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Self Guided – Speyside Way

  • Hike the Speyside Way from the sea to the Cairngorms National Park – home to some of the highest mountains in Scotland
  • Enjoy the satisfaction of hiking from point to point each day, covering over 65 miles along the trail
  • Visit some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries, many of which are located along the route of the Speyside Way
  • 7 nights’ accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis in Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts, Small Hotels and Inns along the route, based on two people sharing a twin or double room.
  • Luggage transfer for the duration of the trip, meaning you will only have to carry a day rucksack
  • Taxi transfer from Elgin to Buckie on Day 1
  • Route notes which include a map and full directions to your accommodation
  • The services of the Wilderness Scotland Team prior to & during your trip

Blue Graded Self Guided Holidays 4-6

Our Blue graded walking holidays involve climbing some of Scotland’s best mountains and ridges. The walks are conducted at a good pace and you may be out hiking for 8 or 9 hours a day. The terrain underfoot can be anything from stalker’s paths to rough or boggy ground, boulder fields and mountain tops.

The daily walks will occasionally involve a mountain ascent of over 3000ft / 900m high. To help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:

Can you comfortably hike for 10+ miles (16+km), climbing mountains and covering a variety of challenging underfoot conditions? How often do you do this?

Accommodation

Our self-guided walking and hiking holidays feature a wide range of accommodation – very much depending on the remoteness of the region. This includes small hotels, guest houses and traditional B+Bs.

Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to a number of factors – charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing Highland hospitality. Establishments range from small guesthouses and bed and breakfasts to Inns and country hotels. Many are small, owner-managed establishments where you can be assured of a highly personal service.

Wherever they are available, we will reserve en suite rooms for you. However, these may not be available in the high season, especially if you are booking your holiday at the last minute, so we cannot guarantee that all of your accommodation will be en-suite. We will, however, advise you wherever possible if this is the case.

Single Supplement

As a pair you will be expected to share a twin or double room on this trip. It may be possible to book a single room, provided one is available. Please request this at the time of booking and we will let you know if one is available. If a single room is required the supplement is £160 per person – please see booking form terms and conditions.

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 11

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Rita Hamilton 21/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Julie and David were very responsive a charming. I loved them both.
Trip Comments
So many amazing sights and people. Don't tell anybody but the 65mile Speyside Way trek was actually 85 miles when you include the trips to and from the trail heads. Ian and Dian were the Prince and Princess of the B&B's. Also Jonathan was extraordinarily fabulous. We loved the fresh human sized heart laying in the middle of the path. Some humorous Scot got our attention with that little amazement. The spectacular scenery revived us after huffing and puffing up the super steep hills. The goat paths on the Speyside Way were something we will never forget! We were enchanted by the Harry Potter and Hobbit scenes we passed through several times. We never knew what would be next to delight our senses. Thank goodness our 1980's children were rallying their 1940's parents. We couldn't have done it without these cheerleaders!
Accommodation and Food
We were greeted royally by the folks at Strathness House and loved being beside the fast moving River Ness and the Young Ness Bridge. We were so grateful for Prince Ian giving us a lift to the picturesque Trochelhill Victorian Country House at Fochabers. Exquisite accommodations and breakfast. Princess Dian made us new when she freshened our soiled clothes overnight and put them by our morning door. Jack and I were without our luggage from Saturday till Wednesday so you know our clothes needed freshening up. Delta Airlines cooperation has heard from us. Dian packaged our left over pizza from the evening before. It was a perfect lunch that day while resting on benches atop a ridge overlooking the River Spey Valley. We could see the Moray Firth and the ships and boats on the water from our perch. We got a call from our Florida Daughter and family who had evacuated from the Tampa area to our home in Augusta Ga due to Hurricane IRMA. Craigellachie Lodge had a deep bathtub for a welcome steaming soak. We were happy to see our luggage there. As usual, the breakfast was spectacular. We had a lovely trek to Ballindalloch through an adorable little Aberlour Station where we were welcome with a short film about the area and a rest stop. We were exhausted as we approached the Delnashaugh Hotel so far from the Way. Thank goodness there were lovely hosts and guests to sooth our wounds and a nice grog to wet our tongues. Dinner and soaking bath were very welcome. The next day was our biggest challenge. After the 'goat paths' we were disappointed to have only a shower to sooth us. I sat in the shower and used the sprayer on my feet. Grantown on Spey has a nice co-op where we found a few items we needed. The trek to At Boat of Garten was next to the last day of trekking. We relished the views and the time spent outdoors all day close to the earth. As we neared the Boat Hotel I looked forward to a relaxing soak. The chef was double tasking and showed us to our room. I was having a nice soak before dinner when Jack informed me we were in the wrong suite and were required to move which I found impossible to do after 5 days of trekking. Thank goodness just as I was able to extract myself from the comfort of the water, Jack found the snafu had been resolved. The last day was a short day much to my body's relief. As we more casually strolled the miles we found a lovely butcher shop in an adorable village. I got a bag of the best Licorice I have ever tasted.
Your Guide
We were a self-guided tour. Our guides were your incredible map, the way markers and the rainproof Rucksack Reader. Our 30 year old children led us the entire way. Jack and I were celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary in our early/mid 70s.
The Bottom Line
As I was saying earlier, the licorice was delicious. I want more! The 4 of us finished it. It is called RJ's Natural Licorice. Sooo, we arrived in Aviemore where Jonathan greeted us and told us how our luggage had arrived at Ravenscraig a day early and he took it upon himself to drive it to us in Boat fo Garten unbeknownst to us. What a Prince! He was charming. Jill was lovely as well. We were able to use the laundry and freshness our clothes. We had dinner at the Bridge Inn and played a game of Euchre at the table there. The accommodations were outstanding and gracious. The breakfast was scrumptious. We took the early train to Glasgow. Marriott.

