The Speyside Way (Doric: Strathspey Way; Scottish Gaelic: Slighe Shrath Spe) is a long-distance path that follows the River Spey through the scenery of Banffshire, Morayshire and Inverness-shire in Scotland. The route begins in Aviemore and ends at Buckpool harbour in Buckie, some 107 kilometres (66 mi) away.[note 1] Some choose to walk the route from Buckie to Aviemore. There is a spur leading off the main route to Tomintoul bringing the total distance up to 130 kilometres (81 mi). In addition, there is a Dufftown loop option, and other less well-known routes (Badenoch Way, Dava Way, and Moray Coast Trail) can be worked in, all affecting the total distance walked. Sections of the route are open to cycling.
The Way is clearly waymarked with a symbol showing a thistle in a hexagon. The route generally follows the valley of the River Spey, passing some of the distilleries that produce Speyside single malts. The final 5 miles (8 km) from Spey Bay to Buckie follow the coastline.
The route was established in 1981, and is managed by three authorities: Highland Council, Moray Council and the Cairngorms National Park Authority. It is listed as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and links directly to two further Great Trails: the Moray Coast Trail and the Dava Way. About 53,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 3,000 complete the entire route.
A walker on the Tomintoul spur
|Length||107 kilometres (66 mi) to Aviemore / 130 kilometres (81 mi) including the spur to Tomintoul|
|Designation||Scotland's Great Trails|
|Elevation change||1,245 metres (4,085 ft) (excluding Tomintoul spur)|
An extension of the route from Aviemore to Newtonmore follows most of the route of the former Strathspey Railway, lengthening the total route by 34.8 km (21.6 miles), roughly following the route of the River Spey and utilising part of the Sustrans cycle route. The first part of the extension, to Kincraig, was opened in 2015, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority are continuing work to complete the extension to Newtonmore.
The extension was approved in principle by Scottish Ministers in May 2009 and agreement was reached with all but one landowner - the owner of the Kinrara Estate. The Cairngorms National Park Authority resolved in May 2010 to use the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to apply for the route to be implemented against landowner's wishes. In 2012, Scotland's first Path Order was granted, forcing the owner of the Kinrara Estate to allow the path to cross his land. In July 2017 the estate erected locked gates, blocking members of the public who have a right to roam, but the issue was resolved by the following month.
Ben Aigan is a hill in Moray rising to a height of 471m (1546 feet) to the east of the River Spey, which flows along the foot of its western and northern slopes. It lies to the east of Rothes and north east of Craigellachie. The Speyside Way passes over the shoulder of the hill.Buckpool
Buckpool is a village on the coast of Moray, Scotland. Originally known as Nether Buckie it is now effectively a part of the town of Buckie as the nearby fishing settlements merged as they expanded. Buckpool Harbour built in 1857 by local laird, Sir Robert Gordon of Cluny was unpopular due to silting and fishermen moved to the larger Cluny Harbour in Buckie once it was completed by 1877. Buckpool Harbour was filled in with stones from the neighbouring Yardie beach in the 1970s and landscaped into a park. The Harbour now is the start/end of the Speyside Way walking route.Buckpool railway station
Buckpool railway station was a railway station in Buckpool near Buckie in Moray. The railway station was opened by the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNoSR) on its Moray Firth coast line in 1886, served by Aberdeen to Elgin trains. The village and station were originally named Nether Buckie station and the station was renamed 'Buckpool' on 1 January 1887, closing to regular passenger traffic on 7 March 1960, several years before the closure of the line itself in 1968.In 1923 the GNoSR became part of the London and North Eastern Railway and at nationalisation in 1948 became part of British Railways. The line was recommended for closure by Dr Beeching's report "The Reshaping of British Railways" and closed on 6 May 1968.Carron, Strathspey
Carron (Scottish Gaelic: Carrann) is an old distillery village on the north bank of the River Spey in Moray, Scotland.It was the site of the Imperial Distillery until the distillery closed in 1998 and has since been mothballed.
Carron had a station on the Strathspey Railway, until the line closed in the 1960s. The railway line has since become the Speyside Way long-distance path.Cragganmore distillery
Cragganmore is a Scotch whisky distillery situated in the village of Ballindalloch in Banffshire, Scotland.
The distillery was founded in 1869 by John Smith on land leased from Sir George Macpherson-Grant. The site was chosen by Smith both for its proximity to the waters of the Craggan burn and because it was close to the Strathspey Railway. Smith was an experienced distiller, having already been manager of the Macallan, Glenlivet, Glenfarclas and Wishaw distilleries.The Strathspey Railway is now disused and forms the Speyside Way long-distance walking route.
