United Kingdom : Scotland

Walking the Speyside Way

Trip code: W06SP 4 (1 reviews)

Self-guided walking

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

14.0Kg CO2e

Navigation App

SUMMARY

  • A first-class introduction to Scottish Highland walking, offering a level route, stretching from the coast to the Highland resort of Aviemore
  • Journey across spectacular countryside, following the mighty River Spey and taking in the Cairngorm and Grampian Mountains
  • Experience iconic Scottish scenery, picturesque villages and numerous castles along the way
  • Ample opportunity for birdwatching, seal and dolphin spotting and a host of other activities in the Cairngorms
  • Visit some of the numerous distilleries in Scotland's most famous whisky region
  • Optional add-ons in Aviemore

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts
  • Briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Navigation app
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

TRIP DESCRIPTION

A fabulous introduction to Scottish hiking, the Speyside Way was created in 1981 and stretches from Buckie on the Moray Firth, to Aviemore - the most famous of Highland resorts. There are also two extra options to Dufftown and Tomintoul that can be added on for those who would like a further challenge. Generally flat but with two quite challenging climbs, the walk is suitable for families with older children, as well as anyone with a general good level of fitness and has something for everyone. From impressive mountain scenery to gentle river paths, the route provides rich and varied bird-watching opportunities, seal and dolphin spotting, as well as a huge variety of distilleries for the whisky connoisseur.

Starting in the coastal village of Buckie and ending in the remarkable location of the Cairngorms National Park, your route will follow the clearly marked Speyside Way, enjoying the forest trails, river paths and old railway tracks, taking in the views of the Spey Valley, visiting small villages of Aberlour and Ballindalloch, onto the birch woods surrounding Strathspey and Cromdale, before reaching your destination of Aviemore. A thriving and popular tourist destination, with year-round visitors due to the Cairngorms ski centre, it's very tempting to add on a few days at the end of the walk, just to make the most of the incredible range of activities and the welcoming atmosphere of the town and its inhabitants.

Your evenings will be spent in the company of fellow walkers from all around the world, experiencing quality hotels, offering the very best of Scottish hospitality. All accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis, with evening meals and picnic lunches easily available either at your hotel, or in the nearby village.

Terrain

Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes, farm tracks and rural paths. Walking boots are essential. Walking poles are recommended.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrival in Buckie

Spend a relaxing evening at your hotel in Buckie, a small fishing village on the banks of the Moray Firth, the starting point for the Speyside Way. Your hotel tonight is the Kintrae House (or similar).

You stay at Kintrae House.

hotel details

 equivalent

Kintrae House, Buckie

TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


Occupying a beautiful period Victorian building, Kintrae Bed & Breakfast has a lovely position right on the Moray Coast, in the historic fishing town of Buckie. The guesthouse has a lovely sun terrace from which dolphins and whales have been spotted and there are plenty of eateries and shops right on your doorstep. The rooms come with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV, and there is a fitness centre and a shared lounge for the guests, fully equipped with books, games and DVD's.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 2: Buckie to Fochabers (16km/9.9mi)

Start your journey in the centre of Buckie, follow the signs through the village to reach the shore of the Moray Firth keeping an eye out for the grey and common seals that can occasionally be seen here. The track leads on to the Spey Bay Hotel and its former icehouse, which is now the Scottish Dolphin Wildlife Centre where bottlenose dolphins are studied. Continuing alongside the Alder woodland of the river mouth, you will eventually come to the river Spey keeping straight on the path until you reach Fochabers, for your overnight stay at the Gordon Arms (or similar).

You stay at Gordon Arms.

hotel details

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Gordon Arms, Fochabers

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


The 16 room Gordon Arms is a former coaching inn and famed for its hospitality in the area. Ideally located for the Speyside Way and with many whisky distilleries very nearby. A characterful inn, there is a lounge for guests, restaurant serving homemade local specialities and also the Ghillies Bar, with the beer garden providing a lovely area for al fresco dining in the summer months. All the rooms have en-suite facilities, freeview TVs and tea/coffee making facilities and a full English or Irish breakfast is supplied.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 3: Fochabers to Craigellachie (21km/13.0mi)

This morning you will leave Fochabers and re-join the Speyside Way, with today's walk providing a varied terrain of tarred road, woodland paths and forestry tracks. After a sharp descent and then a switch-back climb, the path then levels off through woods to reach Boat o' Brig, giving striking views over the Spey Valley. Continuing through farmland and forest, you will soon be able to see Arndilly House, built in 1770 and once the home of the chief of Clan Menzies, before arriving in Craigellachie, but perhaps stopping at the Macallan Distillery before arriving at your hotel for the evening. The Macallan Estate is one of the many whiskey distilleries along the River Spey and is open for visitors on specific days of the week. Stay the night at Bridge View (or similar).

