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  • Writer's pictureJan Noordermeer

Hiking the Speyside Way in Scotland

Do you know the Speyside Way in Scotland? The walking route cuts through the whisky region of Speyside and largely follows the River Spey on the abandoned Strathspey Railway through the beautiful Scottish forests. Opened in 1981, the 137km route runs from Buckie on the coast to Aviemore at Cairngorms National Park. There is also an extra stretch that you can walk to Tomintoul, of 25 km.

The route

The Speyside way is not a strenuous hike. The route mostly follows level paths where the Strathspey Railway once stood. The track has been removed and turned into hiking trails. We often still see the tunnels and old stations and it is great fun to walk past them. You pass through forests, along lakes and you see many whisky distilleries. The route starts in the coastal town of Buckie and runs to Aviemore. The plan is to extend the route to Newtonmore in the future. The current 135 km can also be extended by 25 km, by making the extra trip en route to Tomintoul. For walkers with dogs, the stretch between Ballindalloch and Cromdale is something to think about because of the nature. cattle.

Depending on the distance you want to cover per day, you can take the following stages

Stage 1: 16km Buckie to Fochabers

Stage 2: 21km Fochabers to Craigellachie

Stage 3: 19km Craigellachie to Ballindalloch

Stage 4: 21km Ballindalloch to Grantown

Stage 5: 27km Grantown to Aviemore

Whisky distilleries

During the route you will pass many whisky distilleries such as Aberlour and Cardhu. Not all distilleries can be visited and some require a detour. The Macallan is one of these and perhaps the largest and most special distillery to see. In addition, the Speyside includes distilleries of Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Glen Grant, Cragganmore, Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet

Speyside Cooperage

While walking you will also come to the Speyside Cooperage, where oak casks in which new single malts begin their maturation process are repaired and treated. The Scotch whisky is often aged in oak barrels that were previously used for bourbon, sherry or port. The taste is largely determined by this. Oak wood is the only type of wood that can make a watertight seal as well as breathe. Of the 45 employees at the Speyside Cooperage in Craigellachie, 14 work as barrel makers. To become a barrel maker you start with an internship of no less than four years. This is because they work according to traditional methods and they perform heavy manual labour. Glue or nails are not used with a barrel. the wooden slats are placed against each other and held together by metal rings, so that they form one watertight whole. As soon as a barrel is ready, each barrel is individually inspected.

Osprey centre

Abernethy is a nature reserve that is ancient, wild and immeasurably special. Nestled in Abernethy, the Loch Garten Nature Center is the perfect place to experience this amazing forest. Loch Garten is a large loch and is known for its breeding population of Ospreys. The visitor center is very nice to visit and you will pass very old pine trees.


Along the way you can spend the night in the many B&Bs or hotels in the area. Do book in time because the places fill up quickly. You can also camp at campsites and you are allowed to camp in the wild. These are the three most important points for wild camping:

  • Respect the interests of others.

  • Take care of the environment.

  • Take responsibility for your own actions.

Hiking holiday

If you also want to walk the Speyside Way, check out our travel offer where we walk the route in eight days.

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