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Walk the Speyside Way, Dava Way and Moray Coast Trail with a Cicerone guidebook - Maps and Photos

Cover of The Speyside Way
15 Dec 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
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The Speyside Way

A Scottish Great Trail, includes the Dava Way and Moray Coast trails

by Alan Castle
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to Scotland's Speyside Way, a 66 mile walk which follows the River Spey from Aviemore to Buckie. Divided into 10 stages, which range from 2 to 11 miles, the Speyside Way can be linked to the Dava Way and Moray Coast Trail, which are also described. Includes information on accommodation and a separate booklet of 1:25,000 maps.

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Weight: 330g

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This guidebook describes the Speyside Way, one of Scotland's Great Trails that follows the River Spey for 66 mile (106km) through northern Scotland from Aviemore to the old port of Buckie on the Moray coast. Featuring easy walking on good paths and along disused railway lines, the route can be comfortably completed in a week and is presented in 10 stages of between 2 and 13 miles (3-21km).

The guide also details the recently opened 6½-mile (10.5km) extension to the Speyside Way between Kincraig and Aviemore as well as two alternatives to the main route and routes to the source of the Spey. Also featured are three other trails in the same region which can be combined with the Speyside Way to form a longer trek: the 25 mile (40km) Dava Way, 47 mile (76km) Moray Coast Trail and 12½ mile (20km) Badenoch Way. 

Alongside detailed route description, the guide includes background information, local points of interest (including a list of distilleries!), tips on transport and accommodation and recommendations for mountain-bikers and riders, who can follow stretches of the route. A handy booklet containing all the OS 1:25,000 Explorer mapping needed to complete the Speyside Way is located in the back cover sleeve.

The Spey is Scotland's third longest river, famed for its salmon and its distilleries. Rising in the Monadhliath Mountains, it flows through remote glens to the Highland resort of Aviemore, surrounded by the wild Cairngorms. From there, the Speyside Way follows the river's course through the countryside, forests and small towns of Strathspey and Moray to reach its mouth on the Moray Firth and the unique shingle systems at Spey Bay.   

  • Activities
    Walking, hiking, trekking. Also mountain-biking, horse-riding
  • Seasons
    The Speyside Way is suitable in all seasons, apart from Prologue which is unsafe in winter except for experienced backpackers; late spring and early autumn particularly good; limited facilities in winter for most locations visited
  • Centres
    Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey, Aberlour, Craigellachie, Fochabers, Tomintoul, Dufftown, Forres, Findhorn, Burghead, Lossiemouth, Findochty, Cullen. Also Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge, Fort Augustus
  • Difficulty
    generally easy and well waymarked trails suitable for walkers of most abilities; Prologue routes are recommended for experienced and well equipped walkers only as they are not waymarked and include trackless routes over remote country
  • Must See
    The Speyside Way, Dava Way, Moray Coast Trail and Moray Way plus wilderness trails to source of Spey; numerous whisky distilleries, disused railway tracks and heritage railways, broad strath of Speyside, scenic coastal fishing settlements and abundant wildlife

November 2017

The water tap at Blacksboat (page 123, Second Edition, 2016) is now labelled as contaminated and not fit for drinking.


The official trails of Speyside and Moray
The routes in this guidebook
The River Spey
When to walk
Which direction to walk
Suggested longer routes
Suggested day walks
Mountain biking and horse riding
Getting there
Public transport
Campsites and wild camping
Tourist information
What to take
Navigation and waymarking
Walking in Scotland
Using this guide
Stage 1 Aviemore to Boat of Garten
Stage 2 Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge
Stage 3 Nethy Bridge to Grantown-on-Spey
Stage 4 Grantown-on-Spey to Cromdale
Stage 5 Cromdale to Ballindalloch station
Stage 6 Ballindalloch station to Aberlour
Stage 7 Aberlour to Craigellachie
Stage 8 Craigellachie to Fochabers
Stage 9 Fochabers to Spey Bay
Stage 10 Spey Bay to Buckie
APPENDIX A Route summary table
APPENDIX B Useful contacts
APPENDIX C Further reading
APPENDIX D Whisky production and Speyside distilleries


