Speyside (Avon/Livet & Fiddich/Dullan) Distilleries
I have grouped these four rivers together because of their importance in terms of distilling on Speyside. The Avon (pronounced "A'an") only has one distillery on it (Tomintoul), but perhaps the most famous of all Scottish whisky rivers the Livet flows into it. Similarly the Dullan is a tributary of the Fiddich (the "ch" is pronounced as in "loch").
The Avon rises on the slopes of Ben MacDui (the second highest mountain in Scotland) and flows through Loch Avon, down Glen Avon then towards the village of Tomintoul and Strath Avon, before joining the Spey at Ballindalloch. It's final major tributary is the Livet, which flows just 11 miles from the hills above Braeval Distillery, past Tamnavulin and The Glenlivet, to its confluence with the Avon at Drumin.
Despite the shortness of the river, Glen Livet has been called the longest glen in Scotland, on account of the early prestige of The Glenlivet distillery, many distilleries added the suffix Glenlivet to their names, no matter where in Speyside (or even further afield in the case of Glenforres-Glenlivet - a former name of Edradour) they were located! Although this practice is no longer permitted, some distilleries (eg Aberlour) still bear the name in stone at their entrance (see picture on Spey page).
The Fiddich river which lends its name to Speyside's other contender for best known distillery rises on the slopes of Corriehabbie Hill in Glenfiddich Forest, flows under the A941 at Bridgehaugh, past Auchindoun Castle to Milltown of Auchindoun, where it turns sharply to the east to run alongside the A920 into Dufftown, where it is joined by the Dullan Water. It then flows past Glendullan, Parkmore, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie & Convalmore distilleries before emptying into the River Spey at Craigellachie.
The Dullan's headwaters are from the other side of the Corriehabbie Hill and Ben Rinnes (at 841m, Speyside's highest peak), these waters come together at Milltown of Laggan, near to Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery. It then flows down Glen Rinnes past Dufftown Distillery, (the site of) Pittyvaich Distillery and Mortlach Distillery before its confluence with the Fiddich.
The centre of Whisky activity on Speyside is Dufftown - 6 active distilleries, a whisky shop, a whisky museum, and the heart of the Spring and Autumn Speyside Festivals - it calls itself the Malt Whisky Capital.
Page updated 17/02/13
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