- Visit the many distilleries on the Way including the renowned Glenfiddich!
- Follow the magnificent clear waters of the River Spey all the way to Aviemore.
- Savour the quiet of lesser trod paths and trails in this remote-feeling region of Scotland.
- On the Tomintoul spur gaze up at the heather-clad Cairngorm Mountain plateau.
- Admire the glorious woodland of Anagach and look out for the illusive Capercallie.
- Arriving in Aviemore situated to the west of the Cairngorms and enjoying its tourist facilities.
A wonderful long distance walk ranging from 65 miles to 92 miles. As you make your way south-west from Buckie towards Aviemore you cannot fail to be impressed by the fantastic landscape in this whisky distilling region of North East Scotland.
You start on the rocky shores of the Moray Firth at Buckie a wee fishing port with about 8,000 inhabitants. From Buckie you aim for Fochabers for your overnight stay, and then continue onto Craigellachie where the Earth Pillars and Telford Bridge are very worthwhile side trips. From here an option is to walk the Dufftown spur and a visit to the world famous Glenfiddich Distillery for a whisky tour and a wee dram. Continuing to Ballindalloch with another optional spur to Tomintoul which gives magnificent views over the Cairngorm Mountain Range. Finally Grantown with its Smokehouse, and Aviemore are reached to complete a wonderful few days walking through some of the best countryside Scotland has to offer.
The Independent Newspaper in Britain published a great article on 5 ways to enjoy a dram, suggesting "drambling" (what a wonderful name for the concept!) on the Speyside Whisky Trail with Macs Adventure.
This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.
Stage 1: Buckie to Fochabers - 11 miles, 18 km
Starting from the fishing port of Buckie you follow the coastline of Spey Bay before turning left along a disused railway line to follow the River Spey to Fochabers.
Stage 2: Fochabers to Craigallachie - 13 miles, 21 km
You climb steeply as you leave Fochabers but are rewarded with expansive views over the Spey Valley and the Boat o’ Brig. After a stretch of mixed forest and farmland before reaching the small village of Craigallachie. The Craigallachie Hotel famously boasts 550 malt whiskies behind its bar.
Stage 3: Craigallachie to Ballindalloch - 12.5 miles, 20 km
You start your day following a pretty section of the Spey before passing close to Aberlour where you may wish to divert to visit the town’s distillery. A pleasant period of walking passes before you reach the hamlet of Ballindalloch.
Stage 4: Ballindalloch to Grantown - 14.5 miles, 23 km
This is a rougher section of more challenging walking with good views and lovely pinewoods between Cromdale and Grantown. Grantown-on-Spey is a charming village to while away an afternoon.
Stage 5: Grantown to Aviemore - 17 miles, 28 km
Today you enter Strathspey and the Cairngorm Mountains start to dominate the view to your left. The walking is easy and passes through farmland and uses old railway tracks to bring you to the bustling town of Aviemore, the end of your journey.
Spur 1: Dufftown Circuit - 12 miles, 19 km
The Dufftown Spur is a very pleasant excursion off the main route of the way and facilitates a visit to the world famous Glenfiddich Distillery. Well worth it if you are a whisky lover.
Spur 2: Tomintoul Spur - 15.5 miles, 25 km
Probably my favourite part of the Speyside Way as it ventures into the wild places of the Cairngorms and gives you a real insight into the reality of life in a small highland village. Oh, and you also pass by Glenlivet, which certainly helps you on your way.
One of the highlights of this walking holiday is the high standard of the accommodation you will enjoy. The hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s we use are hand-picked to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season. You will find descriptions, photos and weblinks to a selection of the accommodation below.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request subject to availability.
Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack will of course have recommendations.
Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk and these can be added at the time of booking. Aviemore is a great place to have an extra night at the end of your walk.
Rosemount House - Buckie
This impressive Victorian Townhouse in the Scottish highlands was built in 1890 and is ideally situated overlooking the Moray Firth and is at the beginning of the Speyside Way.
