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Discover Your Backyard – Taighsona Bothy, Speyside

Updated: Jun 13

Author: Barry Pickard

*Disclosure: I was a guest for two nights at Taighsona Bothy. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

In February, I had a last-minute opportunity to stay at Taighsona Bothy for two nights and enjoy the delights of Speyside, in the Moray region. It is an area of Scotland that I am very familiar with, but this was the first time that I had the chance to stay overnight and fully experience Speyside as a ‘tourist’. The bothy is situated in the small village of Archiestown, near the little towns of Craigellachie and Aberlour, and this gave me access to the Whisky centre of the world, set in some of the most beautiful scenery that Caledonia has to offer, either side of the majestic River Spey.


Taighsona Bothy is set back from the B9102 road, up a track, just before entering Archiestown from the east. My first sight of the property was very promising, with it being a new-build, looking fresh, modern and welcoming, having only been open to accepting visitors at the end of September, 2021. By now, the snow had started to fall, which gave the arrival a hint of enchantment. There was ample space in front of the building for two cars and access was gained to my abode for the weekend via a key held in a combination lock box (Andy, the property owner, had emailed me the code prior to arrival).

Taighsona Bothy, Archiestown
Taighsona Bothy, Archiestown

On entry, Taighsona Bothy did not disappoint, with an impressive modern, contemporary open plan sitting room, dining area and kitchen welcoming me, all framed with calming mood lighting. Eager to check out the rest of the house, I climbed the stairs straight away, up to the warm, nicely appointed bedroom with en-suite, but it was the view that really caught my attention – the imposing Ben Rinnes, which looms above the Spey valley. The bedroom has a lovely Juliet balcony, which frames the beautiful views perfectly.

View of Ben Rinnes from Taighsona Bothy
View of Ben Rinnes from Taighsona Bothy

Home From Home

It only took a couple of minutes of exploring Taighsona Bothy to know that this was going to be my ‘home from home’. The accommodation is very comfortable and cosy, and had many lovely little Scottish touches in the décor, with everything looking pristine. Taighsona Bothy was also set to become my office for the weekend too, with a handy study desk set up in the bedroom and a good, strong Wi-Fi signal (although I kept the work to a minimum, I was on holiday after all!).

Taighsona Bothy, Archiestown, Speyside

The Happy House

Now, you may be asking how you pronounce Taighsona and what it means. It is a Gaelic word, and if you say ‘tie-sona’, you are not going to go far wrong when expressing its name. It translates as ‘happy house’ and I honestly can’t think of a more appropriate name for this excellent self-catering property.

In case you are also unfamiliar with the Scottish word ‘bothy’, this is a type of small, cottage style sanctuary for hill walkers that can be usually found in the mountains. Again, bothy is a perfect description, as this one-bedroom property is compact and snug, and Taighsona was going to be my ideal refuge in the idyllic, rural Speyside.

A Scottish Welcome

After unpacking, my first task was to read the welcome pack, which adequately covered the details of the facilities available. In particular, there is a heating controller for the whole house, and after a couple of minutes of study, I had it mastered. The welcome was even more hospitable, as there was a basket of Scottish goodies, including Mackies’ chocolate and crisps, Tunnocks wafers, and William Bros’ beer. As if that wasn’t enough, there was also Irn Bru in the fridge and Tamnavulin whisky on the window sill. It was at this point that I wondered whether I would actually venture out and explore the area, or whether I would just cocoon myself in the bothy with all these treats!

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Who Does the Accommodation Cater For?

Taighsona Bothy has one bedroom, with a king size bed (a cot is available on request), so it is perfect for couples. Dogs are also very welcome (90% of their guests have brought dogs). The location of the property is ideal for walkers and hikers, as well as whisky lovers (see below for more details). Please note, however, that the house is on two floors, connected by a set of stairs, so it is not wheelchair accessible.

How to Book

How to Get There

Taighsona Bothy is around an hour’s drive from Aberdeen International Airport and Inverness Airport, being more or less equidistant from the two cities. In practical terms, this self-catering property is really only accessible if you are driving a car. There are railway stations in the towns of Elgin and Keith, with a public bus service from Elgin and Dufftown to nearby Craigellachie, but to fully experience the area, you would require the use of a car.

  • Address: Taighsona Bothy, Archiestown, Moray, AB38 7RB

  • What3words: evenly.shadowing.overtone

The Local Attractions

Taighsona Bothy is perfectly placed to allow you to experience Speyside’s whisky production, walks & hikes, and impressive scenery.

Among the local whisky distilleries that have visitor centres and offer tours are Macallan, Aberlour, Cardhu, Glen Grant, Cragganmore, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, GlenAllachie, Glenfarclas, and Ballindaloch – all of which are within a 30-minute drive from Taighsona Bothy. There are also a host of well-stocked, mouth-watering whisky bars such as at The Still (at Dowans Hotel), Highlander Inn, The Quaich Bar (at The Craigellachie), The Macallan Distillery Bar and The Spirit Safe (at the Station Hotel in Rothes). Then there is also the Speyside Cooperage, where you get the chance to view the whisky barrels being reconditioned.

One of Scotland’s most popular walks, The Speyside Way, follows the route of the river Spey which snakes past Archiestown, allowing visitors to Taighsona Bothy access to one or more sections of this 80-mile waymarked path. There is also the lesser known Dava Way which follows the old Highland Railway Line, stretching 24 miles from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres. And for hill walkers, there is the opportunity to tackle Ben Rinnes, which rises 841m above the Spey Valley.

Blacksboat Railway Station along the Speyside Way
Ben Rinnes

For those looking for a more sedate trip, there is the chance to visit the fairy-tale Ballindalloch Castle, interesting Knockando Woolmill, or ancient Pictish stones at Inveravon Church. If pottering around quaint shops is your thing then the nearby Aberlour is just the ticket, with Grantown-on-Spey being a little further out, as is the relative metropolis of Elgin.

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The Local Food & Drink

The area around Archiestown is well served with excellent restaurants, catering to a wide variety of tastes and pockets. I sampled a number of restaurants during my stay at Taighsona Bothy and also during previous trips to the area. I would highly recommend the following:

Taighsona Bothy has all the appliances and utensils that you would look for in a self-catering property, so you always have the option to stay in and cook for yourself. If you are looking for some special ingredients, make the two-minute drive to the Elchies Estates Farm Shop. This one was a total surprise to me – a 24-hour farm shop – with vending machines offering locally produced meat, eggs, bread etc! If you venture further out to Aberlour, I would also recommend the Spey Larder, which has a cornucopia of quality products.


I had an excellent stay at Taighsona Bothy and found it to be cosy and welcoming, with all the facilities you require from a self-catering property. It is also in a perfect location to explore the delights of Speyside.

Comment below and tell us about your trip to Speyside.

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Speyside appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the sights of Speyside, or indeed, a general tour of Scotland.

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Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travellers.

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