Glen Affric

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Glen Affric

Glen Affric (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Afraig) is a glen south-west of the village of Cannich in the Highland region of Scotland, some 15 miles (24 km) to the west of Loch Ness. The River Affric runs along its length, passing through Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin (Loch Benevean).


Glen Affric was part of the Clan Chisholm lands from the 15th to the mid 19th centuries. The lands included regions that would become the Glen Affric deer park and the Guisachan Estate - including the village of Tomich.[1][2] In 1579, Thomas Chisholm, Laird of Strathglass, was imprisoned for being a Catholic.[3] By 1854, Dudley Marjoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth, had acquired the lairdship of Glen Affric and Guisachan,[4][5][6] and had built an entire village in the region; Tomich. He also built himself a grand hunting lodge - part of The Glen Affric Estate - and put the golden retrievers that he had bred at nearby kennels to good use at his shooting parties.[7][8] The Duke and Duchess of York were reported (The Graphic, 25 September 1897) to have visited Guisachan Estate in Strathglass, including the Glen Affric Lodge and deer park; the Duchess, (later Queen Mary), driving around the estate with Lady Tweedmouth in 1897.[9]

Edward Marjoribanks, 2nd Baron Tweedmouth inherited the lairdship of Glen Affric and Guisachan but the Clan Marjoribanks' ownership ended with Edward’s son, Dudley Churchill Marjoribanks, who became 3rd Lord Tweedmouth in 1909. He and his wife had two daughters, but no male heir. For the next 27 years, the estate was owned by Lord Portsmouth’s family. The entire property, then consisting of 22,000 acres, had been sold by 1936 to a Mr. Hunter, who resold the Glen Affric deer forest to the west and a large area of grazing land to the Forestry Commission.[10][11]

A Lady Islington acquired the Guisachan Estate in 1939 but let the property go to ruin. In 1962 the estate (considerably reduced in size to 150 acres) was bought by a descendant of the Frasers of Gortuleg. The Guisachan Estate was sold again in 1966 and was then in the hands of Donald Fraser, who in 1990 wrote a booklet, "A History of Guisachan".[8][12][13]

The Scotland Forestry Commission had bought much of the glen in 1951, and today the remainder consists of a number of sporting estates, including the Glen Affric Estate with its 10,000 acres[13] and associated deer park.[2][10][14][15]

The Battle of Glen Affric took place in 1721.


The area is a Caledonian Forest Reserve, a National Scenic Area and a National Nature Reserve. Often described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland, it contains one of the largest ancient Caledonian pinewoods in Scotland as well as lochs, moorland and mountains.

Affric Lodge, the mansion built as a hunting lodge by Lord Tweedmouth, is located on a peninsula in Loch Affric, while a Scottish Youth Hostels Association hostel is further up the glen at remote Allt Beithe.

The Glen Affric Estate, including Affric Lodge, is situated on over 10,000 acres and has its own trout loch.[16][17][18]

The glen is part of the Affric/Beauly hydroelectric scheme, constructed by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Loch Mullardoch, in the neighbouring Glen Cannich, is dammed, and a 5km tunnel carries water to Loch Benevean, which has also been dammed. From there, another tunnel takes water to Fasnakyle power station, near Cannich.

The mountains of Glen Affric are a popular destination with hikers, climbers and mountain bikers.[19]


  1. ^ "The Clan Chisholm". 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2015. Glen Affric was part of the Clan Chisholm lands from the 15th to the mid 19th centuries 
  2. ^ a b Gibson, Rob (2014). Highland Cowboys: From the Hills of Scotland to the American Wild West. Luath Press Ltd. pp. Maps. ISBN 9781909912960. 
  3. ^ "Our Lady and St Bean's Church, Marydale - Strathglass ‘Pestered With Popery’ & Knockfin". Parish of St Mary, Beauly. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Preston, Richard. "Tree Climbing in Scotland: The Forest in the Sky". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 3 February 2016. Lord Tweedmouth, a wealthy laird, bred the first golden retrievers.. 
  5. ^ "Glen Affric Lodge., Tomich". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 3 February 2015. A & W Reid, Elgin 1871. 2-storey asymmetrical gabled shooting lodge with Scottish Baronial detailing...Named Glen Affaric Lodge in 1871. Built for Lord Tweedmouth (Laird) of (Glen Affric and) Guisachan. 
  6. ^ "The Clan Marjoribanks Society". Independant. Retrieved 26 January 2016. Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks bought Guisachan House, Tomich, Invernessshire in 1854... 
  7. ^ "Highlands’ own little piece of Eden". The Scotsman - 8 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2016. The building itself was originally constructed as a hunting lodge by Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, a Liberal MP, reputed to have bred the first golden retrievers there. It was bought by the Matthews family in 2008 
  8. ^ a b "Strathglass". 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Long, Phil; Palmer, Nicola J. (2008). Royal Tourism: Excursions Around Monarchy. Channel View Publications. p. 76. ISBN 9781845410803. 
  10. ^ a b Rutland, Tom; Rutland, Sarah. "Breed History - The Day We Met Dileas". Golden Retriever Club of America. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Pepper, Jeffrey G. (2012). Golden Retriever. i5 Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 9781621870340. 
  12. ^ "The Frasers of Guisachan". Bernard Poulin & Bernard Poulin. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Glen Affric, In a Nutshell". böetic. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  14. ^ "Forestry Commission Scotland". The lairds who controlled how land was managed in Affric have had a major influence on the look and life of the place..The Chisholm clan’s attempts to sell off the glen’s rich timber seem to have had little success...Later, shooting became a fashionable sport – and one for which fashionable people would pay good money. Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, was a rich Liberal MP who took a long leasehold on shooting rights over much of Glen Affric in 1846, paying £3,000 per year for the privilege: about £130,000 in today’s money...He (Lord Tweedmouth) liked the place so much he later bought the estate at Guisachan (Gaelic for ‘the place of the pines’), near Plodda Falls. He built a new mansion house there, as well as a hunting lodge in Glen Affric itself for the weekends...Lord Tweedmouth's love for the glen didn’t stop at building fancy houses for himself: he created a whole village at Tomich for the people living in cottages scattered across the (his) estate...the Forestry Commission bought (much of) the glen in 1951... 
  15. ^ Ryan, Jennifer. "Sport: Stalking His Claim". 1 August 2013 Curtco Robb Media 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016. David Matthews, an English entrepreneur who has been hunting wild red deer in the majestic northern hills of Glen Affric for ... 
  16. ^ "The Nitty Gritty". The Glen Affric Estate. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  17. ^ Turbett, Liam. "David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands". The UK Independant - Saturday 25 October 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2016. The Glen Affric estate itself was purchased in 2008 by the Matthews family, owners of the exclusive Eden Rock hotel in the Caribbean and the parents of Made in Chelsea professional posh boy Spencer Matthews. 
  18. ^ Robbins, Tom. "The Eden Rock, the luxury hotel on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, has launched an outpost in Scotland". 10 May 2013 - The Financial Times Ltd 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016. Glen Affric, a Victorian manor on the shores of Loch Affric... a private home of the Matthews family, the owners of Eden Rock,... 
  19. ^ Rob Humphreys; Donald Reid (12 July 2012). The Great Glen Rough Guides Snapshot Scotland (includes Fort William, Glen Coe, Culloden, Inverness and Loch Ness). Rough Guides. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-4093-6581-5. 

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Coordinates: 57°14′09″N 5°09′12″W / 57.23596°N 5.15327°W / 57.23596; -5.15327