A beautifully positioned residential and sporting estate on the River Spey

Remote but not isolated, Cairnty is a residential and sporting estate with a spectacular setting in the lower Spey valley, extending to about 586 acres in total. Combining a 21st Century home built to a classical Georgian design, with a range of outbuildings, a 3-bedroom cottage, three further uninhabited dwellings, a pheasant shoot, a let farm and c.265 acres of woodland and forestry, the component assets of the estate are described in more detail as follows:

Cairnty House Commissioned by the owners and built to their own design and specification, Cairnty House combines both family home and sporting lodge for entertaining house parties of shooting and fishing guests with accommodation, services, fittings and finishes of an exceptional standard.

Built on an elevated site facing west and overlooking the lower River Spey, the symmetry and proportion of the house is reflective of the mid Georgian period.

The main entrance is on the eastern façade which overlooks the extensive gravel sweep. With 9 bays including an extending central bay with Venetian window above the front door, features of the architecture include ashlar quoins, a string course and pitched dormer windows in the hipped Mansard roof.

The eastern façade is comprised of 12 bays with projected tripartite bays on either side of the central bay which has double doors on the ground floor leading on to the paved terrace. On the ground floor adjoining the 3 bays at the southern end is an extension of the drawing room which creates a balcony with balustrade on the first floor.

Designed by the owners with input from local architect, Kenneth Lawson, construction work began in 2010 with a locally-based firm instructed as principal building contractors. Construction was completed in 2012 with the owners moving in to the house in 2013.

Built of block construction with a harled exterior and decorative quoins, the house sits beneath a pitched Welsh slate roof with traditional cast-iron rainwater goods. Described by the owners ‘the house built without compromise that keeps on giving’ Cairnty was designed with family living in mind (the current owners have 3 children) whilst also accommodating in comfort, house parties of guests for salmon fishing weeks on the nearby River Spey; for winter shooting parties and for extended family gatherings at Christmas, Easter and other festive occasions.

By way of examples of this, the accommodation includes a reception hall with galleried landing above which can serve as a dining room for larger parties of guests. The kitchen and breakfast room includes a large central island unit and recessed breakfast area. Both stylish and practical, it is the heartbeat of the house. The drawing room is light and spacious with access directly to the terrace, the dining room is sizeable (but not too large) with direct access to the adjoining kitchen and double height ceiling with 6 windows allowing the maximum of the evening sunlight to penetrate the room.

Complementing the exceptional reception space is well designed functional and utilitarian space. On the basement floor, there is a large utility room together with secure gun room and additional stores including plant and equipment storage.

In contrast with many original Georgian houses in Scotland, Cairnty House includes several bedroom suites. On the first floor, the master bedroom suite is exceptionally spacious and includes both a dressing room and en-suite bathroom with shower. There are four further bedrooms on the first floor – three of which have en-suite bathrooms and the fourth has its own separate shower room.

On the second floor – currently the children’s floor – there are three further bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room. In addition, there is extensive attic storage space which is currently occupied as a children’s sitting room and play room but has flexibility for a range of other uses.

Features of the interior include Brazilian slate flags throughout the ground floor, a bespoke kitchen by Riverside Kitchens of Elgin, electric Aga, halogen down-lighters and uplighters and timber-framed sash and case windows.

In terms of services, a ground source heat pump provides heating and hot water. The system consists of a ground heat exchange loop which draws heat from the earth, a heat exchanger then extracts the heat and transfers it to a heat pump which distributes the heat through the central heating system. This also serves an under floor heating system throughout the house. There is private drainage via a maceration unit and reed bed.

There is internet connection with a current bandwidth of 40mb. The house is fully wired (category 6) to provide telephone and internet connections in each room.

The floorplans showing the layout and dimensions of the accommodation are included within this brochure.

This property has 563 acres of land.


Gardens, Grounds and Outbuildings Cairnty House sits at the heart of several acres of gardens and grounds which are largely informal in terms of composition.

On the south and west sides of the house are the paved terrace with rockery and barbecue/outdoor dining area which is accessible from the kitchen, dining room and drawing room of Cairnty House. Beyond this is an area of open parkland which slopes away towards an ornamental pond at the northwest corner.

On the east side of the house, a stand of mature deciduous woodland provides both screening from the public road and shelter from the elements.

The vendors’ original plan was to embellish the gardens and grounds to include a flower garden, orchard and the planting of further ornamental trees and shrubs. These opportunities and others remain open to the purchaser of the estate with the potential for further enhancement of the setting of the house being amongst the key attractions of the estate.

There is a lavender bed along the principal facade and surrounding the house is a paved terrace with a low wall which features in parts a flower border.

