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The Speyside Way

Perfect companion: 2nd edition of our popular waterproof guidebook, updated in 2016
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| |-+  Speyside Way, Buckie to Aviemore, Scotland
| | |-+  Speyside Way: accommodation and direction

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Author Topic: Speyside Way: accommodation and direction  (Read 61048 times)
bsmyth
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« on: February 06, 2007, 08:05:56 pm »

A friend and I intend to walk the Speyside Way in June. The planned stop-overs are Aviemore, Grantown, Ballindalloch, Craigellachie, Fochabers and Buckie. Can anyone recommend any accommodation? Preferrably B and B or Guesthouse but less expensive hotels considered.
Thanks

Brian
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Jacquetta
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 09:06:55 pm »

I walked it last September, arranged at short notice just by phoning numbers out of the standard leaflet.  I have two strong recommendations for you: (a) Ballindalloch: try for Cragganmore House (01807 500 359) where Tony and Helen Allcott provide country house living at B&B prices and (b) try for The Haughs, Cromdale where Jan Cuthbertson will look after you as if she were your own family.  The house is called A Eilean A Cheo, email jan.cuthbertson@virgin.net and although it's a few miles from Grantown, she'll do lifts by arrangement and I spent a couple of nights there.  It was wonderful hospitality, and also incredibly good value.

BTW it sounds like you're missing out the Tomintoul Spur, which is a shame ... much more rugged scenery and the Glenlivet Distillery is special.  For me it was made easy to walk one-way only, again thanks to a lift from Jan Cuthbertson.  I had to do the spur, as I was researching our second edition (out next month, shameless plug) but it poured all day long so I was doubly glad of the distillery chance to dry out and warm up with a free nip!
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sue k
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 06:16:32 pm »

Hi Brian
It looks like you are walking in the opposite direction to the way we walked the Speyside way last March, in bitterly cold, wet, and snowy weather. Our first overnight was at Red Lion Tavern, High st, Fochabers, and it was very warm, welcoming and comfortable. The next night we stayed at Ben Rhinnes View, Archiestown. The owner kindly picked us up from Craigellachie and took us back the next morning - very kind welcoming people.  Again we were provided with transport after the following days walk in the wet! A wonderful place to stay was Dalbriagha in Cromdale - we were picked up from Ballindalloch and deposited back there next morning. Overnight next was in Grantown, at Firhall in Grant Road - again very comfortable and warm.And we were fed well with breakfasts and evening meals in all these accommodations.
All these accommodations have websites - please ask if you cannot find them.  The house in Cromdale was probably the best we've stayed at on three long distance walks.
Happy walking
sue k  Smiley
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Louise
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2007, 08:56:00 pm »

Hello Brian,
I agree with Sue, you seem to walk the route reverse.
We started in Buckie, stayed in B&B next to the start: Alexander House, Bill and Diana Whitfield, then the Red Lion Tavern. At Craigellachie we had a lovely stay at Green Hall Gallery B&B run by Maggie Riegler and Stewart Johnston. He cooked us the most delicious mushrooms! Home-made marmalade and a very warm welcome.  Right on the track, your passing it under along the river. A very nice stay, next door to the Highlander Inn. Here we enjoyed a diner and the barman could give very good advice about the whiskies. In fact he recommended whiskies at every part of the meal instead of different wines. To my husband and me this was a revelation!
Cragganmore House was also an experience, felt a bit of history and lost times! I admire the owners!
Ardenberg Bunkhouse: well it's a bunkhouse – cheap and a roof over your head.
Last stay was Boat of Garten,The Boathouse B&B and as the owner promised: the best shower in Scotland! We took the steam train to Aviemore very enjoyable!

We were walking in May last year and it was freezing cold, snow, storm (could hardly stand or walk, blew away all the time). Rain and sun, in fact all sorts of wheather.

Have a nice trip!
Louise
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bsmyth
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2007, 10:26:34 pm »

Thanks for the responses so far. Very helpful.

The revised print is already ordered!!

To Sue and Louise, particularly Louise - that is why we plan to walk in "reverse" - so the wind and rain is behind us (hopefully).

Once again many thanks.

Brian
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Jacquetta
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2007, 10:47:54 pm »

Walking the Speyside Way "in reverse" i.e. south-west to north-east has the same advantage as walking the Great Glen Way in the recommended direction: as you say, wind and rain should be behind you. And it's the policy adopted in the Footprint map.  However, it suffers from the drawback that you walk longer and hillier days early on, and finish with the very flat Speymouth and Moray Firth coastal section, which is not only easy walking but also involves much shorter daily distances.  So walking "downstream" towards Buckie arguably leads to anti-climax, IMO.  (See also the "North to South?" topic in our West Highland Way forum.)

