About the area

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About the area

Stretching from the dramatic glens of the Cairngorms National Park in the South to the sandy beaches of the Moray Firth in the North, scattered here and there with picturesque towns and villages, and blessed with a pleasingly temperate climate, Moray is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Ours is a rural county with a population of just under 100,000. Elgin, the capital city, enjoys all the facilities expected of a regional headquarters. But it is the small towns and villages of Moray that hold something truly special.

Take a stroll around Dufftown, Aberlour, Tomintoul and you will be struck by the generously wide streets, attractive stone buildings and decorative parks and gardens, all arranged upon a rectangular grid system. Compare with Cullen, Grantown, Archiestown and Lossiemouth and you will find the same pleasing uniformity. This is because they were ‘planned towns’, built in the 19th Century by local lairds to attract much needed skilled labour to their estates. Today many of these settlements retain their essential character and charm, though the cottars, fishcurers and houghmen have given way to pleasant cafes, delicatessens and craft shops.

Two great rivers cut a swathe through Moray’s undulating landscape: the River Spey, broad and rapid, the second longest river in Scotland, but indisputably the fastest, and its less expansive neighbour, the River Findhorn, renowned for its gorge scenery and the picture-postcard setting of its mouth at Findhorn Bay. Travel west from here to Culbin Sands or east to Cullen bay and in between you will find miles and miles of unspoilt coastline dotted with peaceful little beaches. No wonder the National Geographic lists the Moray Firth amongst the top ten coastal destinations in the world.

Moray enjoys a vibrant and thriving arts and cultural sector. Venues such as the Universal Hall in Findhorn and The Loft near Kinloss regularly play host to musicians, artists and performers of international acclaim. We have many beautiful art galleries, including Duff House near Banff, the premier outstation of the National Galleries of Scotland. Our festivals are a major attraction, bringing together artists from Moray, Scotland and beyond. Moray also specialises in an annual event of a more traditional kind: the Highland Games. Every town in Moray has its very own Games, all different, but expect to see hammer throwing, tossing the caber, the shot, tug-o-war, highland dancing, solo piping, drum and pipe bands and lots more.

Whatever your reason for visiting Moray, the Millar family and our dedicated team of staff will be on hand to make sure your stay at Orton Holiday Cottages provides you with the perfect Scottish Highlands holiday experience.