Cragganmore was marketed by United Distillers under their Classic Malts brand. United Distillers has since become a part of Diageo.Craigellachie, Moray
Craigellachie (Gaelic: Creag Eileachaidh) is a small village in Moray, Scotland, at the confluence of the River Spey and River Fiddich (whose valley or glen gives its name to the famous Scotch whisky Glenfiddich), in walking distance of the town of Aberlour.
The name means "Rock of Alarm" and was first applied to the cliff on which much of the village is sited, above the River Spey. Craigellachie dates back to at least 1750, when there was a ferry across the Spey where today's village now stands. It also stands at the intersection of the A95 from Keith to Aberlour and the A941 from Rothes to Dufftown.
Craigellachie has two malt whisky distilleries (Craigellachie and The Macallan) and is home to the Speyside Cooperage.Craigellachie Bridge over the River Spey was built by Thomas Telford between 1812 and 1815. A plaque on one of the castellated towers guarding the entrance to the bridge records that the metalwork was cast in Wales: another that the bridge was restored to this, something like its original condition, in 1964. The bridge is a remarkable piece of engineering, and can be viewed from above or below.
Craigellachie railway station, closed in 1968, provided a link between the Strathspey Railway and the Morayshire Railway (later the Great North of Scotland Railway).
Craigellachie is an important stopping off point on the Speyside Way, a long distance path from Buckie in the north to Aviemore in the south.Dava Way
The Dava Way is a 38-kilometre (24 mi) long-distance path that mostly follows the route of the former Highland Railway between Grantown and Forres. The railway line, built as a route between Inverness and Perth, opened in 1863 and closed in 1965. The route was reopened as a long distance path in 2005. It is listed as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and links directly to two further Great Trails: the Moray Coast Trail and the Speyside Way. It is currently the shortest of the Great Trails, but can be combined with sections of the Moray Coast Trail and Speyside Way to form a 153-kilometre (95 mi) circular route known as the Moray Way. About 3,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 400 complete the entire route.Deeside Way
The Deeside Way is a 66-kilometre (41 mi) rail trail that follows, in part, the bed of the former Deeside Railway. The trail leads along the north bank of the River Dee from Aberdeen to Ballater in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.Garmouth railway station
Garmouth railway station was a railway station in Garmouth, parish of Urquhart, Moray. The railway station was opened by the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNoSR) on its Moray Firth coast line in 1884, served by Aberdeen to Elgin trains. It served the villages of Kingston-on-Spey and Garmouth and closed to regular passenger traffic on 6 May 1968 on the same date as the line itself.In 1923 the GNoSR became part of the London and North Eastern Railway and at nationalisation in 1948 became part of British Railways. The line was recommended for closure by Dr Beeching's report "The Reshaping of British Railways" and closed on 6 May 1968.Kingston, Moray
Kingston on Spey is a small coastal village in Moray, Scotland. It is situated immediately north of Garmouth at the western side of the mouth of the River Spey on the coast of the Moray Firth. Kingston was founded in 1784 and was named after Kingston upon Hull, in East Yorkshire.
Kingston's past includes a large shipbuilding industry started in the 18th century. This utilised the enormous amount of timber from the local surrounding forests. In 1829, some of the village homes were lost in the great flood, the "Muckle Spate".
Because of the dolphins, salmon, otters, osprey, seals and numerous waterfowl and other birds to be seen in the area, Kingston attracts birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts. In addition to the Speyside Way, there are footpaths along the Lein, Burnside, the Browlands towards the village of Garmouth, the Spey Viaduct, and the local stone beaches. The Garmouth & Kingston Golf Club is located between the two villages.Kingussie
Kingussie ( (listen) king-YOO-see; Scottish Gaelic: Ceann a' Ghiùthsaich pronounced [ˈkʲʰaun̪ˠə ˈʝuːs̪ɪç]) is a small town in the Badenoch and Strathspey ward of the Highland council area of Scotland. Historically in Inverness-shire, it lies beside the A9 road, although the old route of the A9 serves as the town's main street which has been bypassed since 1979. Kingussie is 42 miles (68 km) south of Inverness, 12 miles (19 km) south of Aviemore, and 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Newtonmore.Knockando distillery
Knockando distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery, located in Knockando, Moray, in the Strathspey whisky-producing area of Scotland.