Grant Arms Hotel - Fochabers
The Grant Arms is a family run Hotel located in the picturesque small town of Fochabers. They offer cosy accommodation and have a bar and restaurant to enjoy after a days' walk.
Highlander Inn - Craigellachie
The Highlander Inn is in the centre of the village of Craigellachie, the heart of Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail.
Speybank - Craigellachie
Geraldine and Peter welcome you to their home which is a unique and traditional B&B in the heart of malt whisky country. They will look after you well and make sure you have a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Woodville B&B - Ballindalloch
Recently refurbished to a very high standard, Woodville offers quality B&B accommodation in peaceful woodland surroundings in Ballandalloch.
Cragganmore House - Ballindalloch
Set in a secluded Glen, Cragganmore House has glorious views to the River Spey and provides fantastic accommodation and evening meals for walkers.
Argyle House - Tomintoul
Argyle House Bed and Breakfast, Tomintoul in the Scottish Highlands dates back to 1891. It is a stone built, cottage-style building of one and a half stories.
Dunallan House - Grantown on Spey
Situated in a quiet location, yet only a short stroll to all amenities in Grantown On Spey, Dunallan offers quality Scottish Tourist Board 4 Star accommodation in a large lovingly restored Victorian Villa.
Ravenscraig - Aviemore
Beautifully decorated throughout and offering a warm welcome with Highland hospitality, Ravenscraig provides the perfect location for enjoying the wealth of outdoor pursuits in the area.
The Speyside Way is available from April to October, to start on any day of the week.
Grade & Terrain
This trip is graded easy to moderate overall. Daily walking distances very between 6 - 17 miles, depending on which itinerary you choose. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. There are ascents and descents involved, so a good level of fitness will be required.
We offer 5 excellent itineraries from the direct 5 day route to adding on one, or both spurs. The 17 mile last day from Grantown to Aviemore can be shortened by taking the Strathspey Railway from Boat of Garten to Aviemore, saving your legs 6 miles or about two hours of walking.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
This walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as we incur additional baggage transfer costs there is a solo walker supplement payable.
Daily door to door baggage transfer is included in the cost of your holiday. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the
recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items,
for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes
standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and
waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for
summer, and a day pack.
Getting to Buckie and from Aviemore
Air: Aberdeen and Inverness both have airports which are convenient for the Speyside Way. Use one of the following modes of transport listed below to get you to the start and finish of the walk.
Road: Buckie is approximately 60 miles and a one hour drive from both Inverness and Aberdeen. Aviemore is 30 miles south of Inverness and 120 miles north of Edinburgh on the A9.
Rail: If travelling via Inverness, a change of train to Keith (2 hours) and then a bus (35 mins) to Buckie is required. If travelling via Aberdeen a change of train to Keith (1 hour 30 mins) and then a bus (35 mins) to Buckie is required. From Aviemore to Inverness is 30 mins and to Edinburgh is 1 hour 30 mins.
- Hand-picked accommodation in B&B’s and small Hotels, in en-suite rooms wherever possible
- Daily door to door baggage transfer.
- Taxi Transfers as detailed in your itinerary.
- A detailed information pack for the group leader including guidebook, local information, detailed travel information and a recommended kit list.
- Emergency support from our offices in the event of a problem.
- Travel to / from Buckie / Aviemore.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Additional nights
Planning a trip on the Speyside Way can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
How fit do I need to be?
The Speyside Way is a relatively easy walk so if you are a regular walker or lead and active lifestyle you'll enjoy the walk. We offer a range of itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance so hopefully you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Speyside Way is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
When is the best time of year?
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.
Which direction should I walk?
We recommend you walk from North to South as all the guidebooks are written in this direction and this is also our personal preference. If you would prefer to walk from South to North we can of course accommodate you.
How do the baggage transfers work?
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved on to your next overnight accommodation. We ask that you limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.