My co-author Jim Strachan, who is also the Way's Route Manager, certainly advises walkers to start at Buckie and finish at Aviemore – at least until they finally secure the extension to Newtonmore which will make a grand finale.  What have other Speyside Way walkers found?
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Ian B
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 08:35:24 pm »

Hi Brian,

Four of us recently walked the Speyside Way starting on 26 April.  We decided to be positive and walk down from Buckie with the sun in our faces and were rewarded with wonderful sunshine for the whole of the walk. The only unplanned purchase was sun-cream, (and a few extra thirst quenching pints).

We flew into Inverness at 5.30pm and had pre-booked Ace Taxies from Mosstodloch (Fochabers) to take us up to Buckie to our B&B, then next morning transfer our bags to Fochabers, and then on to Dufftown the following day.

We had also arranged with him to pick us up at the Earth Towers a couple of miles or so beyond Fochabers on our first day giving us 12 miles walking, and return us there the following morning, with the 4 of us this worked out excellent value.

All our B & B accommodation was found on the Speyside Way web site, we required a double, and twin room, all were non-smoking, and all very good value

Buckie      Rosemount           Nice rooms, good showers, excellent breakfast.

Fochabers   Red Lion       Excellent all round, rooms (new build) and both breakfast and evening meal, also the pints in the lounge.

Dufftown   Davvar          Nice rooms, small showers, excellent breakfast.

Ballindalloch   Woodville  (2 nights stay)  Outstanding , Hosts, rooms, shower, breakfasts.
                 We were collected at Ballindalloch station and taken up to the house, later taken to the local for an evening meal, and picked up later. Next morning taken up to Tomintoul to the start of our 15 miles on the spur, again picked up at the end of the walk, and later back up to the local again and return. Next morning taken back to the station to start of walk on to Grantown. All this for £27.50 pppn.

Grantown-on  Spey  Garden Park   Rooms/shower were a bit tight, but good breakfast  handy position, the 1st B & B off the Way.

Boat of Garten     Granlea    Large comfortable rooms, and beds, the showers were OK.  Excellent breakfast.  Boat of Garten is limited for evening meals. 

We used JGA Taxis of Aviemore for baggage transport from Grantown, and Boat of Garten, and also from Aviemore back to the airport. Can recommend them, very prompt and very good value.                                                                                       

Regards, Ian B
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bsmyth
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 10:18:31 am »

Thanks Ian. Glad you enjoyed it. Good weather helps. My friend and I walked the Great Glen Way last June and we had a week of good weather which just made the walk so enjoyable.

We too are staying at Rosemount and the Red Lion so it is nice to receive good reports. We are staying 2 nights at Greenhall Gallery in Craigellachie to allow us a more casual walk up to Dufftown and back. We also plan to visit the Speyside Cooperage Centre near Craigellachie.

Ballindalloch - we decided we wanted to stay in Ballindalloch or on the track so didn't go for your option. Which "local" did you eat in as we are currently booked for an evening meal at our Guest House - Cragganmore.

We have decided to do Aviemore to Grantown in a "oner" which is our first day - we are walking in the opposite direction. Our other 2 stay-overs are at Dunallan in Grantown and Ardlogie in Aviemore. I will report how we found the accom after the walk which is the 2nd week in June.

The Speyside Way guidebook (Rucksack Readers) suggests there could be some boggy bits and unclear path between Grantown and Ballindalloch. Do you recall anything significant?

We are using Trans Cabs at Cromdale to transfer our luggage from Aviemore to Grantown to Ballindalloch and the B&Bs which offer that service, from there on which are cheaper. So fingers crossed it all works out.

Finally as we will leave our car at Aviemore we plan to get the weekly direct bus service back on the following Sat. This is the only direct service between Aviemore and Buckie aparently.

As a matter of intersest when you say you flew into Aviemore, where did you fly from?

Thanks again for your very helpful info.
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Ian B
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2007, 09:13:31 am »

Brian,

There are a few possible boggy areas between Grantown and Ballindalloch but they were dry when we passed through so they would probably be the same in June, I don't think they will cause you any problems.  There were also a couple of spots in the forest section just as you will approach Boat o' Brig but you can skirt round these.

