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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

Self guided Blue graded walking holidays are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. Walking at a good pace you can expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. You will be following a trail but should understand how to follow a hiking map with at least basic navigation skills. Daily distances will vary – typically up to 20km but may be longer occasionally, or often on the more challenging trips in the grade. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.

Trail conditions will vary from well laid and maintained sections of gravel track to rough and rocky sections including muddy and wet areas. Short sections may be on tarmac.

ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

At each stage of your trek we will arrange accommodation for you to stay that night. The accommodations range from small guesthouses, Highland inns, small hotels and bed and breakfast establishments which will be of a 3 or 4 star standard. Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to a number of factors – charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing Highland hospitality. We do not use accommodations we have not personally visited.

If you choose the upgraded accommodation option we will reserve the best available accommodation option in each location for you. However, in some areas, accommodation is very limited so the choice is restricted. Where this is the case we will book the best quality room available for you. If you wish to choose upgraded accommodation please call us to book – this is not available online.

Accommodation will be reserved on a Bed & Breakfast basis – lunches and evening meals are not included. Local shops sell sandwiches and snacks for the day ahead. Many guest houses will also be able to provide a packed lunch for you if you ask them the night before. In the evenings, meals can be taken in local restaurants, hotels or bars.

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.

Following the banks of the River Spey, this 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. Hiking through villages, woods and rural riverlands, the path is fairly quiet so you won’t be sharing it with many other hikers and will often find that you have it to yourself.

Extra Nights and Accommodation Upgrades

You also have the option to choose the following upgrades and extra nights.

  • Upgraded accommodation package – we will reserve the best rooms available along the route including first night at 5 star Rocpool Reserve – £1,275 per person
  • Add an extra night to your trip – ideal for a rest day of to spend more time for detours such as distillery visits. The additional charge is £65 per person, £90 per person if upgraded accommodation.

Trip Itinerary – The Speyside Way

Day 1 – Arrive in Inverness

On the first day of your trip you travel to Inverness and spend the night here, which is included in your trip price. Tomorrow you head to Buckie to start the hike.

Day 2 – Transfer to Buckie then hike to Fochabers

From Inverness you take the train (journey of less than an hour) to Elgin. Here a pre-arranged taxi will meet you and transfer you to Buckie for the start of the walk. Your luggage is transferred ahead to your accommodation. Please note the train is not included in the cost of your trip and will need to be arranged in advance.

Setting out on the walk now, you follow the coastline westwards enjoying sea views from Buckie to reach the River Spey at Spey Bay. Then turning south you begin your trek along the river banks, with your first night’s stop in Fochabers. Today is an easy day with little ascent – perfect for a warm up for what lies ahead!

Distance: 17.5km Ascent: 65m

Day 3 – Fochabers to Craigellachie

Today is more challenging with undulating countryside meaning more ascent and descent. You start by following quiet country roads through forested lands overlooking the river. After passing a bridge at Boat o’ Brig you then get off the road and enter attractive woodland as you walk across the lower flanks of Ben Aigan. This is the more challenging section with more ascent, but then it’s all downhill to your accommodation at Craigellachie.

Distance: 21km Ascent: 490m

Day 4 – Craigellachie to Ballindalloch

Today’s section of the trail is a lovely hike on easy terrain, following the banks of the river with sections along the old former railway line, which is now a flat and grassy track – meaning there is very little ascent today! You’re also in prime whisky country now, so you may even like to consider stopping off to visit a distillery today. Aberlour is a good choice! At the very least, you can look forward to a local dram with dinner tonight, wherever you eat.

Distance: 19km Ascent: 48m

Day 5 – Ballindalloch to Grantown-on-Spey

Today will be the most strenuous day of the trip with a longer distance and undulating terrain. The path today is a mixture of paths and some more disused railway, but it can be boggy for short sections. Today you will enter the Cairngorms National Park, with the mountains growing clearer and closer in the distance. Enjoy good views of the heathery hills and old woodlands as you hike today, including the beautiful community owned Anagach Pinewoods as you arrive for tonight’s halt at Grantown-on-Spey.

Distance: 24km Ascent: 500m

Day 6 – Grantown-on-Spey to Boat of Garten

You’re now into the national park and today should be a very enjoyable hike, surrounded by gorgeous scenery. You start off following more old railway to the charming village of Nethybridge. After Nethybridge you enter the northern part of Abernethy Forest – a huge nature reserve owned by the RSPB. It’s a great section to look out for wildlife including red squirrels, and with good forest trails until a short section of road takes you over the river Spey once more and the lovely village of Boat of Garten.

Distance: 17.5km Ascent: 90m

Day 7 – Boat of Garten to Aviemore

The final section of the route to Aviemore is a short and easy hike to finish your Speyside Way adventure – easily done in a morning or afternoon. If you would like to extend the walk to make a full day of it you could first hike back into Abernethy Forest to see Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie – a great place to spot Osprey – before heading back to Boat of Garten. Or, get to Aviemore a bit earlier and maybe take a ride on the steam railway!

Setting out for Aviemore you’ll hike along a good track with glorious views of the mountains. The path goes through lovely birchwoods and open moorland, and you can keep an eye out for the Strathspey Railway steam locomotive going by. Arriving in Aviemore at your final guesthouse you can look forward to a celebration dinner tonight – you’ve done it!

Distance: 10km excluding the lochs detour Ascent: 50m

Day 8 – Depart Aviemore

After breakfast this morning you can start your journey homeward. If going south to Edinburgh or Glasgow you can head directly from Aviemore on the train or bus. Alternatively if heading for London or elsewhere you can head north to Inverness to catch a connecting flight from Inverness Airport.

PLEASE NOTE: Total daily distances are given for each stage but will vary slightly as you also need to walk to your accommodation each day which will usually add a short distance.

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Price from: £745

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 4.92 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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