Scalan Seminary


The Old Seminary of Scalan (1717-1799), in the Braes of Glenlivet, is a a piece of local history that has been kept alive by the Scalan Association. Chosen for its remote location to keep it hidden from Hanoverian soldiers, Scalan was one of few places were Roman Catholicism survived during the eighteenth century. For a long time Scalan was the only place in Scotland where Catholic priests were trained.


Though the religious work at Scalan ceased in 1799, the cottage was still occupied at the turn of the millennium by Sandy Mattheson, who lived a simple life there without modern conveniences and technologies, collecting his daily water from the burn and enjoying the snowfall in winter with homemade skis and ski-poles, until he passed away in 2005. A pilgrimage to Scalan takes place annually, with hundreds of people from all over the area making the journey.

Scalan is open all-year round for visitors to discover, however, by prior arrangement with the Scalan Association, it is possible to look around the locked outbuildings and the well-preserved Mattheson house. The walls of the outbuildings are in places covered in pencil scribbles from the early twentieth century and perhaps even further back, and are filled with fascinating old farming equipment which is no longer in use.


The above appears to read:
Filled two bags chaff
on Weds 25th March 1925

very stormy day
J. Sharp


Scalan’s isolated location is breathtaking and makes for a great day’s walk – the Glenlivet Estate have a Scalan Heritage Trail of 4.5km which you can follow, but if you want to make a longer trip out of it, ask a Smuggler for a map and advice. We’re also happy to speak to the Scalan Association if you’d like a tour of the buildings during your stay.

Scalan is a hidden treasure in Tomintoul & Glenlivet, but there’s plenty more local history to discover. Speak to one of the Smugglers for more information!

scalan seminary

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