Speyside Way - 8 Days & 7 Nights

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.4 Read 48 reviews
  • Savour the quiet of lesser-trod paths in this charming region of Scotland
  • Follow the clear waters of the River Spey into the bustle of Aviemore
  • Admire the ancient woodland at Anagach and look out for the rare Capercallie
  • Take time to visit a distillery or two along the way
  • Finish in the Cairngorm National Park at the base of the Cairngorm plateau
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.
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The perfect trip for discovering the whisky, water and land of Scotland on tranquil trails. The Speyside Way is an easy-going walking trip on following paths through ancient pine forests, and through charming Highland villages on way-marked paths. All of this culminates in a week or so of relaxed walking with as many distillery visits as you choose.

Tour Type:

Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 15 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Whisky

Activity Level & 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 as well as some minor roads. The road walking is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes with little traffic, although a few short sections are along busier main roads where extra care and attention are needed. There are ascents and descents involved, so a good level of fitness will be required, please view the itinerary for more detail. It is advisable to do several longer walks to build up your fitness before setting off on any section of the Speyside Way. If you would like to have some flexibility it is possible to add some additional rest days, please let us know if this is of interest.

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.

Accommodations

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.

Single Rooms

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.

Meals

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.

Included
  • 7 Nights in hand-picked B&B’s, guesthouses and small hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfer
  • Information pack and guidebook
  • Access to detailed maps and GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
Excluded
  • Travel to Buckie / from Aviemore
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights along the route

When To Go

You can start this tour on any day of the week from March to October, subject to availability. The busiest times of the year are around Easter and May when accommodations fill up quickly, so book as early as possible if you are planning to travel then.

Weather and Climate

Scotland enjoys a temperate climate, meaning it's relatively mild all year, except in winter when temperatures occasionally dip below 0 degrees Celsius for short periods. The Highlands are renowned for variable weather so you should be prepared for everything; from 'dreich' days (a Scottish word for drizzly days that are a bit bleak) to days with beautiful blue skies and warmer weather. Whatever the weather it tends to be breezy so spare layers are always recommended.

From the end of April to October average daily temperatures vary from 9-15 degrees Celsius. Monthly rainfall varies from 10-16 mm per month on average. Please note that depending on the time of year and recent weather, the trail may be boggy in places which could reduce your average walking speed. Generally, May to July is the driest and mildest months, but exploring later in the year from September to October is pleasant in cooler temperatures and the autumnal scenery is spectacular as the leaves begin to change colour.

Getting to the Start

By 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.

By 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.

By 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. 

 

Getting from the End

By Rail: Aviemore has good rail connections to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow.  You can check train timtables at Scotrail

By Bus: Aviemore is also well-connected by bus to elsewhere in the Cairngorms if you are continuing your adventure. Check bus timetables at Stagecoach or Citylink. Otherwise Traveline Scotland is a great resource for public transport throughout Scotland. 

Luggage Transfer

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 20kg per person.

At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase.  Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person.  It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.

General Information

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.

Equipment

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.

Travel Insurance

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Buckie and overnight Day 2 Walk from Buckie to Fochabers 11 miles / 18 km Day 3 Walk from Fochabers to Craigellache 13 miles / 21 km Day 4 Walk from Craigellache to Ballindalloch 13 miles / 20 km Day 5 Walk from Ballindalloch to Grantown-on-Spey 15 miles / 23 km Day 6 Walk from Grantown-on-Spey to Boat of Garten 11 miles / 18 km Day 7 Walk from Boat of Garten to Aviemore 6 miles / 10 km Day 8 Onward travel

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