The Dava Way is one of our shorter routes and can be comfortably completed over a weekend if desired. Stretching over 24 miles (38 kilometres) from Grantown-on-Spey in the Cairngorms National Park to the fine country town of Forres in the County of Moray the Way passes through a pleasant mix of farmland, woods and moors. The Dava Way can be combined with other walks along the Moray Way for those who want a longer route.
Mostly following the old Highland Railway Line, it provides wonderful traffic-free walking on gentle gradients, though the surface can be a little muddy in places. With a fine variety of scenery all around the route leaves the River Spey at Grantown and crosses moorland where, to the south, the Cromdale Hills and the Cairngorm Mountains dominate the skyline as you leave Strathspey behind. Thereafter you encounter the ascent of the Dava Summit at 1050 feet (320 metres) before descending through more fertile and pastoral landscapes to the Moray Firth where the Moray Coastal Trail begins.
The surface is varied, mostly firm and good, but can be rough in places. At the last count there were 17 gates along the route, there are no stiles. Serious walkers can complete the route in a day but most will want to break it into two stages. The main challenge for many walkers is that there is only limited accommodation available with most situated at the start and end of the route.
Grantown on Spey is linked by bus to Aviemore and Inverness, whilst Forres has a rail and bus link to Inverness, therefore the only public transport between Grantown and Forres is by connection in Inverness. Along the way, the only bus service is the school bus (open to the public) that links Grantown with Dunphail and the church below the Divie Viaduct.
Everyone who completes the Dava Way is eligible to purchase a Dava Way cloth badge from the Dava Way Association (DWA).
Click each day to expand.
Arrive in Grantown-on-Spey, which is situated 14 miles from Aviemore.
Depart Grantown-on-Spey under the old railway before turning right onto the signposted path, then cross the wooden bridge to continue on the on the old railway line. Walk over farmland and on over the A939 next to Castle Grant East Lodge. Thereafter follows a raised embankment that leaves the railway and skirts the wooded edge of a field and meanders through the trees and then through two gates turning right at the next track and then on the surfaced path through pine trees. Ignore a track to the left and go straight ahead through a farm gate and pass through a tree-lined cutting before a gate leads to a more open section with sparse pine trees. The narrow path joins a track, still following the old railway line straight ahead as it starts the crossing of Dava Moor that offers a remote feel for a memorable part of the walk. Pass the wooden Red Coat who is heading to fight the Jacobites at the battle of Cromdale in 1690 and take the ascent with views to Loch Mhic Leoid. The surface of the track improves as the forest at Dava comes into view where the path deviates from the old railway line to avoid private houses - turn left through a gate to reach a track and turning area. Keep left here to follow a gravel surfaced track down to the main road. The Dava Schoolhouse is located 650m from the Way at this point on the junction between the A939 and A940.
Re-join the Dava Way taking note of the signpost indicating the place to turn left onto a path into the woods that meanders through trees and then on between two large wooden posts. Continue across the pasture (way-markers) to gain the line of the old railway. Here turn left; when the route meets a track pass to the left side of the little cottage and straight on, following the railway line before on across the open moor to pass below the eastern slopes of the Knock of Braemory, a rounded, heathery hill. After 5 miles, pass the abandoned farmhouse of Bogeny before another moorland stretch that leads to a cutting through Bantrach Wood. Continue straight ahead across a track and the Divie Viaduct is reached. The symbol of the Dava Way, the viaduct is an impressive structure built in the 1860s and still today gives great views down to the River Divie far below. Just beyond the viaduct a bench gives an opportunity for a break before the Way passes to the right of some buildings and then continues to a marker post in a birch wood indicating a turn off the old railway to the right. Keep left in the woods at the next marker to return to the line on the far side. Go left again at the Dava Way information board to reach the picnic area and new car park at Dunphail. The Dava Way is joined from the back of the picnic area by the information board. and soon passes under a bridge carrying the Half Divoch moor road. Pass under Peathillock Bridge and on into Cowgreens Wood. Follow the markers which lead slightly to the right of the line in the wood to cross a minor road and then an iron bridge over the Altyre Burn. Further on, pass under an arch of the graceful Scurrypool Bridge, and then leave the old line just beyond at Squirrel Neuk Bridge, using the steps on the left. Cross over the bridge and then follow the track to the left on the far side. This detour away from the old railway avoids a cutting which is usually waterlogged. Keep left at the track junction in the woods to join a better track. Pass through a gate and then fork left again before the track reaches a house. Eventually another waymarked turn on the left leads back to the railway; this section is well waymarked. The Way now runs along a high earth embankment giving good views over the arable countryside. It crosses a bridge over the Rafford Road and on with the Burn of Mosset far below before the embankment descends once more to the level of the land around. Continue straight across a farm track where Dallas Dhu distillery can be seen. Continue along the line, passing under a bridge before following a ramp up onto Mannachie Avenue and follow this route to the centre of Forres.
Congratulations - you have completed the Dava Way! After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.
Fixed Price - £210 per person
Single supplement - £60
For a longer walk, you may choose to combine the Dava Way with the Moray Coastal Trail. It is also possible to combine the Dava Way with part of the Moray Coastal Trail and part of the Speyside Way to create a circuit of 95 miles (153km), known as the Moray Way. If you would like to stay an extra night at any point on the route, please let us know in the Comments section of the Enquiry Form.
|Stages and distances|
|8.5 miles - 13.5 km|
|15.5 miles - 25 km|
If so, please fill out our enquiry form.
If you have any extra questions, feel free to contact us, we’d love to hear from you.