History of Strathpeffer
"Strath" means a valley and the village (pop. 1,469 at the 2001 census) is in the valley of the river Peffery. The valley once contained only a scatter of farms and the village of Strathpeffer sprang to life in Victorian times after a Dr. Morrison from Aberdeenshire identified and publicised the curative powers of the local spring waters. With the strong support of the then Countess of Cromartie, Strathpeffer rapidly became a fashionable spa resort - the most northerly spa in Europe. Because of its spa history, it still offers a wide choice of visitor accommodation, which makes it an ideal base for touring the beautiful Highlands of Scotland - also a great place to hold a conference, wedding or other large gathering.
If you don't know where Strathpeffer is or how to get here, click here for a map and transport information.
There is now a Strathpeffer Village website, which is well worth a visit.
A village newsletter, the Strathpeffer & District Times was launched and ably edited for several years by Liz Cowie, until she succumbed to pressure of other demands on her time. It's excellent news for the village that the Strath Times has been relaunched. Click here to send them local stories or to advertise in the newsletter.
And here's a link to a nice article about Strathpeffer by a recent visitor.
The Pump Room
The main Pump House and Baths were demolished in the 1950s. However, one of the surviving spa buildings, the Upper Pump Room next to the Pavilion, was restored the year before the Pavilion and contains a fascinating exhibition, with costumed models, of Strathpeffer's spa history. The Pump Room belongs to The Highland Council, who have been trying to find someone to run it this year. We're glad to report that Maureen and Shirley of the Real Sweets Company have taken this on and have now re-opened the Pump Room.
Spring 2013 opening hours are scheduled to be Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, starting from Wednesday 24 April - must go and get some rhubarb rock!
Highland Museum of Childhood
The delightful Highland Museum of Childhood at the Old Railway Station, Strathpeffer, is open from April to October and can be opened for groups at other times by arrangement.
Tel: 01997 421031
At the Old Station, you will also find the Museum Coffee Shop, the Green Kite Fair Trade shop and a bookseller specialising in books about transport.
Strathpeffer & District Pipe Band
The excellent Pipe Band, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010, plays in Strathpeffer Square on summer Saturdays from mid-May to mid-September - for the enjoyment of both local residents and visitors.
The hour-long performance begins at 8.30 pm and (weather permitting) includes a display of Highland dancing. Thanks to photographer John Smith for this photograph of the band in front of the Pavilion. You can use this email link to request more information about the band. The band hold occasional fund-raising events to help them pay for uniforms, instruments etc.
The home of the Earl of Cromartie, Caberfeidh Chief of Clan Mackenzie, Castle Leod is open to the public several times a year. Open days in 2013 are:
Wednesday 12th June to Sunday 16th
Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th July
Sunday 14th July
Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th July
Sunday 21st July
Wednesday 31st July
Wednesday 7th August
Sunday 11th August
Wednesday 14th to Sunday 18th August
Wednesday 21st to Sunday 25th August
Wednesday 28th August
Opening times 2 pm to 6 pm (last entry at 4.45 pm). Admission prices last year (we have not been advised if these have changed) were: Adults £7, Concession £6, Children £4.
Private tours of Castle Leod may be offered at other times by special arrangement. Please telephone the Estate Office on 01997 421264, or write to Castle Leod, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire IV14 9AA, or click here to email
You can also now hold your wedding ceremony at Castle Leod (maximum 60 people) - if you wish to add more guests for your wedding reception and/or dance, you can do so at the Pavilion. For more information please ring Andrew on 01997 420124.
The annual Strathpeffer Highland Gathering - one of the oldest such events in Scotland - is held in the grounds of Castle Leod in August. Known locally as the "Strath Games", it is always held on a Saturday but the date varies, so make sure to check it! This year it will be on Saturday 10th August 2013.
Strathpeffer Community Centre
Strathpeffer Community Centre adjoins Strathpeffer Primary School, just up the hill from the Pavilion to the west. The community centre is open from 9 am to 9 pm weekdays and until 5 pm on Saturdays, providing space for local community groups and activities. It is also a branded Learnng Centre and so can cater for any learning needs. It contains a fitness room and gym hall, which are open to all. For further information on the centre, ring 01997 421989 or click here to email
The Community Centre hosts a Village Market (approximately fortnightly, usually on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month - see their website for exact dates) from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm, with stalls including high quality local fruit and vegetables, eggs, cheese, bread, preserves and crafts. Tea and coffee are also available.
Strathpeffer Community Council meets in the Community Centre, normally on the first Monday of the month. Further information, including minutes of meetings, can be found on their website.
Strathpeffer Spa Golf Club
The historic Strathpeffer Golf Club is worth a visit for its glorious views, even if you don't play golf! It also boasts the longest drop from tee to green of any course in Scotland. Telephone 01997 421219 or click here to email
There are many lovely walks around Strathpeffer but, if you prefer to take your exercise on two wheels, you can hire a bicycle from Square Wheels, the cycle shop in the Square (hence the name). Square Wheels also sells and repairs bikes, as well as organising the renowned annual Strathpuffer race - reputedly the hardest 24-hour race in the world! Telephone 01997 421000 or click here to email - by the way, the photograph was taken on Strathpeffer's famous Victorian Market Day, the village does not usually look quite like this!
- Fodderty and Strathpeffer Parish Church - Church of Scotland
- St. Anne's - Scottish Episcopalian Church
- Free Church - Dingwall and Strathpeffer Free Church of Scotland
One of Highland Libraries' mobile units visits Strathpeffer every third Wednesday. You would be surprised at the range of books it carries, both fiction and non-fiction. The stock is constantly changing; you can borrow as many books as you like; and the librarian is happy to order books for you. The Mobile Library arrives at Jamestown at 12.15, then stops at Ord Terrace and Park Road West and finally in Strathpeffer Square from 2.30 pm to 3.45 pm.
The library will be in Strathpeffer on
- 24 April
- 15 May
- 5 June, etc.
Strathpeffer Spa Soap Company
This local company, which makes a variety of very special soaps and bath products, has its own website and on-line shop.