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Speyside Way Easter 2013

Speyside Way Easter 2013


Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:42 pm

Route description: Speyside Way

Date walked: 31/03/2013

Time taken: 5 days

Distance: 106 km

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I walked the Speyside Way over five days at Easter, and I’ve been meaning to write this trip report up for a while.

1a.jpg
Start of the walk at Aviemore


Day 1: Aviemore to Nethy Bridge (10 miles)
I decided to have an easy day on day one, so I only walked as far as Nethybridge. Nethybridge is popular with bird watchers, hoping to catch sight of capercaille, black grouse, and crested tits. I have seen a crested tit in Nethybridge before; a few years ago, it was on a bird feeder in someone’s garden.

I tend to walk early when I am doing these treks on my own, so I tend to eat early as well. As the hotels were not serving dinner until about 6pm, I made do with something to eat in the local golf clubhouse (very nice and cheap too).

Highlight of day one was stopping by Loch Garten and the view of the osprey nest at the RSPB centre. The ospreys were in residence when I was there but not on the nest.

1b.jpg
Walking towards Boat of Garten from Aviemore

2a.jpg
Loch Garten

2b.jpg
Osprey nest at the RSPB centre


Day 2: Nethybridge to Cromdale (10 miles)
Day two was another day of easy walking, but this time the Speyside River was in sight more often than it had been the previous day. There is a welcome break in Grantown en route (coffee and scones shops), followed by a pleasant walk through forest towards Cromdale. I was staying overnight with friends in Cromdale, which was good fun; photographing pheasants in their garden, and dressing up in a beekeeping suit as I observed them tending their bees.

3a.jpg
Greylag geese


Day 3: Cromdale to Aberlour (21 miles)
Not only was this going to be the longest stretch of my walk, but also the most demanding in terms of ascent. Fortunately however, my Cromdale hosts introduced me to the first six miles of the route – the uphill bit – from the road, as a passenger in their van.

There are many whisky distilleries along the Speyside Way; a great walk for a stag party I expect.

The fish and chip shop in Aberlour serves up fine fodder – I recommend the fish and white pudding.

4a.jpg
Distillery

3b.jpg
Spey bridge


Day 4: Aberlour to Fochabers (15 miles)
As I left Aberlour, I saw my first lambs of spring. This was in contrast to my Easter long-distance walk last year (Hadrian’s Wall Path), where spring lambs were everywhere!!! (Easter was earlier this year). This was followed by a very enjoyable walk uphill at Craigellachie forest.

4c.jpg
spring lambs

4e.jpg
Craigellachie forest

4f.jpg
Craigellachie forest

5a.jpg
Fochabers


Fochabers is a nice wee town/village which is reported to have the best weather record in the North East (a man in Buckie told me this).

Day 5: Fochabers to Buckie (15 miles)
I would recommend that anyone doing a long distance walk path walks towards the sea – it is a fantastic way to finish a walk, dramatically different after walking in the countryside for so long.

Highlights include: first glimpse of Spey Bay; passing a seal colony at Port Gordon; and the old conservation village part of Buckie (folk havin’ their washin’ oot on the line on the salty sea front).

I got a taxi from Buckie to Keith (pricey, missed the earlier bus and only a few run per day), where I caught a train via Aberdeen back to Glasgow. Taxis along the Speyside Way also provide baggage transfer but it’s easier and much cheaper to carry your rucksack for the duration of the walk.

5b.jpg
Spey bay

5c.jpg
seal colony at Port Gordon

5f.jpg
walking towards Buckie


The Speyside Way is a pleasant enough walk but if I was doing it again, or recommending it to others, I would add on the Tomintoul spur (see the walk route here on Walk Highlands and the official Speyside Way web site for details) to make the Cromdale to Aberlour section I did more interesting and manageable (over two days instead of one). I would also highly recommend the Moray Coast walk – that particular part of the coast is gorgeous and ideal for spotting birds and wildlife.

The few birds and wildlife photos I took along the walk are posted here in Walk Highland’s wildlife section...
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=32952
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby Buggiba » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:20 pm

Hi Walkaboot, a very interesting and pleasant recount. I really enjoyed the photographs.

I am looking at doing the Speyside Way next April (2014) and intend taking my minibus from Birmingham up to Aviemore. The plan, at the moment, is to do it over 6 days, to include the Dufftown circuit, staying at bunkhouses or B+B's. Like you I prefer to walk towards the sea but, unlike you, I think that I would head for Grantown-on-Spey for the first night. I already have four passengers but hope to enrol a few more, up to 16, before finalising the accommodation requirements.
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:51 pm

Sounds great, Buggiba :D . I was lucky with the weather being so early in April (stayed dry the whole 5 days) but still glad to hear Easter will be later next year (that's when l usually take a week off for a long-distance path).

I think you're right to continue to Grantown. The stop-offs l had on my route were based on staying with friends one night in Cromdale.

Look forward to reading your TR in 2014 :D
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby icemandan » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:29 pm

There seems to be a brontosaurus in front of the osprey's nest.
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:49 pm

Ha ha so there is :lol:
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:34 pm

Hi walk aboot

Great report and photos.

I did the Speyside Way last year and added a couple of days so I could walk from Ballindalloch over to Tomintoul then back again the following day. Have to say I really enjoyed this walk but like you I had good weather and that seems to influence your thoughts when you look back.

Agree about finishing by the sea, I always preferred the idea of finishing by the sea at Buckie rather than at Aviemore railway station.

Only frustration was the number of kissing gates after Cromdale - a bit stop start.
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Re: Speyside Way Easter 2013

Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:22 pm

Hi Gordy12

I remember reading your trip report at the time and it put me in the mood for doing the Speyside Way :D .

I thought the kissing gates were cool but there was a lot of them!
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