Located a short distance to the east of the house is a kennel and rod room. The kennel features an enclosed outdoor area with a concrete base and an indoor area with space for several dogs. The rod room features rod racks along one wall and provides storage for fishing equipment and outdoor gear.

In addition, there is a garage off the drive on approach to the house.

Houses and Cottages The estate features the following additional houses and cottages: Woodhead Farmhouse Situated close to Cairnty House at the southern end of the estate, this is a traditional stone built two-storey whitewashed cottage with a single storey extension under a pitched slate roof. The internal accommodation includes 2 reception rooms and 3 bedrooms.The house is currently vacant and in need of refurbishment. It has mains electricity, oil-fired central heating and a private water supply.

The house sits within a spacious enclosed garden laid down mainly to lawn with parking area to the side and rear.

Turnhead Cottage A single-storey stone cottage situated at the northern end of the estate beside the minor public road. With an exceptional outlook and views to the sea, the accommodation includes 2 bedrooms. The house is in uninhabitable condition and in need of extensive renovation and/or replacement, subject to planning.

Newtack Farmhouse and Steading Situated on the west side of the minor public road overlooking the Spey valley, this is a derelict former dwelling and steading with services available nearby this site provides an opportunity for redevelopment/replacement, subject to planning.

Estate Buildings A range of useful buildings consisting of a mixture of traditional stone buildings and more modern portal framed sheds is located close to Woodhead Farmhouse. These buildings form the functional hub of the estate and provide vehicle, machinery and feed storage. With an extensive footprint, these buildings have potential for conversion as stables, additional garaging or further residential accommodation, subject to planning.

Land and Woods Lying the east side of the lower River Spey, the land at Cairnty faces west and slopes – both gently and steeply in places – from the minor public road along the eastern boundary to the River Spey which forms the western boundary. The highest point on the estate is at 141m (470 feet) and the lowest point – the right bank of the Spey at the northern end of the estate – is at 30m (100 feet) above sea level.

With a combination of mineral podzols and alluvial soils of the Boyndie and Alluvial Loamy Wet series, the land is classified as grade 4ii quality by the James Hutton Institute for soil research.

Land use comprises livestock farming with game shooting and a combination of amenity and commercial forestry/woodland. At the southern end of the estate, the variety and layout of the woods is a notable feature with landscape enhancement and game coverts very much to the fore in the thinking of the vendor’s forbears when they were established. There are several knocks and hillocks which have been planted judiciously to lend particular charm to the composition and setting of the estate.

Towards the northern end of the estate are several compartments of more commercial coniferous species which provide the opportunity for felling income in the short to medium term.

Farming The topography, land grade and drainage at Cairnty is best suited to grass production and mixed livestock farming. At present, the farming at Cairnty is conducted by the owner of the adjoining estate to the south under a Liferent lease granted in his favour in October 2005 in return for an annual rent.

With excellent infrastructure in terms of fences, field gates and handling facilities together with a good network of access tracks, the farm provides summer grazing for pedigree and commercial cattle, winter grazing for sheep and grass leys for silage production.

With the exception of a small building used as a livestock isolation unit beside Turnhead Cottage, there are no buildings or other fixed equipment. Excluded from the lease are the parkland and some small fields surrounding Cairnty House and buildings and two areas of permanent game crop.

The lease falls outwith the provisions of both the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Acts 1991 and 2003. Further information about the provisions of the lease is available from the selling agents.

Sporting and Amenity The topography and mixture of woodland at Cairnty has meant that the current owners have been able to run a driven pheasant shoot. The combination of mature woodland and strategic siting of game crops enables Cairnty to produce very exciting driven birds which has given the current owners and their guests huge enjoyment over the years.

The owners have operated their own rearing operation which has enabled them to enjoy up to 10 shoot days a season with daily bags of up to 150 head. The backdrop of the River Spey and the combination of mature oak woods and young plantations makes for classic game shooting terrain and some of the drives at Cairnty have developed a reputation for the quality of their birds which rivals some of the more renowned pheasant shoots in Moray.

In addition to driven shooting, the roe deer stalking at Cairnty is particularly exciting with an average annual cull of 15 bucks. In recent years a number of medal head bucks have been shot on the estate.

The River Spey is a world renowned river and provides the owners of Cairnty with some exceptional brown trout fishing. The salmon fishing rights are not owned by the vendor and therefore not included in the sale.

Planning and Development There are no existing consents nor applications pending for planning permission in relation to any part of the estate. The redundant dwellings and buildings on the estate are considered to have potential for development or replacement. No consultation with the Moray Council planning department has taken place and interested parties are recommended to conduct their own due diligence in this regard.