by Terry Hill 07/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
We feel that there could be more direction markers and that they should be more obvious.
The Bottom Line
All the accomodation was very good and the people very pleasant.
We are both regular walkers but we found the walk challenging in terms of distance.
Apart from not receiving our walking guide before we left our country the staff were excellent in assuring that our guide was delivered to our first accomodation in Scotland.

by Michael Thomas 08/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Everything worked as the detailed trip notes
Accommodation and Food
All good the pick was Speybank B & B at Craigellachie
Your Guide
Route notes were very good. However the distance nominated for Day 5 Ballindoch to Grant Town on Spey needs to be reviewed as it could be shorter than actual
The Bottom Line
Well organised and all pre- trip organisation well done. Good choice of Hotels and B & b's all friendly and helpful.

by Gary Thomas 03/05/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
On line payment system would be a useful addition
Trip Comments
Great walk, great accommodation and transfers
Accommodation and Food
All were tag a very high standard
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Hank Steuten 03/05/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Everything done was excellent.
Just had to chase up a bit
Trip Comments
It was all excellent except for the weather. So no complaints on the organisation which was seamless and perfect
Accommodation and Food
Great accomodation choices each night.
Your Guide
Guide notes were very good with a small exception on the leg to Grantown. Listed distance showed 21 km. Best info from several walkers and their apps was closer to 26.5km. Of course it rained that day so the extra distance was noticed. :-)
The Bottom Line
Well organised, well planned and beautifully executed walk. Very pleased to have done it.

by Yvonne Gaudelius 23/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Information was easy to find, the website is well organized, and questions were answered promptly.
Trip Comments
We had an excellent time doing the self-guided Speyside Way walk. All of the information we needed was easy to find, the accommodations were great, and the walk was lovely.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
We were on a self-guided walk and could easily find all of the information we needed.
The Bottom Line
Great experience, both in the lead up to the walk and in the walk. The walk was as described in terms of difficulty and the route was easy to follow. All of the details were taken care of so that we could enjoy the walking!

by Nigel Higson 16/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
At one or two points more information about lunch and dinner possibilities would have been helpful. For example, there were few opportunities to buy lunch during the walks, and at Boat of Garten, dinner at a restaurant was an impossibility without a reservation. No problem in our case, but I can imagine people being caught out by this.
Trip Comments
Outstanding weather! While the rest of Europe was knee-deep in rain the route was dry.
Accommodation and Food
Weakest point was Fochabers, but they quality was still acceptable there.
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
Overall verdict: a truly rewarding experience, We are only occasional walkers, and the route provided just the right degree of challenge. People were friendly and helpful everywhere, good food was to be had at nearly every point along the route, and the scenery was magnificent.

by Karen Mosher 27/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Info package was complete and comprehensive; could have been more explicit that we needed to make our own arrangements to travel from Inverness to Elgin on Day 1.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Highlights were acccommodation in Fochabers and Ballindalloch. Lowlights--food in Fochabers and guesthouse in Inverness.
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
We enjoyed our trip; there are lots of other great places to hike, though, and we might look for something with more consistently good food and less mud!

by 09/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Friendly tone of emails, very quick responses
Trip Comments
Excellent notes, great B&B hosts, no problems
Accommodation and Food
Breakfasts all good
Your Guide
Interesting, informative notes
The Bottom Line
We chose WS after a glowing recommendation from a Scottish walker. Great choice, especially for an international guest on the other side of the world.

by Diane McPhail 01/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Thanks to Rachel for making absolutely sure we received our package in plenty of time (not all travel companies manage to do this!)
Trip Comments
Great vistas, beautiful forests, friendly locals, delightful B&B hosts.
Accommodation and Food
No problems
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

Trip Details

The Speyside Way covers just over 100 kilometres (65 miles) from the fishing village of Buckie on the Moray coast to the village of Aviemore, in the foothills of the great Cairngorm Mountains.

