Speyside Way - 8 Days & 7 Nights8 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
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!
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:
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:
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.
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.
- 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
- Travel to Buckie / from Aviemore
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance (required)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Speyside Way is a relatively easy walk so if you are a regular walker or lead and active lifestyle youll 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.
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.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Buckie and overnight
Arrive in Buckie and check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the nearby sights.
Homely family run B&B in the heart of the moray coast. They pride themselves on their warm welcome to their home, a large period Victorian town house in the centre of Buckie with four guest bedrooms all with tea and coffee making facilities and flat screen television, 2 en-suite bedrooms and 2 bedrooms sharing a large family bathroom with bath and shower. There is a communal sun room on the middle landing overlooking the Moray Firth. A home cooked breakfast is included in the price. We also have complimentary use of our local state of the art Gym and juice bar.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please ensure you call the accommodation in advance of arrival for the access code to the house
Located in Buckie, The Old Coach House provide a shared lounge, bar, restaurant and free wifi. They offer 10 Double/Single Ensuite Rooms and 1 Family Ensuite Room.
The Mill House Hotel & Restaurant has a unique blend of old and new offering something unique in the local area. The hotel had a major renovation back in 2010, and their aim is to keep the building, decor and menus fresh and up to date on an annual basis. The 16 bedrooms in particular have been furnished to a high standard and the comfortable bar is a great place to relax after dining in any of the three dining rooms.
The trail begins from the fishing port of Buckie from where you'll follow the coastline of Spey Bay before joing a disused railway line to follow the River Spey to Fochabers.
Buckie to Fochabers: 18km, Ascent/Descent: +37m/-17m
The Grant Arms is a family run hotel located in the picturesque small town of Fochabers. All rooms are bath / shower en-suite and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable stay.
Set in the attractive town of Fochabers the Red Lion Tavern is a traditional country Inn offering a warm Scottish welcome, fine wines, good beers, the best of Malts, and 6 superbly furnished bedrooms ideal for walkers. All rooms are superbly furnished to include en-suite facilities, tea/coffee hospitality tray, hair drier and TV, all rooms are set behind the main Tavern and enjoying seclusion and privacy.
Begin with an ascent out of Fochabers to be 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!
Fochabers to Craigellachie: 21km, Ascent/Descent: +392m/-345m
Bridge View B&B is a traditional Scottish family home set in an elevated position, overlooking the River Spey and surrounding countryside. All rooms are centrally heated with TV and tea/coffee making facilities and WIFI internet access.
The Lodge was originally built in 1860 for a local distillery manager. It sits high up on the hill, overlooking the Spey valley. The Lodge offers wonderful accommodation with lots of extra touches. Craigellachie Lodge are happy to assist with booking any distillery visits. Any of the smaller distilleries will require to be booked in advance so please call them to discuss in advance of arrival.
The Highlander Inn is recognised as one of Scotland's best known "Village Inns" and a truly international "hot spot" for whisky tourism. They have one of the largest selections of Japanese whiskies available outside South-East Asia, and a good selection of malt whiskies from other parts of the world as well! The guest rooms are en-suite and have all recently been refurbished and have been designed to a high standard.
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.
Craigellachie to Ballindalloch: 20km, Ascent/Descent: +69m/-15m
Cragganmore House offers lovely comfortable accommodation for walkers, set in a secluded glen, with glorious views to the River Spey and across to Ben Rinnes. Situated in the heart of golfing and Malt Whisky country on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park. Room are all individually furnished and have all the amenities you require for a lovely overnight stay.
The Delnashaugh Hotel overlooks the River Avon, amidst the delightful countryside of the Spey valley where Fiona and Andrew will greet you with the warmest of welcomes. Fiona and Andrew have completely renovated and refurbished the hotel. The hotel has every modern convenience, while retaining the best of its original character. You can relax in the evening in the warm and inviting bar which also has an open fire where you can enjoy a relaxing meal or sample a few of their malt whiskies from their well-stocked bar. Alternatively, you can relax in the lounge where there are comfortable sofas and a large television for your entertainment.
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.