All planning consents and associated building warrants and completion certificates are held on a file which will be available for review by the purchaser and their solicitor following provisional acceptance of a formal offer.


Lying at the heart of Whisky country, Cairnty Estate occupies the east bank of the lower River Spey valley between the villages of Fochabers and Rothes. The core of the estate is a magnificent contemporary family-sized home built in the Georgian style on a site carefully chosen to ensure maximum benefit of the outstanding views to the north and west. Stretching to the Moray coast, 7 miles to the north, it is possible on a clear day to see the coast of Sutherland on the northwest side of the Moray Firth.

Access to the estate is via a minor public road which leads for about 1 mile from the B9103 Orton to Mulben road. In addition to providing easy access to both Fochabers and Rothes, this road also forms most of the western boundary of the estate with each of the houses and cottages on the estate being accessible directly from it.

The villages of Rothes (3 miles) and Fochabers (5 miles) provide a range of basic local services and facilities. Lying to the northwest, the Royal Burgh and Cathedral town of Elgin (12 miles) is the largest town in Moray serving a wide geographic area on the northeast Highland fringe. In addition to supermarkets, a retail park and a variety of High Street retailers, Elgin has an NHS hospital (Dr Gray’s Hospital) with A&E and a range of other in-patient services. The town also features a leisure centre with swimming pool, a mainline railway station with frequent services to Inverness and Aberdeen and both primary and secondary schools.

For international travel, Cairnty Estate is 38 and 56 miles respectively from Inverness and Aberdeen airports with the journey time by car to each being approximately one hour and fifteen minutes under normal traffic conditions. Both Inverness and Aberdeen have a mainline railway station with intercity services to, Edinburgh and Glasgow and a sleeper service to London.

In terms of independent schooling, Gordonstoun which includes Aberlour House as a junior school, is a 25-minute drive from Cairnty and takes both day pupils and boarders, from 8 to 18.

For those with an enthusiasm for the traditional field sports of fishing, stalking and shooting, Cairnty is ideally located. The River Spey has worldwide and historic renown as one of Scotland’s ‘Big Four’ salmon rivers with many a discerning angler regarding the Spey as their favourite. Whilst Cairnty Estate does not include the salmon fishing rights on the circa 2.5 miles of right bank ownership which forms its western boundary, there is salmon fishing available to let – on both weekly and daily basis – from most of the local Spey beats which include famous names such as Arndilly, Rothes and Aikenway, Knockando, Carron and Laggan, Delfur, Orton and the Brae Water. Indeed, the latter two beats directly adjoin Cairnty on the opposite bank of the river.

For shooting enthusiasts, the northeast Highland fringe and the northern cairngorms provide a number of options with walked-up and driven grouse, partridge and pheasant shooting on a host of renowned estates being within a short drive.

Some of these estates and many others besides offer red deer stalking whilst the significant extent of woodland and forestry in the vicinity offers exceptional roe deer stalking – both on Cairnty itself and elsewhere locally – with medal quality bucks being commonplace.

For walkers, mountaineers, cyclists, canoers, equestrianists, golfers, kite surfers and history lovers, the Moray countryside provides for them all. From the high tops of the northern Cairngorms to the beaches of the Moray Firth, there are almost endless opportunities for activities for those of all ages and levels of physical fitness.

For many, Speyside is synonymous with Whisky – and Malt Whisky in particular and Cairnty lies right at the heart of Malt Whisky Country. The area is home to historic and famous distilleries, coopers, bottlers and retailers contributing to an industry which is said to be worth about £5.5billion to the Scottish economy according to an April 2019 report by the Scotch Whisky Association. The Malt Whisky Trail – a collaboration of distilleries offering enthusiasts the opportunity to visit nine Speyside distilleries in order to meet the people who play the key roles in this multinational industry – is popular with guests of the current owners of Cairnty and adds significantly to the variety of activities available within striking range of the estate.


Please note that the road leading from the south to Cairnty is currently closed due to engineering works on a bridge.

Cairnty can be accessed from the north on the unnamed road leading south from Fochabers via Ordiequish. follow this road 3.5 miles and Cairnty house is on the right.

Alternatively take the B9103 from the village of Mulben for approximately 1 mile before turning right onto an unnamed road, follow this road for 2 miles before turning left at the T-junction. Cairnty House is on your right after 400 yards.

The postcode for Cairnty House is IV32 7QQ.

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Ref: SFA190011

Orton Fochabers Moray IV32

Offers Over

Ref: SFA190011

Orton Fochabers Moray IV32

Offers Over