Welcome to my Grantown. The town where I live & love! We are one of the rare Highland towns to still have a fresh fruit & veg shop, butcher, bookshop, florist, sweet shop, gift shop, craft shop, jeweller, pet shop & a proper hardware shop. All independently run by local legends.
We never planned on living in Grantown, our first home together was in Skye of Curr. It was an old Bothy, often warmer outside than inside. I’m pretty sure the central heating used to run off £20 notes & on a rainy day or night we used to have a delightful waterfall that poured through the spare bedroom ceiling & trickled through an asbestos crack. We loved this crazy little house but coming home to a freezing cold shed each night was wearing thin on me, especially after a 12-14 hour day at the cafe.
The decision to move happened suddenly. Al & I had actually popped into Grantown to buy a washing machine & in the window of Masson Cairns was this incredible Victorian terraced house. It was love at first sight. We viewed it that day & the next day we put our house on the market & before we knew it, we were moving in.
We found ourselves moving into Grantown on Spey right on the high street. The move was a big one for Al, having never even lived in a town with street lights! Anyway, fast forward 10 years & we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It is our home. We have awesome neighbours & in our opinion we live in the best town in the Strath. Independent high street shops that are just a two minute walk away lined with old Victorian buildings steeped with local history. It is a rare & special place.
Staying sane -
I am very open about my mental health, it’s no secret that I have been ill in the past. I am grateful to say that writing this I am currently in a good place and I believe that the community in which I live has helped immensely. It may sound a little crazy but shopping locally is one of my top mental health tips.
When you are not in a good place it is very easy to stay at home & order everything online. However, by challenging myself to go up the street on days I wanted to hide away forced me back into the now. Whenever I feel a bit crappy, I deliberately make the effort to go for a coffee, buy some lovely meat & veg and chat with the locals. By the time I get home I feel better, happier & that I have achieved something. If I shopped online, I would easily hide away & become more unwell. I also get the feel-good factor of supporting the area I live in.
Take a wander down my High Street
My number one Grantown shop.
Scottish fruit & vegetables can be hand-picked with no plastic packaging or silly multi packs – so no food waste or excess packaging.
Local soft fruits, local berries, seasonal local produce, dirty veg, fresh herbs, free-range eggs, honey & glass bottled milk from @Grahamsdairy
The service you will receive from Rosie in this wee shop is second to none. I love this place, it’s a real local’s shop.
Barry really knows his stuff, locally sourced Scottish meat that is properly aged, butchered & lovingly prepared. The ribeye steaks are the absolute business. Nothing is ever a bother they are always happy to offer superb advice. It’s one of those local gems where you become part of the community as soon as you walk in the door. Locals are greeted by name & visitors are always welcomed with a bit of Highland banter. It’s really no wonder why they have won so many awards.
Marjory is possibly the most book obsessed person you will ever come across. In this tiny tiny shop, there are books crammed into every nook & cranny. Ask Marjory about a specific author or book & she will blow your mind with her knowledge, passion & suggestions. This little lady is incredible & she is sure to inspire you with her wee shop.
THE FLOWER BOX
Another incredibly hard-working lady, often when I pass early in the morning or late at night Maria is working her socks off making up orders, receiving deliveries or making one of her awesome window displays. Fresh flowers are what makes her tick & man she is really good at it. Not only does she offer an incredible range of cut flowers she also has a fantastic range of herbs & potted outdoor plants.
I love this shop, I find myself wandering the shop stroking all the beautiful cake tins, pots, utensils. If you love kitchenware you will love this wee shop.
I always buy all my paints & DIY bits n bobs from these guys. The advice has helped me avoid some monumental cock ups, especially with what paints to use. I once bought paint for my decking from a large chain shop in Inverness & the had a total disaster following the advice I was given, never again!
THE CANDY COO
Take a traditional Scottish sweet shop, put an Aussie lady in it that thinks outside the box & you have the Candy Coo.
Great British childhood favourites, European chocolates, Australian products such as Tim tams, Milo, Cherry ripes. The @Orkney Ice cream is damn good too. Hold your horses though, it gets better, they have Single malt @Balveniewhisky ice cream – Hello!
