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Mountains, pines, wild moors and whiskey country — Speyside Way

Nick_Rowland (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mountains, pines, wild moors and whiskey country — Speyside Way

Hiking Collection by komoot

5-11

days

3-6 h

/ day

81.0 mi

3,875 ft

4,525 ft

The Speyside Way is a true Caledonian adventure from the rugged Highlands, through ancient pine forests, wild moors and whiskey country, to where dolphins swim on the Moray of Firth.

Starting from Aviemore, in the Cairngorms National Park, the trail follows the course of the River Spey for 81 miles (130 kilometers) to where it joins the North Sea near Buckie.

The route explores beautiful scenery throughout; from mountains to pastures, pine forests to pretty villages, heather moorlands to birch woodlands, and eventually to stunning coastline.

The Speyside Way also explores a region with the highest density of Scotch whiskey distilleries anywhere in the country. With a whiskey heritage that stretches back hundreds of years, the Scotch you sample at the many cozy inns, taverns, pubs, and distilleries along the way is first-class.

There is no set direction to walk the Speyside Way and both ways have their merits. This Collection opts for the southwest to northeast crossing as it follows the river from source to sea, meaning more downhill than uphill and an epic finish on the coastline with dolphins swimming on the horizon (hopefully, anyhow).

In this Collection, we divide the route into five stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.

Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.

If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Aviemore, which has direct trains from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness, which all have good connecting services around the UK. From the station, it is a short walk up the main street to the start.

To get home, you would need to catch the 35 bus service from Buckie to East Street in Fochabers. There you would need to catch the 10 bus service to Aberdeen, where you can catch direct trains to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and connecting services around the UK.

If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Aviemore.

To get back, you need would need to catch the 35 bus service from Buckie to East Street in Fochabers. There you would need to catch the 10 bus service to Inverness and then the G10 or the M90 bus services from Inverness to Aviemore.

On The Map

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Speyside Way

65.7 mi

3,100 ft

3,775 ft

Last updated: November 25, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 01: Aviemore to Grantown — Speyside Way

    Difficult
    06:58
    16.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage introduces you to a rugged Highland landscape interspersed with native pine forests.

    

    The trail begins in Aviemore, a town in the Cairngorms National Park surrounded by serene lochs, ancient forests, and mountains.

    

    From Aviemore, you hike through coniferous and birch woodland and over

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    07:32
    17.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Beginning in a native pine forest and finishing next to a historic Scotch whiskey distillery, this stage is rich in heritage and beauty.

    

    From Grantown you step into Anagach Woods, a native pine forest that is home to the rare red squirrel, elusive pine marten, roe deer, and the near-extinct capercaillie

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    07:31
    17.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    625 ft
    950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage takes you through the heart of Scotch whiskey country, where even the fresh air is fortified with a ‘wee dram’.

    

    You pick up the trail near Ballindalloch Castle, which was completed in 1546 and is known as the ‘Pearl of the North’ due to its elegance and fine position on the banks of the River

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    06:00
    13.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage takes you into ancient forests that occasionally give way to afford stunning views over the landscape.

    

    You follow minor roads from Craigellachie and then climb over the shoulder of Ben Aigen through the Wood of Arndilly.

    

    At a high point in the woodland, you reach a pleasant rest area with wonderful

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    06:30
    15.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage takes you to the shores of the North Sea, where you might be lucky enough to glimpse dolphins playing in the Moray of Firth.

    

    From Fochabers, the trail follows the rough course of the Spey through woodland and farmland.

    

    Along the way, you pass St Mary’s, a small Gothic church that was built

    by komoot

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    81.0 mi
  • Duration
    34:32 h
  • Elevation
    3,875 ft4,525 ft

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Mountains, pines, wild moors and whiskey country — Speyside Way

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