in the 1745 Rising, Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie. Elsewhere in the graveyard can be found the grave of John Brown, Highlander Servant to Queen Victoria. He not only drank whisky with the widowed Queen but encouraged her to drink more, saying ‘Don’t stay thirsty’!

12        Abergeldie Castle (1689) (not open to public): Used as the Government garrison headquarters after the burning of Braemar Castle in the 1st Jacobite Rising of 1689. Besieged by the Jacobite’s under John Farquharson of Inverey, the Black Colonel, it was only relieved by the arrival of Hanoverian troops under General Mackay.

13        Pass of Ballater: Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, leader of the Jacobite Farquharson Battalion in the 1745 Rising and captured at Culloden, spent 20 years in captivity in England where he eventually married a rich wife. On being allowed to return to Deeside in 1766, he built Monaltrie House in the Pass of Ballater to replace his burned-out home. He also mined lead and silver and quarried stone in the Pass.

The Pass is also the site of a dramatic escapade by the Black Colonel after the 1689 Jacobite Rising. To escape the pursuing Hanoverian troops, who were hunting him for his involvement in the Rising and siege of Abergeldie Castle, he is reported to have galloped his horse up the steep side of the Pass – much to the disbelief of the Redcoats!

14        Tullich, or Milton of Tullich (c1748): In 1748, Tullich, the oldest inhabited centre on Upper Deeside, was part of Balmoral estate, the home of James Farquharson of Balmoral (iBalmoral the Brave). After the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746, James was in hiding some miles east of Tullich. A ‘friend’ betrayed his hiding place to the Braemar Garrison Captain in return for a reward. Appalled at the treachery of the ‘friend’, the Captain had no option but to set off to arrest James. He did not hurry, allowing his men to refresh themselves en route at the Tullich inn (no longer to be seen). There, in the hearing of the innkeeper’s wife he deliberately made their target known. She immediately sent a warning to James. As a result, and much to the satisfaction of the Captain, Balmoral had escaped before the arrival of the Garrison

Before the building of the Ballater Bridge, Tullich was the site of the ferry taking visitors across the River Dee to the new health spa of Pannanich Wells.

15        Ballater Bridge: The first granite bridge over the River Dee at Ballater, built in 1783, is linked to the Jacobite’s by the £300 (just less than 20%) contribution to its cost paid by the Commission for Annexed Jacobite estates. Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie had succeeded in persuading them to make a payment in recompense for their neglect of his confiscated estate during his long captivity after the battle of Culloden. The bridge, which was sadly swept away by the great flood of 1799, provided a catalyst to the building of the town of Ballater. Some evidence of its existence can still be seen slightly downstream of the current Ballater Bridge.

16        Pannanich Wells: The health spa developed by Frances Farquharson of Monaltrie in the 1760s on his return from 20 years captivity after Culloden. It was reported that immediately prior to the 1745 Rising, the spa waters had provided a cure for scrofula (the King’s Evil). There is a legend that the spa provided an excellent secret post-Culloden meeting place for Jacobite sympathisers!

17        Town of Ballater (late 18th century): Planning for the new town of Ballater to meet the growing demand for accommodation from the spa at Pannanich Wells was begun by Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie after his return to Deeside in 1766. Most of the building, however, was undertaken after Francis’s death.

Bottles of whisky, the much-loved spirit of the Jacobite’s, can be purchased in several outlets in Ballater and Braemar. The booklet ‘Jacobites and Upper Deeside’ and other guide booklets and leaflets of the area are available from Yule’s Bookshop or Deeside Books.


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