You stay at Bridge View.

hotel details

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Bridge View , Craigellachie

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


Providing a warm welcome since 1993, the Bridge View Bed & Breakfast has a gorgeous location, overlooking the River Spey in Craigellachie. Offering traditional rooms with all mod cons, the furnishings are extremely comfortable and stylish, and most rooms have lovely views of the countryside and town. Breakfast is provided and there are plenty of eateries within easy walking distance.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 4: Craigellachie to Ballindalloch (19km/11.8mi)

Today's route is an easy trail, starting out along the River Spey where many fishermen can be seen hoping for a catch, and then following an old derelict railway line towards Aberlour. The town has many lovely shops and a good number of eateries for you to stop and have a break before continuing along the railway. Continue to reach woodland, passing the Dailuaine Distillery Treatment Plant, one of the oldest in Speyside, before the Bridge of Carron with exceptional views of the river. Further along the track you will arrive at Knockando (House) Distillery and just further on the Tamdhu Distillery before the route meanders through beautiful birch woods and fields, eventually reaching Ballindalloch, known for its castle and of course, its distillery! The hotel for your stay tonight is the Delnashaugh Hotel (or similar).

You stay at Delnashaugh Hotel.

hotel details

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Delnashaugh Hotel, Ballindalloch

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


Fabulous hospitality, food and a magical location nestling within the wooded glens of Ballindalloch Castle are just three reasons we have chosen the Delnashaugh hotel. This historic inn has for centuries provided hearty meals, refreshing ales and comfortable accommodation for visitors to the area. The comfortable rooms are stylish and peaceful, all en suite with TV, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities and complimentary toiletries.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 5: Ballindalloch to Grantown-on-Spey (21km/13.0mi)

Probably the most challenging walk along the route, you will depart Ballindalloch this morning, and continue the old railway line past Cragganmore Distillery. With ravishing views to Ben Rinnes, the route follows along through birch woods, with plenty of ascents and descents, onto more open boggy ground, with the occasional stepping stone to help you along. Climb up the grassy path then descend steeply to meet a harder-surfaced track heading into the Woods of Knockfrink, with good views over Strathspey, and then entering the Cairngorms National Park. Continue to re-join the old railway line for a time, the route leads to Meiklepark Wood, past the former Cromdale Station, built in 1863 and now a private rental holiday home, and Cromdale Old Kirk with its gorgeous location on the river Spey. After enjoying the beauty of the beautiful native Scots pine Anagach Woods, home to rare capercaillie birds, you will arrive at Grantown on Spey, your next rest stop the Willowbank Guest House (or similar).

You stay at Willowbank Guest House.

hotel details

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Willowbank Guesthouse, Grantown on Spey

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


Situated in a quiet location but near to shops and eateries, the Willowbank Guesthouse dates back to 1858 and provides a welcome rest stop for visitors. The rooms are comfortable rooms and quiet, with a full and wholesome Scottish breakfast provided to start your day. The guesthouse has been lovingly restored and retains many of the 19th century features, such as the staircase and corniches, but has all the mod cons and comfort you will require such as Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV's and a lounge for guests use.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 6: Grantown-on-Spey to Aviemore (28km/17.4mi)

Your final day begins with a gentle walk, again along the old railway line as far as Nethy Bridge, then along the route of an old military road towards the nature reserve woodland at Abernethy. It is worth a detour to visit the RSPB Osprey Centre at nearby Loch Garten, as you may also be lucky to see the elusive capercaillie, a crested tit or one of the many other species of birds who live here. Next you will come to the Boat of Garten, also known as the Osprey Village, and as you walk to more open ground, the Cairngorms come into view beside the track of the steam railway which runs regular trains between Aviemore and Broomhill. A trip on the Strathspey Railway can easily be fitted into your day. Across beautiful heather heathland, you will follow the signs for Kinchurdy, passing a golf course close with breath taking scenery of the Cairngorms behind. Cross the bridge and follow the sign for Aviemore Centre, where your journey on the Speyside Way comes to its conclusion. Enjoy a well-deserved break at your Aviemore hotel the Eriskay Guesthouse (or similar),

You stay at Eriskay Guest House.

hotel details

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Eriskay Guesthouse, Aviemore

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


Eriskay is a family run guesthouse, situated in the town of Aviemore, capital of the Cairngorms and the perfect place to end your walk. Each room has en-suite shower room, TV and tea/coffee making facilities and breakfast is provided of course. With a wealth of activities in the area, you will probably want to extend your stay and make the most of this wonderful location.

Should this accommodation not be available, an alternative of the same standard will be used

Day 7: Leave Aviemore

Depart your hotel to begin your journey home or add on a few extra days to make the most of the many activities and attractions of Aviemore.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

Show prices including flights and onward rail?  

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £334.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £334.

This holiday is based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Business/club/first class fares
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Standard transfers
On arrival transfers can be arranged from Aberdeen or Inverness airport or train station to Buckie, for a supplement. At the end of the trip, transfers can be arranged from your Aviemore hotel to the train station for a supplement.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we open again 9am Monday) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

A variety of walking from disused railway trackbeds to hill and forest. 95% of the route was on fenced pathway so little concern about encounters with cattle or horses, which I know some would worry about. Accommodation was first class.

FENNELL, 28 Jun 2023

 


Self-guided walking

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

14.0Kg CO2e

Navigation App

6 nights from £1079

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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