HIGH ST MERCHANTS
Husband & wife team are the dream team here! A day off is not a day off unless I get to High St Merchants for one of Ellie’s Flat whites & a cheese scone baked by big Al, which comes with a big slab of salted butter, the service is always friendly & relaxed. Al the chef makes flipping fantastic salads & specials. Try the pickled watermelon salad if it’s on, it’s sexy as hell!
Evenings are really lovely here too with meals, nibbles boards along with superb wines, gins & beer made in Grantown by Two thirsty men brewery.
A locals favourite & a great place for a cream tea with proper china tea cups or a quick takeaway lunch. Annette is a fantastic baker; I absolutely love her brownies. All baking is made on site & proper homemade baking that is great quality, homely & tasty.
EWE & ME
Janet is the gift shop guru of Grantown. Her shop is a delight to wander with loads of awesome bits & pieces from all around Scotland.
Stunning jewellery from Orkney, Arran soaps, Highland Stoneware, local artists cards, Gordon Castle body lotions & hand wash products. I’ve not even started on the ladies clothing, stationery or local crafts. If you want a true bit of Scotland that isn’t tat or tartan this is the shop for you!
Not technically in Grantown on Spey but It would be a sin to not include my favourite garden centre ever in this post! Previously known as The Heather Centre, these guys are the biggest garden heroes on the planet & are at Skye of Curr, just outside Grantown. Advice on plants, pots, fruit trees, seeds or in fact everything is top notch, with really good prices & bomb proof Highland plants. These folks are so patient & have put up with my endless (probably stupid) questions. This might just be one of my favourite places in the whole area & I haven’t even started talking about the clootie dumpling.
LINDA'S DOG WALKING SERVICE
Linda is a kind, caring & lovely lady that each day is entrusted with many local hairy hounds.
Offering a second to none service, each day come rain, snow or sun, Linda makes her rounds picking up a vast range of happy waggy bums. They hit the trails taking hourly walks throughout the day until the pooches’ families are ready for their fur babies to return home. End of walk treats are dished out with Linda lovingly saying, ‘would you like a sweetie?’
While giving loving pats. Pooches are guaranteed to sleep well after a busy day of walking, sniffing & adventuring. Linda’s world is dogs, dogs, dogs, she has managed to make a passion & love into a very successful local business. She is professional, honest & will go any length to keep her furry pals happy, safe & healthy.
ABSOLUTELY BARKING- HOUSE OF PAWS
Kodie is barking mad for offering top notch dog grooming, pampering & pet supplies!
The frontage of Kodie’s shop House of Paws totally sums her up, professional, modern, hardworking, fun & total quality. While you wander her packed little shop, look through the back & you will see her gently maneuvering soggy doggies - often about the same size as her! She is calm, kind & treats her fluffy clients with total respect. She stocks some of the best dog food on the market & can give endless top tips on protein, vitamins & offering balanced diets for pets. I am sure she is a dog witch because she can keep our crazy springer calm, under control even while grooming his ridiculous ears!
I started seeing Natalia after being off work due to a pretty epic episode of depression & anxiety. At the time I was totally unaware of how mental health can impact your body physically. I was having constant headaches, jaw problems & shoulders/chest so tight I was struggling to move my neck . She took me under her wing & I go weekly now for a Kj MOT & I also send my staff to her. No longer do I take pain killers like smarties & it feels really good to be looking after myself. She is the answer to chef’s dodgy back & leg problems. Natalia is so flipping qualified no ache or pain is unsolvable, she treats the whole body & is a breath of fresh air. I am so stoked to find someone with such a breadth of knowledge that can help me & my whole team. Natalia is also a super approachable, honest & caring person, who takes customer care to a whole new level.
So go on, shop local
I am a stickler for shopping locally & here is my reasoning for this…
I hate reading reviews or searching online about anything I can’t touch, smell or get my hands on, I like getting advice, engaging with the person who has sourced, grown or put their love into their business or job.
It breaks my heart to think we are going to get to the point where all our shopping will be online, with no engagement with actual people or no money going back into our community.
So next time you think about popping online to buy a book, a hardware item, or groceries – think to yourself….. hey ok I can save a quid or two but will it be the quality I want, is this sustainable or will I be buying the right thing? One thing I can guarantee is you won’t get the welcome that Rosie, Barry, Marjory or perhaps your local shop owners will give you.