Knockando Distillery was built by John Tytler Thomson in 1898, and is named after the village in which it stands. The name derives from Scottish Gaelic Cnoc Cheannachd, meaning "Hill of Commerce". The village is home to a few other small houses and the larger Knockando House, and is surrounded by woods in which there are buzzards, Red Squirrel and Roe Deer. In 1904 the distillery was purchased by W & A Gilbey, a gin producer from London, becoming part of J&B / Grand Metropolitan in the 1960s and 1970s, and is now owned by multinational firm Diageo.
Knockando was the first distillery in Scotland to be built with electric lighting. In 1905 it was linked directly to the Great North of Scotland Railway, which connected Grantown-on-Spey with the main towns of north-east Scotland. Cottages for distillery workers were built nearby, as well as a house for the Customs and Excise Officer. The distillery currently lies near the disused Knockando Station, which is closer to the Tamdhu distillery. The railway has long since been dismantled, and now forms part of the Speyside Way long-distance walk. The old station has been renamed Tamdhu station, as the buildings are used by the distillery for meetings. Tamdhu was never named station the original line.
Knockando Distillery is home to a famous selection of casks which went into the J & B Ultima blend in 1994 to celebrate the quincentennary of Scotch whisky. This blend contained 128 different whiskies (116 Malt & 12 Grain) and 1 of each of these casks is still maturing in the Warehouse.Longmorn
Longmorn (Scottish Gaelic: Lann M'Eàrnain, St Earnain's Church) is a village in Moray, Scotland, famous for its malt whisky distilleries. It lies approximately two and a half miles south of Elgin on the main road from Elgin to Rothes.
This village was once a small railway junction, and the beginning of the Birnie Distillery rail spur; the now disused Elgin to Craigellachie line then continued south to Aviemore and beyond. Longmorn station and its platform still survive and are in good condition. While the station house is lived in, the track is long gone. There are currently moves to clear the track to create a cycle path that would link Elgin to the Speyside Way at Craigellachie and from there to Aviemore and the National Cycle Network.
Most of the village is taken up by the BenRiach distillery (reopened 2004), and the Longmorn distillery. Relatively few people are employed in them and the village is mainly a dormitory of Elgin.Moray Coast Trail
The Moray Coastal Trail is a long distance path in north-east Scotland that along the coastline of the Moray council area. The route, which is 72 km long, runs between Forres and Cullen. It is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), and connects with two further Great Trails: the Speyside Way at Spey Bay, and the Dava Way at Forres. The Moray Coast Trail can be combined with sections of these two routes to form a 153 km circular route known as the Moray Way, and also forms part of the North Sea Trail. The trail is primarily intended for walkers, but many sections are also suitable for cycling and horseriding. An alternative route for cycling, the Moray Coast Ride, shares some sections of path with the Moray Coast Trail, and forms part of the National Cycle Network's Route 1. About 23,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 1,000 complete the entire route.SNH recommend that the trail be walked west to east (from Forres to Cullen), due to the direction of the prevailing winds. In this direction the following settlements are passed: Forres, Kinloss, Findhorn, Burghead, Hopeman, Lossiemouth, Spey Bay, Portgordon, Buckie, Findochty, Portknockie, Cullen. Places of note along the route are the Covesea Skerries Lighthouse and Bow Fiddle Rock.Newtonmore
Newtonmore (Scottish Gaelic: Baile Ùr an t-Sléibh [ˈpal uːɾ ən̪ˠ ˈt̪ʰleːv]) is a village in the Highland council area of Scotland. The village is only a few miles from a location that is claimed to be the exact geographical centre of Scotland.Portgordon
Portgordon, or sometimes Port Gordon, (Scottish Gaelic: Port Ghòrdain) is a village in Moray, Scotland, 2 km south-west of Buckie. It was established in 1797 by Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon as a fishing village. It had a population of 844 at the time of the 2011 census. Currently the Portgordon Community Harbour Group is trying to regenerate the harbour and open a marina.River Spey
The River Spey (Scottish Gaelic: Uisge Spè) is a river in the northeast of Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, as well as the third longest and fastest-flowing river in Scotland. It is important for salmon fishing and whisky production.Spey Bay
Spey Bay (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Spè) is a small settlement in Moray, Scotland. It is situated at the eastern side of the mouth of the River Spey on the coast of the Moray Firth between the village of Kingston on the western side of the Spey, and the fishing port of Buckie to the east.Strathspey Railway (GNoSR)
Strathspey Railway is a historic railway in Scotland that ran from Boat of Garten to Dufftown.
(England and Wales)
|Scotland's Great Trails|