56 mile walk on the Moray Way, starting from Fochabers and finishing at Forres, passing through Craigellachie, Dufftown, Aberlour, Ballindalloch, Grantown-On-Spey, Dava and Dunphail.
4 days walking and 3 nights camping.
The Moray Way is made up of three long distance routes: The Speyside Way (Buckie to Aviemore), The Dava Way (Grantown-on-Spey to Forres) and the Moray Coast Trail (Forres to Cullen). Beginning with the Speyside Way in 2013, I have now completed the full circuit, minus the Tomintoul spur of the Speyside Way. All of my reports are available on my WalkHighlands blog.
Speyside Way - September 2013
Moray Coast Trail - July 2014
Dava Way - May 2015
I had been meaning to complete the Dava Way since last September (2014) but due to the location of the route it is slightly awkward for me to get to by public transport. I starting planning and worked out my options:
(a) I could take a train to Inverness, a second train to Aviemore and then catch a bus to Grantown-on-Spey, walk the route the following day and catch the train back to Aberdeen from Forres. (wasting a whole day travelling and spending a lot of money).
(b) I could walk from Aviemore via the Speyside Way up to Grantown.
(c) Options (a) or (b) in reverse, starting from Forres.
(d) I could catch a bus directly from Aberdeen to Fochabers where I could pick up the Speyside Way and walk down to Grantown-on-Spey over a couple of days, then head North on the Dava Way up to Forres where I could board the train back to Aberdeen.
I decided on the later option and booked a cheap advance ticket for my return journey.
I would be returning home from Forres on Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday lunchtime I caught my bus to Fochabers, and upon arrival (about 2:30pm) I immediately started walking the Speyside Way, heading South for Craigellachie where I would spend my first night. (13 miles)
Setting off from Fochabers
splendid views along the way after trailing through the forest.
reaching Craigellachie after a rather long walk, the bar was extremely tempting.
all pitched up for the night at Fiddich Park, I had the campsite all to myself
it stayed dry for a change and I got a cosy little fire going using wood that was lying about
On Thursday I walked the Dufftown route to Aberlour before continuing on the old railway line to Ballindalloch Station where I spent my second night. (about 20 miles)
heading off to Dufftown
was hoping for a re-fill in Dufftown!
arrival at Dufftown Station - now home to the "Whisky Train"
heading over the hills and through the woods to Aberlour
just a quick dash into the Co-op for supplies then I was off again, in some kinda rush, heading for Ballindalloch Station
passing through Tamdhu Station, next stop Blacksboat...
shortly arriving Ballindalloch Station...
now arriving Ballindalloch Station, please remember your luggage and mind the step
once again I had the campsite all to myself, absolute bliss!
Friday, was my longest day walking 14 miles, through woodland and countryside to reach Grantown-on-Spey where I would start the Dava Way (my main intention). Then I had to walk another 10 or so miles on Dava Way to be on schedule for my train the following day. (Also to find a suitable place to camp).
passing through the countryside towards Grantown, many wee gates to push open, lots of fun!
some lovely views before entering the woods again
passing through Cromdale station - soaked to my skin as I got caught in a heavy shower but luckily it cleared up once approaching Grantown
One final walk in the woods to arrive in Grantown-on-Spey
I didn't stop long in Grantown, it was early Friday evening when I arrived and there was a lot of "normal" people and youths hanging about so I shot through like a Virgin Pendelino (to prevent any funny stares), after a quick visit to the co-op for some much needed supplies, of course! Then I head up around the back of the campsite to find the start of the Dava Way.
finally making my appointment with The Dava Way
following the old line to Dava
not far now
passing Lady Catherine's Halt
this guy was my only company for the whole evening, he was very quiet
sun begins to set as I kept walking, had to be at least 10 miles in
creepy area as I approach Dava
After a few hours walking I passed through Dava, a school forest plantation, with a few homes dotted about. The walk leaves the old line here and passes through the forest. Unfortunately all the old stations between Grantown and Forres have now become family homes, so wasn't able to get close for a picture without looking like a peeping Tom.
creepy old platform
creepy old shelter!! all locked up
About 11 miles into the Dava Way I finally found a small area where I could wild camp, under the trees, at the side of the path, just in the nick of time aswell as it was beginning to get dark, wet... and very windy.
I got pitched up before enjoying a well earned meal, I could not be bothered pluttering about boiling water for the Hot Chocolate, I just wanted to fall asleep before the Goblins came.
It got scary at one point when I woke up to the sound of a dog barking nearby, I'm not normally scared of dogs but when you're out in the wild you don't know how well tamed that dog is, or even if it IS a dog!!
Anyhoos It didn't show up and I eventually managed to rest.
Saturday morning dawned and I was up bright and early and on the road by 7am, (so unlike me) I had a train to catch from Forres at 14:52 and I wasn't going to miss it. I must of had about 14 miles left to walk.
breakfast on the go!
I passed a couple of old railway worker's shelters, one of which has recently been refurbished as a half-way hut which I thought was pretty cool. It would be a life saver in heavy rain.
approaching half-way hut
inside the halfway hut - many old photographs and information relating to the old railway line and the Moray Way... and a free Beer made from Beetroot..... which I left!
Further on there are a few more old shelters and an old ruin called Bogeney, then Bogeney bridge and the Divie viaduct before shortly arriving at Dunphail.
Crossing Divie Viaduct
Breathing place at Dunphail
Dunphail is about the halfway mark of the Dava Way, then the old track continues through the countryside up to Forres, passing the pretty Scurrybridge.
Hello Mr. Cow... MOOOOOOOOO!
Scurrypool bridge... the perfect place for a picnic.
last few steps
some lovely scenery as you enter Forres
Forres Station - One of the many train stations on the route that actually has trains!!
I FINALLY arrived in Forres about an hour before my train was due, perfect timing if you ask me. I had time to pop into the loos, get changed and make myself smell nice again before returning to society.
I recommend this walk!