Ballindalloch to Grantown-on-Spey: 23km, Ascent/Descent: +355m/-281m
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. At Dunallan House, they have kept many of the villa's original features, including the lovely stained glass windows, cornices, original fireplaces in the Dining room / Guest's lounge and pitch pine throughout.
Garden Park is a very elegant and homely B&B. It is situated in half an acre of well stocked attractive gardens very close off the Speyside way walk. The six well-appointed rooms are individually furnished and maintained to a high standard. All rooms are en-suite offering four poster, king-size, double, and twin bedded rooms which have a shower or bath or both. Good quality beds ensure a comfortable night’s rest and all rooms are centrally heated. Each room also has a complimentary beverage tray, a full range of bathroom toiletries, colour television and hairdryer. They also have a comfortable resident’s lounge with TV and a log burning fire for those cold days. You can also use our WIFI facility from most rooms in the house.
The walk from Grantown-on-Spey to Boat of Garten sees you entering Strathspey where you'll see the high Cairngorm Plateau to your left.
The walking is easy and passes through farmland and uses old railway tracks to bring you to the sleepy village of Boat of Garten. On the trail you will pass through Abernethy forest; a relic of the ancient Caledonian pine forests. Look out for bird and wildlife as you walk, such as red squirrels, pine martins, and osprey overhead (the RSPB Loch Garten Osprey Centre is nearby).
Grantown-on-Spey to Boat of Garten: 18km, Ascent/Descent: +58m/-58m
In Boat of Garten, a country pub & restaurant with 34 bedrooms rooms oozing rural charm and rustic character. Our picturesque surroundings in the heart of the Cairngorm’s provide the perfect backdrop for savouring the hearty, seasonal pub-food on our menu, and the carefully nurtured beers, lagers and fine wines gracing our bar. With cosy log fires and various seating areas you’ll be very happy soaking up the atmosphere in beautiful unspoilt surroundings!
Your hosts Catriona and Neil would like to extend a warm welcome to you at Docharn Lodge. Our home is a recently restored steading with spacious oak framed extension and has the latest in sustainable and efficient hi-tech energy systems. Docharn Lodge was designed on a beautiful elevated position to take in the unfolding panorama of Strathspey and the Cairngorm Mountains and maximise the views. you are looking for that special place to stay in the Cairngorms National Park, then Docharn Lodge is for you. After a good night's rest you can enjoy a hearty full Highland or continental breakfast. Our menu is designed to offer you various choices and we use local produce wherever possible.
The final section of the way is a short walk from Boat of Garten with excellent mountain views to Aviemore.
The walking is easy and passes through open moorland and forests on good tracks. The old railway line brings you to the bustling town of Aviemore and the end of your journey.
Boat of Garten to Aviemore: 10km, Ascent/Descent: +22m/-30m
Ravenscraig has 14 bedrooms providing 4 star bed and breakfast accommodation in Aviemore. It is ideally situated on the main street just a short stroll from the town centre with its numerous shops, bars and restaurants. All rooms have bathrooms, TV, complimentary toiletries, en-suite showers and tea/coffee facilities.
Perfectly located this independently-owned hotel is found in the heart of Aviemore, in the Cairngorms. Set in its own wooded grounds on Aviemore's main street, the hotel is central to all your needs. All the shops and facilities of this bustling Highland resort are within a few minute’s easy stroll. All bedrooms are en-suite, offering colour television, direct-dial telephone and hospitality tray. All rooms are comfortably furnished and decorated to a superior standard it would be hard to equal, whilst most have stunning views across the Spey Valley to the Cairngorm Mountains or to the great rock of Craigellachie.
Cairngorm Guest House is a 12 bedroom Victorian house located in the centre of Aviemore. All rooms are en-suite with all the facilities you would expect from a great guest house along with amazing views across Cairngorm Mountains. They also have a guest lounge where you can relax in the evening next to the real log burning fire.
After a hearty Highland breakfasts it's time for your onward travel. If you have extra time though you may wish to explore Aviemore, the outdoor capital of the Cairngorms, brimming with cafes and outdoor shops. If you would like an extra night in Aviemore there's a lovely walk around Loch an Eilean we recommend.
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