It might be easy to miss Forres as the main Inverness to Aberdeen road bypasses it, but it is one of Moray’s most attractive towns with an old fashioned charm. A lot of time and effort goes into keeping the town gardens and Forres is a frequent winner of competitions such as Britain in Bloom. The High Street, centred on the Old Tolbooth and Market Cross has a good mix of smaller independent shops all set in a town that has retained much of its historical character.
Things to do in Forres
The Falconer Museum is an example of how a small museum can really make the most of its position and new technology to provide an enjoyable, thought-provoking experience. There are well thought out displays with a local emphasis including crime and punishment, sport and transport. Free Admission.
Friend of Charles Darwin
The Falconer Room within the museum is an exploration of the achievements of Hugh Falconer, palaeontologist and botanist and friend of Charles Darwin. Darwin and Falconer exchanged letters as Darwin worked on The Origin of The Species.
Benromach Distillery is an independently owned whisky distillery where the emphasis is on tradition and heritage. No computers are used in the production. The distillery was brought back into production by the family owned, Gordon & MacPhail. It is situated near Forres Railway Station. Look out for the brown signs or the distinctive red chimney
Sueno’s Stone Forres
The ancient Sueno Stone is situated at the East end of Forres, signposted off Victoria Road. It is an impressive structure towering 20 feet in the air, which is now cocooned in a modern glass box to protect it from the elements. It is believed to be over 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. On one side is a traditional Celtic cross and the other depicts four scenes from an unknown battle although the information boards offer some theories. Admission free.
The Thomson Memorial
The Thomson Memorial stands as a reminder of the heroism of Dr James Thomson. The memorial itself is rather austere but the plaque on the other side gives an insight into the courage of a medical officer who saved many lives including those of the enemy in the Crimean War.
After Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the British to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Although he did not survive he became a national hero. The people of Forres erected this 21 metre high monument on Cluny Hill. It is worth taking a stroll up the hill and climbing the stairs inside the monument as it offers spectacular views out over Forres and the Moray Firth.
There are many stories in Moray Folklore about witches. In Forres, witches were placed inside a barrel and then spikes were driven thought the barrel and rolled down Cluny Hill. The brutality did not end there as the barrel was burnt when it came to rest. The witches stone near the police station marks one of these events.
The Dava Way from Forres
Although the Dava Way does not have the profile of the Spey Way – it should have. It follows the route of the old railway between Forres and Grantown on Spey (36km) so is relatively flat, ideal for walking and cycling.
Dallas Dhu lies a few miles out of Forres. It’s possible to walk along the Dava Way to the distillery. Dallas Dhu is no longer in production, it’s now a museum. You can take a self guided tour here and then enjoy a dram in the visitor centre. Dallas Dhu is a mothballed distillery but there is local support to try and bring it back into production.