The Speyside Way is a good introduction to hiking. It offers a mostly easy and well signposted walk that passes through some of Scotland’s most varied and beautiful scenery. First opened in 1981, it is one of Scotland’s Official Long Distance Walks – extending 65miles (105km) with the option of interesting spurs to Dufftown (4miles / 6.5km) and Tomintoul (15miles / 24km) making the total distance 84miles (135km).
As one of the Moray Ways, this walk has a lot to offer. Commencing in the fishing village of Buckie on the Moray Firth, the route travels west along the shoreline to reach Spey Bay before turning south to follow the winding River Spey on old railway tracks, forest trails through farmland to reach the Cairngorm Mountains and the Highland Resort of Aviemore. Along the way there are many attractive villages and small towns, whisky distilleries (including Aberlour and Craigellachie), castles and a wide variety of historical sites.
A special feature of this area is the rich and varied bird-life ranging from the seabirds and waders of the Spey estuary to the eagles, buzzards and ospreys of the inland mountains and lochs. By embracing the Whisky Trail that conveniently runs through Speyside, the walk also offers an opportunity to visit a number of distilleries in the region.
The Speyside Way is generally flat and suitable for all the family but, there are two significant climbs – the shoulder of Ben Aigan (270m) and the other over Carn Daimh (450m) on the Tomintoul Spur.
The destination of Aviemore is a delightful way to end the walk surrounded by beautiful scenery and an abundance of attractions for all ages. There is a thriving local population and a welcoming atmosphere of an all year round activity centre offering walking, climbing, biking, and a whole host of other activities as part of the Cairngorms National Park.
Click each day to expand.
Once a thriving fishing and shipbuilding port, today Buckie is a small fishing town on the Moray cost with great scenery and wildlife. This busy little town has its own harbour and marina and number of facilities including a leisure centre, two golf courses and two outdoor bowling parks. The stunning Bow Fiddle Rock can be seen near Portknockie to the north east of Buckie with sandy beaches and spectacular long walks along the coast. Wildlife includes dolphins, which can be seen from the beach at the mouth of Spey Bay – also a good spot for observing otters and ospreys. Overnight in Buckie.
The Speyside Way begins at Cluny Square in the centre of Buckie and follows the A990 to Portgordon, passing through an old fisherman’s district and crossing the Buckie Burn on to Buckpool. The path continues along the flat coastal area to re-join the main road, before heading inland to join the old railway line for 1.5km, through forestry to the Spey Bay Hotel and its former ice-house, which is now a Wildlife Visitor Centre. The track then continues alongside the Alder woodland of the river mouth, eventually reaching the Spey. Then it’s back into the woods until the path leads under the A96 road bridge, following a path beside the Fochabers Burn, leading to the centre of Fochabers Square. Overnight Fochabers.
You will depart Fochabers and re-join the Speyside Way on a quiet road for the first 7.5km. Then a steep descent and switch-back climb will level off on a long woodland section to reach Boat o’ Brig and on past Bridgeton Farm, with views over the Spey Valley. After Boat o’ Brig there is a more demanding section up through forestry. You will continue along the track to Red Sheugh Burn, before rejoining a tarmac road for almost 2km. There are magnificent views of 18th century mansion, Arndilly House, on the right, which was once the home of the chief of Clan Menzies. Next you will pass through woodland and cross over the Bridge of Arndilly and MacDowall Bridge, emerging on the busy A95 at the Bridge of Fiddich, then walk on to Craigellachie where this stage ends. Macallan Distillery can be visited on this stage: McCallan Overnight Craigellachie.
This section mostly follows an old derelict railway line, passing the little town of Aberlour, before continuing along the railway past a succession of distilleries to end at Ballindalloch. Depart Craigellachie on signpost to the Speyside Way to Aberlour to follow the path leading to the old station, now a cafe and Information Centre. Continue past the Mash Tun Pub to reach a woodland section with the (Old Dailuaine Halt) the Dailuaine Distillery Treatment Plant on the right on to Bridge of Carron offering great views of the river. At Dalmunach the route emerges to continue ahead on the middle grassy track and the old railway line alongside the Spey to reach Knockando (House) Distillery. (Cardhu Distillery at Knockando) Cross the high bridge over the Cally Burn and continue through woods and fields to Blacksboat, an attractive old station, to cross a suspension bridge over a tributary and eventually reach the huge iron-box bridge over the Spey, built by C McFarlane of Dundee to end in Ballindalloch. Distilleries to visit on this stage: Aberlour, Cardhu and Cragganmore Overnight Ballindalloch.
The most demanding section of the Way. Follow paths and tracks through woods and fields with plenty of ascents and descents in fine birch woodlands, heather clad hills, grazing pastures and the beautiful native Scots pines of Anagach Woods. Depart Ballindalloch past the old station to pass Cragganmore Distillery. Cross the track to join the old rail line and continue through the first of many chain-gates (a feature on this section) to more open area that can be boggy to reach Tormore Distillery and the A95 Road. Leave the road behind and climb a grassy path until a Speyside Way sign indicates where to turn and descend steeply to meet a harder-surfaced track to a prominent new footbridge. The Way now runs between two fences before joining a track for almost 2km with good views over Strathspey and the Cairngorms National Park. Follow a forest track to the A95 again and re-join the old railway line for some distance, past the former Cromdale Station and Cromdale Old Kirk over the metal bridge into the centre of Grantown. Overnight Grantown on Spey.
An easy-going section following the old railway line as far as Nethy Bridge, where there is a shop, and through the nature reserve woodland to Boat of Garten where it is possible to detour from the route and visit the Osprey Centre at Loch Garten. This final section of the Speyside Way offers a variety and mountain views to reach the beautiful highland town of Aviemore. It is entirely possible to combine the day walk with a trip on the steam train of the Strathspey Railway. Leave Grantown and take Forest Road to pass the golf course before following the sign for Nethy Bridge and continue on the old military road and to cross the old bridge over the wide River Spey and head for the Speyside Smokehouse ahead and on to Balliefurth Farm with views across the river to Ballintomb the rallying ground of the local Clan Grant. Continue over to pass Abernethy Golf Course past outskirts of Nethy Bridge and on to Loch Garten (with to detour to visit the RSPB Osprey Centre available here) before reaching Boat of Garten and on to more open ground with the Cairngorms on the left beside the track of the steam railway which runs regular trains between Aviemore and Broomhill. Follow the signs for Kinchurdy to pass the edge of a golf course close to the edge of Aviemore to cross the bridge through woodland and on to roads following the sign for Aviemore Centre. Overnight Aviemore.
Congratulations - you have completed the Speyside Way! After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.
Fixed Price - £485 per person
Single supplement - £120
You can see the Fixed Price stages in the table below, with the additional optional stages in brackets. You can also choose different types of accommodation, for example bunkhouses or hotels at some stages. You can also stay an extra night at any point on the route. If you don’t require overnight stays at the start and end of the walk, simply let us know at the time of booking. Explain any changes you require in the Comments section of the Enquiry Form. We will recalculate the price of your holiday based on the changes you make and will confirm the price before any payment is requested. The final amount you pay may be lower or higher than our Fixed Price, depending on the options you choose.
|Stages and Distances (Optional extra stages shown in brackets)|
|10 miles - 16 km|
|13 miles - 21 km|
|12 miles - 19 km|
|4 miles - 6.5 km|
|15 miles - 24 km|
|13 miles - 21 km|
|11 miles - 18 km|
|(Boat of Garten)|
|6 miles - 10 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.