May is a big month for lovers of a single malt, May 19th is World Whisky Day. It may come as no surprise then that May is our busiest month for that fine combination of passions - walking, whisky, and the Scottish Highlands. That's why this week, we're looking towards the Speyside Whisky Trail for our Adventure of the Week.
The River Spey
In a Nutshell
Distance: 24 - 39 miles over 4 walking days, available between March and October.
Grading: This trip is graded Easy to Moderate.
Distilleries passed: 13! Including Cragganmore, Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Macallan, Cardhu, and Glenlivet
Where is it?
The Speyside Whisky Trail follows the routes of the Speyside Way, roughly following the course of the salmon-rich river Spey before heading into the Cairngorms National Park, via ancient forests and scenic moorland. Your adventure starts in the small town of Craigellachie at the heart of malt whisky country. This 39-mile whisky trail guides you through the naturally rich Spey Valley. You will then walk through mixed woodland, farmland and moorland. A history of illicit whisky production and smuggling is survived by smugglers trails that afford intriguing sidewalks through the woods and glens. Passing through the Glenlivet estate, the Speyside Whisky Trail brings you to Tomintoul, where your trip ends.
Speyside Whisky Trail Itinerary
Why walk it?
The scenery is classic Highlands - heather clad moorland, atmospheric woodland (try and spot a capercaillie - a huge woodland grouse!), and the shadow of the Cairngorms. Speyside is a wonderful region, rich with wildlife, and of course, the whisky's not too shabby either. Visit some of the distilleries (or all if you can handle it!) to find out how Scotland makes its world-famous whisky, and how each distillery crafts its unique flavour. Connoisseurs will revel in the opportunity to visit so many distilleries without having to get behind the wheel of a car: Tasting session? Don't mind if I do. Obviously....always enjoy (and walk) responsibly.
Stunning views from Glenlivet Distillery
Visiting Glenfiddich Distillery!
"Really enjoyed this walk, with some truly spectacular scenery. The walking itself wasn't too challenging, the hardest part was finding a toilet along the way!! The guidebook was a bit misleading, saying 'you will walk past Cardhu Distillery' when it was actually a mile off the track. Overall though, we enjoyed fabulous accommodation and a memorable walk. Well organised and thoroughly enjoyable."
"The trip and the walk were a fantastic experience: Great countryside, nice towns, interesting distilleries. Macs did a very good job organizing; everything worked, on-time. Their hotels and taxis were there exactly as planned without us having to confirm anything (...). The whole trip was perfectly organised with no glitches".
Read more customer reviews about this trip here.
Planning and preparation
Aberdeen (3hrs) and Inverness (2hrs) both have airports which are convenient for the Speyside Whisky Trail. To get to the start and finish of the walk you can do it by car or by train:
By Car: Craigellachie is approximately 60 miles and 1.5hrs drive from both Inverness and Aberdeen.
- From Aberdeen: follow the A96 until you get to the village of Huntly, and then take the A920 to Dufftown. From there, take the A944 which will take you to Craigellachie.
- From Inverness: you can take the A96 to Craigellachie.
From Glasgow and Edinburgh: the distance is approximately 170 miles from each with a travelling time up to 4 hours.
- From Glasgow: follow the M9 and A9, and eventually join the A95 to take you to Craigellachie.
- From Edinburgh: follow the M90 and A9, and eventually join the A95 to take you to Craigellachie.
By Rail/Bus: If travelling by bus from Inverness airport you may change buses at Elgin. The overall journey time is approximately 2 hours. If travelling by bus from Aberdeen airport a combination of a bus to Dyce followed by a train to Elgin and a final bus will take approximately 3 hours in total. You may also travel out from Aberdeen town centre by train to Elgin and a bus onto Craigellachie. This journey will take up to 2.5 hours. The provider for the train is Scotrail and the buses are operated by Stagecoach . If you have any questions about this trip, don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com and one of the team will be more than happy to get back to you.