The "local" that we had our evening meals in at Ballindalloch was the Delnashaugh Hotel (on the accommodation list), This is located on the A95 just below where the B9008 turns off for Glenlivet.  It is set back from the road on the right as you walk up the hill, you will pass it when you walk the Tomintoul spur. Although a hotel they offer very affordable home-cooked meals and the menu is varied, we can recommend it, but you may need to book at the weekend.

You misunderstood our flights, we flew into and out of Inverness from East Midlands with both local taxis offering cheaper deals than airport taxis.

Have an enjoyable walk, we have now done all four walks and rate them as:

1st West Highland Way

2nd Speyside Way

3rd Rob Roy Way

4th Great Glen Way

Regards
Ian B

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bsmyth
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 08:18:51 am »

My friend and I have just completed the Speyside Way. We walked in the "wrong" direction from Aviemore to Buckie. Interestingly all the locals we met en route felt this was the logical and natural way to do the route.

We were blessed with excellent walking weather with only 1/2 hour rain all week. In our view it is not as picturesque as the GGW but has other attractions such as numerous distilleries and places you can stop off en route for a cuppa or whatever.

We arrived at Aviemore in glorious sunshine on 9 June and stayed in the Ardlogie Guset House at the other end of the footbridge over the railway at the station. It was comfortable and the relatively new owners were very welcoming. We ate at the Cairngorm Hotel and had an excellent meal, the bonus being they serve real ale.. Sunday morning was low cloud and damp to start with. The cloud remained low for most of the walk to Grantown. The walk is very level and simple, very often with the views blocked by trees.
We stayed at Dunallan House in Grantown. Again the owners are relatively new and very keen to please. An excellent stay. We ate in the bistro at the Ben Mhor Hotel - again excellent - and they also serve real ale.

Stage 2 to Ballindalloch is possibly the most arduous stretch with a lot of up and down. Nothing boggy while we were walking, but could be after rain. Significant stretches walking between fences around fields and negotiating many gates - but quite an interesting part of the walk for scenery in parts. We stayed over at Cragganmore House. A bit more expensive than the others but worth it for the experience and the food. The house was bulit by John Smith the founder of the adjacent Cragganmore Distillery and the present owners have reinstated it to its original - well worth seeing - the bath alone is magic. The food was wonderful but altho' there is a glass of wine with the meal there is no licence and the nearest pub is  a bit far to walk - so take your own supply.

Ballindalloch to Craigellachie is fairly simple and straight forward passing 3 distilleries within about a mile, but there are no tours. We stopped at Aberlour. Did not visit the distillery as they wanted £7.50 altho' offered 6 tastings - a bit too much at that time of day. However more real ale in the Mash Tun beside the Speyside Visitor Centre based in the old railway station en route. Both worth a visit as is a wee walk through Aberlour.

We stayed in Craigellachie for 2 nights at the Green Hall Gallery. Very comfortable and an excellent host. The "wee" cottage is a complete contrast from Cragganmore. We ate well at the Highlander Inn next door where they also have real ale. The highlight of the week was the Fiddich Inn just after the outskirts of the village. This is a 1 room bar in a wee cottage and is run by an elderly couple. Great range of malts. I only hope someone can keep it going - it should be "bottled" for ever. We walked up to Dufftown, a lovely wee town and visited the Glenfiddich Distillery - free tour. An easy walk and well worth it. We also visited the cooperage at Craigellachie - well worth a visit - an excellent visitor centre with great staff.

The next stretch was to Fochabers. The vistas changed considerably on this stretch, seeing much more of the river. Fochabers is not the most exciting of places but the Red Lion was comfortable. Nice meal and more real ale at the Gordon Arms.  The final stretch to Buckie offers, in our view, the best scenery. Stop offs at Spey Bay and Garmouth are recommended. We stayed at Rosemount in East Church Street, Buckie and recommend it to all. We had a lovely meal at the Ragamuffin restaurant near the harbour but do not recommend the "Pub in the Square" in the centre of Buckie - take your 6 shooter with you if you go!

We ended an excellent week with a lovely bus trip back to Aviemore. The "Strollers" bus runs on Sat and Sun only and travels via Spey Bay, Fochabers, Elgin, Rothes, Craigellachie, Dufftown. Craigellachie, Aberlour, Tomintoul, Grantown, Carrbridge and Aviemore. Altho' it takes 3 hours, it doesn't seem like it and is well worth it even on a wet day. It only costs £5 unless you are over 60 (when it's free).

Overall an enjoyable walk, but the views are quite restricted from Aviemore to Craigellachie due to trees in the forest sections (hardly surprising) and on the disused railway tracks - this was a bit disappointing for us.
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