Highland, Northeast Scotland
Distance: 65 miles (105 km)
Time: 8 days (not including Tomintoul Spur)
Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous
Surface: Woodland Paths, Sealed Roads, Forestry Tracks
Opened in 1981, the Speyside Way in northeast Scotland offers reasonably straightforward walking along well-graded tracks and paths with a minimum of demanding ascents and descents. It originally ran only from Ballindalloch to SpeyBay, but today the trail connects the Moray coast with the foothills of the Grampian Mountains, following as closely as it can the valley of the River Spey.
Beginning at Buckie, the well-maintained Speyside Way trail provides an easy walk through woodlands and the heart of malt whisky country, past the distilleries at Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. You can also include a visit to Ballindalloch Castle, the “Pearl of the North” and home to the Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The section that follows, from Ballindalloch to Grantown, is the most demanding, with several steep gradients and two streams to ford that could prove awkward after heavy rains. The trail also takes you along the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains in Cairngorms National Park, along paths that ring the largest area of ground more than 3,000 feet (900 m) to be found anywhere in Britain. The walk also has two spurs, one from Ballindalloch to Tomintoul and the other to Duff town, a total of almost 20 extra miles (30 km).
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