Visit Forres and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Forres, Moray, is a small burgh of great antiquity standing to the right of the River Findhorn near where it enters Findhorn Bay, and justifiably prides itself on its sheltered situation and its reputation for healthy invigorating air. King Duncan held court at Forres, and it was on their way there that Macbeth and Banquo met on the “blasted heath” the “weird sisters” — three of the witches for whom Forres was notorious. This tradition has, of course, been used by Shakespeare in Macbeth. The place where this meeting is believed to have occurred is near the boundary with Nairn and is called Hardmain or “Macbeth's Hill”. It is now no longer “blasted” but cultivated and wooded. The importance of Forres declined after the foundation of the Bishopric at the Diocese of Elgin. Various writers have claimed that Forres was a Roman station and was the mysterious Vans mentioned by Ptolemy.
On an elevated platform at the West end of the High Street once stood the long-vanished castle. its site is marked by a tall granite obelisk erected in 1857 in memory of Dr Thomson, who died in the Crimean War through his heroic efforts to help the wounded. Though well known in Forres, he was not a native. He came from Cromarty, but the council there refused his monument. Forres was more perceptive and generous. It is worth pointing out to the visitor that the remnants on this hill are not of the ancient royal castle, but of a house started in the early 18th century. Forres House, at the East end of the public park, houses a library. To the South East of the town is Cluny Hill, the highest summit, crowned by an octagonal 70-ft tower erected in 1806 as a monument to Lord Nelson. There is a magnificent view from the top, which is reached by a spiral stair. The Cluny Hills Hydropathic Establishment on the South side was one of the oldest in Scotland.
At the East end of the town is the famous Sueno's Stone, 23 ft high and an Ancient Monument, one of the most remarkable early sculptured works in Scotland. Made from sandstone, it has a tall cross on one side, accompanied by elaborate figure sculptures at the base; on the other side are carved groups of figures of warriors. Possibly it commemorates a victory of Sweyn, son of Harald, over Malcolm II in 1008. In 1813 eight human skeletons were found near the pillar. Nearby to the East is the granite Witches' Stone, the remaining one of three stones traditionally marking the place where three witches, accused of plotting the death of King Duffus, were put to death. The story is that the witches were found melting a wax image of the King. They were each placed in a barrel on top of Cluny Hill and set rolling. Where they stopped the barrels with the witches inside were burnt, and the stones set up. The one that remains was at one time broken up for building, but was replaced and held together with iron bands.
The scenery on the River Findhorn to the South of Forres is of exceptional beauty. The Grantown road is followed to Sluie. From here walkers can go along the river gorge, eventually passing Logic House. The road is rejoined near Relugas House. Shortly farther on, a path leads to the famous Randolph's Leap, with striking views on all sides. The road continues back on the West side of the River Findhorn through the Darnaway Forest, which surrounds Darnaway Castle, an imposing castellated structure built in 1810, with the 15th-century Earl Randolph's Hall incorporated at the rear. This is a banqueting-hall, 90 by 35 ft and with an arched oaken roof. Queen Mary held court here in 1564. It was often visited by James IV, who gave it to his mistress, Lady Janet Kennedy. It is the seat of the earls of Moray. The hall has a gruesome portrait of the “Bonny Earl” gashed with wounds. From the main road nearby is an extensive view northwards across the Moray Firth to Morven and Caithness.
Nearby towns: Burghead, Elgin, Grantown-on-Spey, Lossiemouth, Nairn
Nearby villages: Alves, Cummingston, Dallas, Duffus, Dyke, Findhorn, Hopeman, Kinloss, Rafford
Have you decided to visit Forres or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Forres bed and breakfast (a Forres B&B or Forres b and b)
- a Forres guesthouse
- a Forres hotel (or motel)
- a Forres self-catering establishment, or
- other Forres accommodation