The River Spey in Scotland is right up there on any fisherman’s bucket list. It’s the fly-fishing equivalent of playing golf at Augusta National, site of the celebrated Master’s golf tournament. The river gave its name to the famous double-handed Spey rod, designed to handle large fighting fish, such as salmon, as well as the Spey cast, a technique to cast large flies long distances. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the cast is that the line does not travel backward as it would on a normal backcast. Instead the angler moves the rod so that the line remains mostly out front. Doing so keeps the fly and line from tangling on bushes and trees that may line the banks behind the angler.
Tulchan Estate, located in the Scottish Highlands, owns to eight miles of the Spey. Guests to the estate have their pick of four classic beats, each with its own ghillie (guide). The beats (the term refers to a particular stretch of water to which an angler is assigned by the landowner) feature a mix of different characteristics. For example, A Beat is home to the magical King’s Hut. It’s also the province of the estate’s longest serving guide, John Anderson. B Beat has a secluded hut while C Beat boasts an interesting mix of high and low water pools as well as the historic Advie Bridge. Lastly, there is D Beat, probably the most secluded stretch of water on the estate.
World Class Setting
The Scottish Highlands are known the world over for its wild, picturesque beauty. Retreating Ice Age glaciers cut the area’s steep valleys and channeled the many rivers that are home to the region’s legendary salmon. Tulchan Estate, which is about an hour’s drive from Inverness, is surrounded by 22,000 acres of classic Scottish countryside. The Estate offers four levels of membership, but non-members are welcome to fish here as well.
The estate has a variety of accommodation to suit everyone—Tulchan Lodge, the home of the Club, Knocktulchan Lodge, and four holiday cottages. The charming Tulchan Lodge was painstakingly restored in 2018 to its original purpose as a Victorian-era hunting lodge, complete with spa. It is a relaxing sanctuary from the outside world, and is exclusively available to the Club’s Members, whether they are hunting or fishing.
Although a fishing membership is available, non-Members are able to book fishing and accommodation in the Estate’s holiday cottages. Blending rural charm with simple comfort, they are idyllic sites for those in search of peace and quiet and all are within close reach of the river. As a guest on the Estate, when not casting your fly over the water you have the freedom to enjoy picturesque walks around the Estate, tread the heather of Tulchan’s inviting moors and glens, or simply wander around, find a perch, and drink in the incredible views. You can also enjoy one of Scotland’s best-known gifts to the world: single-malt scotch whisky at one of the Speyside distilleries right on your doorstep. As an added bonus, you can enjoy a riverside gin and tonic featuring Tulchan Gin, a small-batch, London style gin, inspired by the Estate itself. Like other premium gins, juniper is a major component, but Tulchan Gin also makes use of the flora found on the estate, and you’ll be able to detect the subtle flavors of sloe berries, elderflower, and blackberry leaves that impart a distinct taste to the gin.
Beyond the breathtaking scenery, Tulchan is first and foremost a sporting estate for both anglers and hunters. Its unmatched fishing beats will help anglers create lifelong memories of playing a hard-fighting Scottish salmon. And who could turn down the chance to use flies with colorful names like Posh Tosh, Arndilly Fancy, or Stinchar Stoat?
American anglers used to the crowds on the country’s blue-ribbon trout waters–the Madison and Yellowstone come immediately to mind–will appreciate the serene solitude, elbow room, and world-class fishing that Tulchan Estate offers its angler guests. After your morning fishing session, you’ll retreat to the beat’s riverside hut where you will be served a filling lunch. On chilly days, you can light a fire to warm up before the afternoon fishing session. At the end of the day, you’ll retire to your lodging where you will be served dinner, prepared by the Tulchan Lodge kitchen, which is delivered directly to your cottage. The Estate’s Kitchen, run by their very experienced and talented Head Chef Ollie Wilson, produces fresh, seasonal menus using Estate produce, whether farmed, wild or grown.
Tulchan Estate didn’t become one of Scotland’s leading sporting estates by accident. The guestbook boasts a long line of distinguished visitors, including King Edward VII, King George V, and King George VI, all of whom were fond of the beautiful setting and Highland sports. Preserving that heritage is vitally important to the estate’s proprietors. They believe the Estate is a gift that deserves to be nurtured. From taking advantage of valuable local knowledge to ensuring that the landscape is maintained for future generations, Tulchan’s staff are devoted to protecting its iconic surroundings.
Tulchan is also designed to be a relaxing, welcoming haven from a harried world, a special place where visitors can truly feel at home. Tulchan doesn’t require a membership for fishing on the property although fishing members can enjoy exclusive access to the Lodge & Spa.
All in all, Tulchan Estate offers American anglers a one-of-a-kind experience—the stunning beauty of the Scottish Highlands, a pulse-pounding encounter with a wild salmon, one capable of tearing the line off your reel when it runs with your fly, and graceful, comfortable, accommodations designed for your complete comfort.