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“A Good Introduction to Distance Walking”

Speyside Way Long Distance Trail
Bolton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A Good Introduction to Distance Walking”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

The route is an excellent introduction to distance walking for younger or inexperienced walkers. The OS map gives lots of helpful advice and it's possible to find out more from a variety of published books before you go and from leaflets found in villages and stopping points on the route itself. It is perfectly possible to divide the route into no more than c.10 mile days and so allow time for breaks, fun stops and diversions, all of which are suitable for younger families. Indeed, a visit to some of the distillery cafes can result in a very pleasant coffee and cake in a warm room served by relaxed (and generous) staff. My son remembered one such visit as the highlight of his trip – a bit of a shock after all the “quality time” we’d spent together 
Provided you DON'T set off with a pack loaded for the Alps, you'll find the walking very easy and pleasant, even when you're enjoying the local liquid sunshine - an unfortunately regular occurrence at most times of the year. I suggest keeping your load light by using the local shops and cafes to reduce the food you need to pack. It’s also possible to rinse out clothing in the river or burns and then dry it on the outside of your pack rather than carrying the vast wardrobe that some walkers seem to find necessary. Careful planning ahead of departure will identify sites where you can do a little laundry. The worst examples of weary, footsore walkers I encountered were those who took the opposite approach to the one outlined above. If you wish to have all the comforts of home on a “camping” trip, either go in a caravan or stay in B&Bs – you’ll enjoy it more. If you’re prepared to make do with less, then pack a tent, stove and sleeping bag, leave behind the non-essentials and head out to enjoy your encounter with the many moods of the Spey.
If you plan ahead, think about what you wish to do and undertake a little research about the facilities available along the way, then (provided you are in good health and determined) the Spey is a route that everyone can enjoy.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Robert G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Greensboro NC
Level Contributor
348 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 540 helpful votes
“Great walk”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

Idyllic Varied Walking Route in the Scottish Highlands”
Reviewed June 28, 2013
The Speyside Way is one of Scotland's official long distance routes. The "regular route" runs about 66 miles, from the railway station in Aviemore north to the trail's end monument near the center of Buckie, on Moray Firth. (Some walkers do it north to south.) There are two spur trails as well - the Tomintoul spur of about 16 miles, and the Dufftown spur of about 9. Many people do one or both of these spurs in addition to or instead of sections of the regular route, in order to add beauty and a little more challenge to the walk and to allow walkers to take the two free tours and tastings at Glenlivet and Glenfiddich distilleries. When we walked the route in June 2013, we did both both spurs, and omitted the Grantown to Ballindollach section from the regular route; this gave us a walk total of about 75 miles. There are also other routes and trails in the area that sometimes intersect with the Speyside Way, including Badenoch , Dava and Moray Coast trails. The Speyside Way has some diverse scenery, including frequent views of the River Spey (a famous fishery for salmon and sea trout), but it does not have a lot of elevation gain or loss, and is generally not very difficult as compared to some other British long walks such as, for example, the West Highland Way. Lodging and food are generally not very hard to find, although there are some 10-mile stretches where it is infrequent. There is a helpful official Speyside Way site (Speysideway.com), which contains a listing of lodgings as well.

When we did the walk in June, 2013, we walked 75 miles in six days, as follows:

Day 1 - Aviemore to Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge to Grantown on Spey - about 17 miles.

Day 2 - Our B & B owner, for a reasonable charge, drove us down to Tomintoul to do the spur. After 8 miles, we did the Glenlivet tour and tasting, and then spent the night in the area.

Day 3 - We finished the 8-mile Tomintoul spur to Ballindollach, and then walked 10 more miles to Ablerlour, for an 18 mile day. The Tomintoul spur is pretty and has some nice up and down walking.

Day 4 - Walked 4.5 miles to Dufftown (took Glenfiddich Distillerytour/tasting), and 4.5 miles to Craigellachie, for 9-mile day.

Day 5 - 13 miles to Fochabers, a pleasant and varied section.

Day 6 - final 11-mile section to Moray Firth, and then to Buckie town center monument; scenic and flat.

A prominent characteristic of the Speyside Way is the 50 or so single malt whisky distilleries in the area (out of 100 in Scotland) including Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Macallan, Tamdhu, Aberlour and others. This has caused some to call this the "Whisky Walk" or "Whisky Way". The single malt industry is booming in Scotland, and increasingly elsewhere. Learning about and dabbling in single malt is an interesting part of the experience. Slainte!

There are several guide books, and a few companies that will transport luggage or arrange lodging, if you wish. We used the 2010 first edition of Alan Castle's Cicerone Guide Book, with strip map included, and found it very satisfactory.

While walkers can decide for themselves what the highlights are, some of ours were: meeting and chatting with locals and other walkers; the exceptional single malt tours and tasting opportunites, including Whisky Castle in Tomintoul, Mash Tun in Aberlour, and Highlander Inn in Craigellachie; very nice lodging, including Garden Park B & B in Grantown, Bank House in Glenlivet, Mash Tun in Aberlour, Bridge View B & B in Craigellachie, and Highlander Hotel in Buckie; tasty meals, including Old Bridge Inn and Restaurant in Aviemore; Croft Inn in Glenlivet; Mash Tun in Aberlour; Quaich in Fochabers; and Highlander Hotel in Buckie; others included Walker's awesome Shortbread in Aberlour and Baxter's food outlet and visitor's center in Fochabers.

The level of friendliness and hospitality encountered was very high. A day or two in Edinburgh before or after the walk is time well spent - interesting town with some good museums, galleries, and food.

Visited June 2013
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Visited July 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank CarolinaTrekkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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