The Speyside Way

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

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15 Dec 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm

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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.

Seasons 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 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 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 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
15 Dec 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    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.   

  • Contents

    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

  • Maps

    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

    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).

  • Updates
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    November 2017

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

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Alan Castle

Alan Castle has trekked and cycled in over 30 countries within Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australasia. A member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, he has written 18 guidebooks, several on long-distance mountain routes in France. An erstwhile national secretary and long-distance path information officer of the Long Distance Walkers Association, Alan now lives at the foot of the Moffat Hills in Scotland.

View Guidebooks by Alan Castle