Kinross House
Speyside Way Accommodation

 

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The Speyside Way

Kinross House is ideally located on the Speyside Way which  is one of four official Long Distance Routes in Scotland (the others are the West Highland Way, the Southern Upland Way and the Great Glen Way). It was first opened in 1981, to run from Spey Bay to Ballindalloch, with a spur to Tomintoul being added in 1990. A northern extension from Spey Bay to Buckie followed in 1999, with the route finally being completed between Ballindalloch and Aviemore in April 2000. The route now links the Moray coast with the edge of the Grampian Mountains, generally following the valley of the River Spey. The Speyside Way is jointly managed by the Moray Council and the Highland Council and substantially funded by Scottish Natural Heritage. The Speyside Way Ranger Service, based in Craigellachie, covers all of the route. For an overview of Long Distance Trails in the rest of Britain and Europe, follow these links:- Long Distance Walkers Association and Epaths


The Route

The map shows the extent of the route from Buckie to Aviemore, with spurs to Dufftown and Tomintoul, a total distance of 84 miles (135km)

The Speyside Way is primarily intended as a walking route, and 5 - 7 days should be allowed for your trip (more if you intend visiting the many distilleries and other attractions along the wayside!) We recommend that you start at the north end, where the going is easiest, and make your way south towards the hills. Leaving Buckie (Buckpool harbour) the route follows the shore to Portgordon, then by old railway and forest path to Speybay, at the mouth of the river. The route then passes the Tugnet Ice House and from there to Fochabers (5m/8km) follows riverside tracks. From Fochabers to Boat o' Brig (5m/8km) walking is on a very minor tarred road. Boat o' Brig to Craigellachie (8m/13km) too has some tarred road (at the Craigellachie end of the section), but most of this stage is over forest roads as it climbs round the shoulder of Ben Aigen through the Craigellachie Forest. At Craigellachie, the trackbed of the former Strathspey Railway is joined, and you have the choice of turning SE towards Dufftown at the end of the 'spur' which runs up the valley of the Fiddich, or continuing south on the old railway through Aberlour and Carron towards Blacksboat and Ballindalloch. From Ballindalloch, don't miss out on the opportunity to tackle the 15m/24km spur to Tomintoul, a route which rises twice to 1800ft/550m, giving superb views over the hills and farmland of upper Moray and into the heart of the Cairngorms. It is possible, however, to break this part of your journey at Glenlivet (7m/11km from Ballindalloch). If you choose your accommodation carefully in Tomintoul, it should be possible to get a lift back to Ballindalloch to continue your journey next day. From here, a further short section on old railway is followed by a rougher stretch through the Tulchan Estate - strong and waterproof footwear is essential!

The railway is rejoined at Pollowick, and followed into Cromdale, where the Spey is recrossed via the road bridge, and from where forest tracks take you into Grantown-on-Spey. An old military road takes you back to the Spey again, and a crossing via a lovely old bridge, now retired from the stresses of modern traffic. After crossing the A95 again, it's back to old railway to Nethy Bridge, then through the RSPB's Abernethy reserve towards Boat of Garten. From Boat of Garten to Aviemore, you will have the Strathspey Steam Railway for company as you traverse birch woodland, heather moor and pine wood. The Way then enters Aviemore along the village's 'Orbital Footpath', and finishes at the car park by the Police Station.

Though all of the Speyside Way is classed as easy walking, and is well waymarked throughout, it is important to remember that the weather in Scotland is very unpredictable, and that on a bad day (even in summer) conditions on the higher sections may be hostile. Good footwear, effective waterproofs and good planning are necessary.

Further Route Information

A free accommodation and basic information leaflet is also available from the Ranger Service, and from TICs.

Cycling on the Speyside Way

Bicycles are allowed to use the Speyside Way between Fochabers and Ballindalloch, between Craigellachie and Dufftown, and between Nethybridge and Aviemore. Between Boat of Garten and Aviemore, the route is shared with a section of the SUSTRANS millennium cycle way. Bicycles are NOT allowed to use the 'off road' sections between Ballindalloch and Tomintoul, NOR between Ballindalloch and Cromdale. Between Fochabers and Spey Bay, please cycle on the public road (B9104), and between Ballindalloch (Delnapot) and Cromdale use the B9102. Cyclists are asked to ensure that they use the route in a way which does not cause damage to the track surface, or cause inconvenience or danger to users on foot or horseback. A Code of Conduct applies.

Horseriding on the Speyside Way

Horses are permitted on the Speyside Way between Dufftown and Ballindalloch (ie the old railway line). Riders must be prepared to negotiate fords in two places, and a number of low, single rail stiles. Limited parking for horseboxes is available at Craigellachie and Ballindalloch. Large groups of riders should contact the Ranger in advance. Again, a Code of Conduct applies.

Public Transport.

There are railway stations in Elgin and Aviemore from where connections can be made to the rest of the UK. The Edinburgh/Glasgow bus service passes through Aviemore. Buses also connect Elgin with Aberdeen and Inverness, and from Elgin there is a regular service to Aberlour, Craigellachie and Dufftown. South of Aberlour, however, services are much less frequent, and getting to and from Tomintoul by bus requires more perseverance and the help of some local knowledge! There is a local (infrequent) bus service linking Aviemore with Grantown on Spey. For more information, see our Public Transport Guide

Dogs

Dogs under close control are welcome on most of the route, but because of the likelihood of encountering livestock, DO NOT take your dog on the section between Ballindalloch and Cromdale. This is for your own safety, and that of your dog. Cattle, whilst ignoring humans themselves, will readily chase their canine companions, and this can be very alarming and dangerous. (If there is no alternative to taking your dog on holiday with you, you can at a pinch bypass this section by following the B9102 from Delnapot to Cromdale) On all other parts of the route if your dog should foul the path, please take a minute to clear up the mess.

Accommodation

An accommodation list is published by The Speyside Way (and is available from the Ranger Service) to help you with your plans. Please note that several of the accommodation providers will transport you to and from prearranged locations - this is very useful if you plan a break in your journey where no accommodation is available. See also the list of campsites available.