Front Cover The track winds through desolate Upper Glen Roy (Prologue) The meandering River Calder in Glen Banchor, north-west of Newtonmore (Prologue) Coastal caves near Covesea (Moray Coast Trail) The River Spey seen from Speybank Walk near Kincraig (Badenoch Way) Daffodils line the Spey by the old bridge at Nethy Bridge (Beryl Castle) (Speyside Way) Luib-chonnal Bothy in Upper Glen Roy (Prologue) The Dava Way follows the disused railway line, heading towards the Bridge of Divie The river near Dalnashallag Bothy Falls of Roy in Upper Glen Roy (Stage 1) Track near Shesgnan, Upper Speyside (Side trip)

This guidebook contains Ordnance Survey mapping of the entire Speyside Way, the Dava Way, the Moray Coast Trail and the other described trails, with the route of each clearly overlaid. Provided no serious navigational errors are made en route, or long detours from the Way are envisaged, then this is the only mapping that is required to walk the trails. However, many walkers will want to carry some general maps of the area in order to identify interesting landscape features along the way and to locate off-route places of interest. They will also be useful if you have to divert from the line of the trail to secure a night's accommodation.

Cyclist on Dava Way alongside Dallas Dhu Distillery (Beryl Castle)

Speyside Way

For the Speyside Way the best strip map (showing at least a mile either side of the route) is the excellent one published by Footprint (see Appendix C). The route of the Speyside Way from Aviemore to Buckie, as well as the spur from Tomintoul, the Dufftown routes and the Badenoch Way, are all included on one sheet at a scale of 1:45,000. An alternative strip map is published by Harvey Maps at a scale of 1:40,000. This is a metric map printed on tough waterproof material and is GPS compatible (but does not mark the Dufftown routes or the Badenoch Way). This map, updated in 2015, includes the recently opened extension from Kincraig to Aviemore.

If more area either side of the trail is required, then the relevant OS maps are the ones to acquire, either at 1:50,000 scale (the Landranger series) or at 1:25,000 scale (Explorer maps).

  • Landranger (covers all the official Speyside Way route, including the Tomintoul Spur): sheets 36 (Grantown & Aviemore) and 28 (Elgin & Dufftown)
  • Explorer (whole route): sheets 403 (Cairn Gorm & Aviemore), 419 (Grantown-on-Spey & Hills of Cromdale) and 424 (Buckie & Keith). Note: all but the first ½ mile from Tomintoul village of the Tomintoul Spur is covered by Explorer sheet 419.

For those who wish to follow an unofficial route from the source of the Spey to the official start of the Speyside Way at Aviemore, additional maps will be required, either Landranger 34 (Fort Augustus) and 35 (Kingussie & Monadhliath Mountains) (the latter map also covers the Badenoch Way), or Explorer maps 401 (Loch Laggan & Creag Meagaidh) and 402 (Badenoch & Upper Strathspey), and possibly, depending on exact route, Explorer sheet 400 (Loch Lochy & Glen Roy).

Dava Way

Landranger maps 36 (Grantown & Aviemore) and 27 (Nairn & Forres) are required to cover the entire length of the Dava Way, but all but the first mile of the route from Grantown-on-Spey is covered by sheet 27. The corresponding Explorer maps for the Dava Way are sheets 419 (Grantown-on-Spey & Hills of Cromdale) and 423 (Elgin, Forres & Lossiemouth). (An appreciable length of the Way is also shown on Explorer sheet 418 (Lochindorb, Grantown-on-Spey & Carrbridge), although there is no part of it that is not also covered by sheet 419.)

Moray Coast Trail

The Moray Coast Trail laps over three Landranger maps, 27 (Nairn & Forres), 28 (Elgin & Dufftown) and 29 (Banff & Huntly). Over three quarters of the trail is covered by Sheet 28, which overlaps Sheet 29, such that the latter is only necessary for the last ½ mile into Cullen at the eastern end of the route. The Explorer alternatives are 423 (Elgin, Forres & Lossiemouth), 424 (Buckie & Keith) and 425 (Huntly & Cullen).

The Moray Way

The Moray Way requires either Landranger maps 36 (Grantown & Aviemore), 27 (Nairn & Forres) and 28 (Elgin & Dufftown) or Explorer maps 419 (Grantown-on-Spey & Hills of Cromdale), 423 (Elgin, Forres & Lossiemouth) and 424 (Buckie & Keith). The Moray Way Association has produced a comprehensive map at 1:80,000 scale that covers the entire Moray Way in significant detail (see Appendix C).

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