The Speyside Way trail follows the banks of the River Spey, often along disused railway lines as it makes its way from the sea to the Cairngorms National Park.

The scenery of the Speyside Way is diverse and beautiful. Leaving the coast behind, you pass through rural farmland, open moorland and finally arrive in the mountains. Speyside being the centre for whisky making in Scotland, you pass by many distilleries along the way. You will also find several charming disused railway stations, which are a lovely place to stop for lunch.

The Speyside Way is the easiest of our long distance hiking routes. However, it still presents a good challenge and offers enjoyable walking and hiking through a changing landscape. Although it is not a wilderness trek, the trail itself is fairly quiet so you won’t be sharing it with many other hikers and will often find that you have it to yourself.

On this self-guided trip, we arrange your accommodation each evening and baggage transfer, as well as supplying you with detailed route notes and maps so that you get the most out of this wonderful hiking trail through Speyside.

Upgraded Accommodation: We can also offer you an upgraded accommodation package along the route including the first night at 5 star Rocpool Reserve in Inverness. The additional cost for this brings the total to £1190 per person.

Trip Itinerary – The Speyside Way

Day 1 -Arrive Inverness

Today you’ll make your own way to Inverness where you’ll spend the night at your first guesthouse of your trip.

Day 2 – Buckie to Fochabers

From Inverness, a train journey of less than one hour takes you to Elgin. From here, we arrange for a taxi to meet you and transfer you to Buckie for the start of the Speyside Way trail. Your luggage is transferred ahead to your accommodation. You follow the coastline westwards from Buckie to reach the River Spey at Spey Bay. Turning south, you begin your trek along the river banks, with your first night’s stop being in Fochabers.

Distance 16km

Day 3 – Fochabers to Craigellachie

The Highland scenery opens up as you hike southwards along the Spey. Towards the end of the day you skirt around the base of Ben Aigen before reaching your accommodation at Craigellachie.

Distance 21km

Day 4 – Craigellachie to Ballindalloch

As the river turns eastwards, so does the trail. This is prime whisky country, so try not to get distracted by too many distilleries – but do enjoy a well deserved dram at the end of the day as you’re now more than halfway along the Speyside Way!

Distance 19km

Day 5 – Ballindalloch to Grantown on Spey

The scenery becomes more mountainous today, with the Cromdale hills to the south and the main Cairngorm plateau just a short distance beyond. The trail, however, follows the river banks until it reaches the popular village of Grantown on Spey.

Distance 21km

Day 6 – Grantown on Spey to Boat of Garten

The trail mostly follows an old railway line, with some sections on forest trails too. You are now in the upper Spey Valley and the forests of Scots Pine are home to many species which are fairly common here but rare in other parts of Scotland. Look out for red squirrels!

Distance 18km

Day 7 – Boat of Garten to Aviemore

The final day of hiking is a short one so many hikers choose to extend it slightly by visiting Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie, which are located close to Boat of Garten. These beautiful lochs are great for wildlife, including osprey. These magnificent birds can usually be seen at a nature reserve next to Loch Garten.

Arriving in Aviemore at the end of the trek, you will feel satisfied, invigorated and, perhaps, that it is time to celebrate completing the beautiful Speyside Way long distance walk! Check in to your comfortable accommodation and treat yourself to a special dinner in a local restaurant.

Distance 10km excluding the lochs detour

Day 8 – Depart

A simple train ride takes you back to Inverness in less than 1 hour from Aviemore to complete the journey. Alternatively if you are heading south toward Edinburgh, Glasgow or beyond you can head direct from Aviemore without going back to Inverness.

For a detailed itinerary and trips information please see our PDF Trip Dossier

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Price from: £715

Duration: 7 night(s)

No. of Travellers:   Date:

Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 4

12 review(s)

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
As I was saying earlier, the licorice was delicious. I want more! The 4 of us finished it. It is called RJ's Natural Licorice. Sooo, we arrived in Aviemore where Jonathan greeted us and told us how our luggage had arrived at Ravenscraig a day early and he took it upon himself to drive it to us in Boat fo Garten unbeknownst to us. What a Prince! He was charming. Jill was lovely as well. We were able to use the laundry and freshness our clothes. We had dinner at the Bridge Inn and played a game of Euchre at the table there. The accommodations were outstanding and gracious. The breakfast was scrumptious. We took the early train to Glasgow. Marriott.

Rita Hamilton
21/09/2017

5

All the accomodation was very good and the people very pleasant.
We are both regular walkers but we found the walk challenging in terms of distance.
Apart from not receiving our walking guide before we left our country the staff were excellent in assuring that our guide was delivered to our first accomodation in Scotland.

Terry Hill
07/09/2017

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 12 review(s) of Self Guided – Speyside Way

5 star 11

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

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