Just like certain regions of Wales, much of Scotland remains wild and under-explored, and it makes another ideal destination for an inspiring walking holiday.
Speyside Way is a leisurely walk through the eastern highlands of Scotland, and the 65-mile route takes you past ancient pine forests, mysterious lochs, and the dramatic mountains of The Cairngorms – Britain’s largest National Park.
For whisky fans, this route has another perk as it takes you deep into Scotland’s Malt Whisky country, where there are more malt whisky distilleries than anywhere else in the world.
Six nights is usually enough to complete the trail, but it’s sensible to add on a few more days if you want to try all the fabulous food and drink this region has to offer. You’ll find more inspiration in our article; 8 of the best beauty spots in the Cairngorms.
The Speyside Way trail begins in the town of Aviemore, which is popular with travellers due to its proximity to the mountain trails, lochs, and forests of the Cairngorms National Parks – though once you leave, things get far more remote.
You could always spend a few days in Aviemore before walking to the next town, Grantown-on-Spey. This is a long stretch of the trail (17 miles), and while it’s across easy terrain, you might want to stop for a night in between, either at Nethy Bridge or Boat of Garten (the latter has an excellent golf course, if that helps you decide!). You can find accommodation for both places on Booking.com, Airbnb, and Sykes Cottages.
The route is easy to stick to, as you’re mainly following a disused railway line that winds its way past pine forests, through farmland, and over gentle hills. As you head north from Grantown, you’ll reach the splendid Ballindalloch Castle, which has its own distillery. Or, you can visit some nearby distilleries like Glenlivet or Macallan to enjoy a tour and some tastings.
If you haven’t had your fill of whisky yet, there’s good news: the next stops are Craigellachie and Dufftown. From either, you can walk to the Glenfiddich distillery, where one of the world’s most famous malt whiskies is made.
The next part of the walk is through forest and down a tough tarmac road, but you can rest your feet once you arrive in the charming village of Fochabers. This is the home of the famous Baxters food brand, so if you’re a fan of their jams and biscuits, be sure to stop at the visitor centre which has shops and restaurants.
As you continue to your final stop, the small fishing town of Buckie, make sure to keep an eye out for dolphins and seals, particularly at the point where the River Spey meets the Moray Firth.
You can view accommodation options along the Speyside Way on sites like Booking.com, Airbnb, or Sykes Cottages – and you can find out more about planning your Scottish walking holiday here.