Mark Your Calendar: Eight unmissable events that define the charm of Moray Speyside

Moray Speyside is an area known for its heritage and uniqueness. The regions stands out as  the world’s number one whisky destination, and has world-famous brands, such as Walker’s Shortbread and Baxters Soup, proud to call it their home. With this, Moray Speyside really does punch above its weight in terms of global significance and recognition.

But it’s not just whisky and famous brands which make us stand out, we can also credit that to our outstanding events industry. We’re home to an array of many wonderful events, from the unique and unusual, to ones shrouded in mystery, and others that will test your physical endurance to the absolute limit!

To help you plan your calendar for the year, we’ve summarised some of our favourite events in Moray Speyside below!

Cullen Skink World Championships

When: Sunday 17th March 2024
Where: The Seafield Arms Hotel, Cullen

This event can have the whole region talking and will crown the year’s best Cullen Skink cook! For those that do not know, Cullen Skink is a hearty soup rooted in location traditions made primarily from smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions. As the name suggests, the dish originated in the village of Cullen in the 1800s.

The World Championships pit the best Cullen Skink cooks against each other to ultimately crown the best Cullen Skink of the year. There are two categories in the competition: traditional, where a strict recipe must be followed, and Cullen Skink with a twist, where the cooks are allowed some flexibility to add their own touch to the dish. Competitors travel from all over Scotland to compete, with the winners receiving significant recognition. The competition takes place every year and is always held in the village of Cullen. The event is open to the public, so come along, spectate, and sample some of the dishes for yourself!

Spirit of Speyside

When: Wednesday 1st – Monday 6th May 2024
Where: Throughout Moray Speyside

There is one thing that Moray Speyside has that stands above the rest. This is Moray Speyside, the heart of Single Malt Whisky – not just in Scotland but worldwide. Incredibly, more than 50% of all the distilleries in Scotland are found here, with some of the world’s most famous brands based in the region.

First launched in 1999, The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is the premier whisky festival, not just in Scotland, but worldwide, with whisky enthusiasts flocking to Moray Speyside by the thousands during the event. The festival is a collection of different whisky events, all taking place throughout the six days, offering various whisky tasting experiences, tours, and other unique or special events, such a ceilidh dancing. In total, there are over 700 to choose from! If you’re into whisky, then you won’t want to miss this.


When: Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May 2024 (Easter Festival) and Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August 2024 (Summer Festival)
Where: Cooper Park, Elgin

MacMoray is Moray Speyside’s largest music festival. Having only launched in 2022, the festival has grown leaps and bounds and for the first time 2024 sees two different weekend events, an easter festival, and a summer festival.

Based in picturesque Cooper Park in Elgin, adjacent to the renowned Elgin Cathedral, the event draws in well-known artists – both local talents and those from further afield – to perform in front of thousands of festivalgoers. Featuring a blend of traditional and pop music, this year’s lineup includes well-known performers such as Blue, Basshunter, Torridon, Cascada, and many others.

The Moray Way Ultras Series

When: Various (see below)
Where: Throughout Moray Speyside

For those who are in peak physical condition and seek to push their physical limits to the edge, the Moray Way Ultras Series offers a formidable challenge that even the most seasoned athletes will find demanding.

The series was only established in 2021 and comprises five distinct running events, which span from 50 kilometres to 100 miles in length! Each race uses the brilliant path network Moray Speyside offers, including established long-distance trails, to create demanding yet beautiful routes which pull in competitors from all over the United Kingdom. The events follow routes such as The Moray Coastal path, which offers an unspoilt gallery of beautiful white-sand beaches and stunning cliffs, and The Speyside Way, which travels past world-famous whisky distilleries and beautiful rolling hills. So, if you’re super fit and interested in pushing yourself to the limit, then The May Way Ultras Series may well be for you! See below for a full break down of each event:

  • The Moray Coastal Trail 50: 11th May 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • The Moray Way 100: 22nd June 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • The Moray Way 100 Relay: 22nd June 2024 (Find out more Here
  • The Speyside Way Ultras: 17th August 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • The Dava Way 50K: 9th November 2024 (Find out more Here)

Highland Games

When: Various (see below)
Where: Throughout Moray Speyside

The Highland Games are a quintessentially Scottish spectacle, known throughout the world for their bagpipes, highland dancing, and immense feats of strength in traditional sports such as the Caber Toss, and the crowd’s favourite, Tug o’ War.

For international visitors to Scotland, the Highland Games are often a ‘must see’ event, as they offer a slice of the traditional romantic culture which is often associated with the Highlands in film and television.

We’re very fortunate in Moray Speyside to have five different Highland Game events for you to choose from, with the first of the year starting in May at Gordon Castle near Fochabers, and the final one in August located in the lovely village of Aberlour. Each offer their own charm, and they’re all guaranteed to be a great day out! See below for a full break down of each event:

  • Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair: 19th May 2024(Find out more Here)
  • Forres Highland Games: 6th July 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • Tomintoul & Strathavon Highland Games: 20th July 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • Dufftown Highland Games: 27th July 2024 (Find out more Here)
  • Aberlour Strathspey Highland Games: 3rd August 2024 (Find out more Here)

Grant Park 100 Anniversary

When: Saturday 24th August 2024
Where: Grant Park, Forres

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the gifting of Grant Park to the people of Forres, a special family-friendly event will take place. Exact details aren’t confirmed, but expect plenty of fun, games, music, food, drink, and performances to keep you entertained for the whole day!

Grant Park holds a special place with the people of Forres. The park is an enormous expanse of open grass and is where locals and visitors come to walk, run, socialise, or simply enjoy the sun in the summer. It was Sir Alexander Grant, the inventor of the digestive biscuit, who originally gifted the park to the townspeople in August 1924. Mark your calendars for this once-in-a-century event!

Brodie Illuminated

When: Throughout November 2024
Where: Brodie Castle, Brodie

The true beauty of Brodie Castle comes to life during the winter month of November. When darkness falls, the lights shine bright, and none brighter than those founds at Brodie Illuminated.

The event features a labyrinth of colourful lights, which quite literally, shine a new light on the lovely Brodie Estate. Visitors are invited to follow an illuminated walking route, which circles the castle and takes you into some of the castle grounds. Projectors dotted throughout the route display stunning imagery and videos as you go, and with atmospheric music playing in the background, it really does provide an otherworldly ambiance. Fantastic street food and  hot drinks are also available, allowing you to keep warm during those cold November nights!

Burning of the Clavie

When: Saturday 11th January 2025
Where: Burghead

Although already passed for the year, it wouldn’t be an events blog without mentioning our famous and mysterious fire festival!

Every January thousands of visitors and locals descend on the small fishing village of Burghead to witness the famous gathering.  During the event, a burning Clavie is ceremonially carried through the village before being placed on Doorie Hill. With dozens of other fire stakes carried closely behind, it truly is a remarkable sight which seems to light the entire village on fire.   No one knows the exact origins of the festival, however it’s speculated it may date back 1000s of years to ancient Pictish times, when Burghead was a Pictish stronghold. Whatever its origins, there’s no denying this event creates quite a spectacle!