7 Great Hikes and Walks in Speyside
Scotland has a wide range of hikes walks, and the Speyside region is no exception. From our home in the heart of Speyside, we know that Walkers Shortbread is just what you need on a hike in the beautiful countryside. We have collected some of our top walks in the area for you to try out. Don’t forget to pack your backpack with some treats along the way. From shortbread to biscuits, rich fruitcakes and moreish oatcakes – Walkers is the perfect companion for walkers!
The Speyside Way
The most popular and famous of the walks in the Speyside region is The Speyside Way, an 80-mile waymarked path that links Buckie on the coast of Moray to Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. The Speyside Way is frequently visited by long-distance walkers who spend a few days doing the various stages, camping or staying at the many excellent accommodation options dotted along the route.
You’ll find the Speyside Way Visitor Centre by the banks of the River Spey in the home of Walkers Shortbread in Aberlour town centre, near Victoria Bridge. At the visitor centre, you will get plenty of information about the route and the various stages, including maps, walking guides and details about the flora, fauna and landscape you will pass through. Walk Highlands also have a useful section on their website dedicated to walking The Speyside Way. Don’t forget to plan a visit to Walkers Shortbread as part of your walk, and stock up on snacks and treats for your trip. Shortbread is a popular snack for long-distance walkers, as they are easy to pack, give a tasty energy boost and are made with the finest ingredients.
Circling Aberlour, Dufftown and Craigellachie
An off-shoot of the Speyside Way offers an enjoyable circular walk around the villages of Aberlour, Dufftown and Craigellachie, starting and returning to the home of Walkers Shortbread in the village of Aberlour and its beautiful surroundings. Starting from Aberlour means a fairly long climb at the start, but then you’ve got the main ascent out of the way early, and you can enjoy the walk and the views – maybe with some Mini Shortbread Fingers as a reward once you reach the top. After all, the classic shortbread recipe by Joseph Walker was first baked here over 100 years ago!
From Dufftown, you follow a nice track to Craigellachie, where you can also use the facilities in the car park if you need to. The hike from Craigellachie to Aberlour is mostly along the River Spey, and you will often meet fishermen out for the catch of the day. The whole circle takes between 5-6 hours, and shouldn’t be too strenuous.
Forest walk in the Anagach Woods
If you are looking for an easy Sunday walk with the kids, a forest walk along the in the Anagach Woods is just the thing. There are many leisurely strolls that take you through beautiful Scottish pinewood and past magnificent trees. Pack some ginger royals or these delightful Crispy Toffee & Chocolate biscuits if any of the younger family members need encouragement to keep going. Deeper in the forest you can find traces of the elusive giant grouse, the Capercaillie, and plenty of other birdlife. Those up for a longer walk can continue on across a bridge to reach the River Spey and follow the fast-flowing river along the banks. There are also mountain bike trails and other recreational facilities around the woods, so you can add these to the list of fun things to do with the whole family if you are of the adventurous kind.
A short drive into the Cairngorms National Park is Kingussie, situated along the River Spey and offering a collection of enjoyable paths and trails around the area. The Kingussie Paths Network has a wide offering of walks, all available on a local map that you can download on their website. From short, easy walks to longer circular routes taking in beautiful views of the Spey Valley, these are nice and easy walks on mostly good terrain.
Linn of Ruthrie and the Aberlour Burn
Locally known as the Linn Falls, this beautiful short walk goes through the heart of Aberlour village, home of Walkers Shortbread, and takes in nice views of the double cascade waterfall or Linn at the Aberlour Burn. Start in Aberlour – there are several parking options – and follow Queen’s Road up the hill to Allachie Drive, where you start following a footpath and then go into the woods. You will soon reach the Linn of Ruthrie waterfall, a lovely spot to enjoy the Aberlour Burn all year round. Follow the stream back towards the Aberlour Distillery, and return via some steps to the street that takes you back into Aberlour Village. Here you should reward yourself with a visit to the Walkers Shortbread Bakerey Shop where you can buy our many beautiful shortbread tins, the full gluten free range of shortbread, and try some of our newest products, like the moreish Salted Caramel & Milk Chocolate Cookies. You’ll not want to leave!
Climbing up Ben Rinnes
Scottish walkers refer to climbing peaks above 3000 feet as ‘Munro-bagging’, named after Sir Hugh Munro who first listed all the 283 peaks and their subsidiary tops in 1891 – just a few years before Joseph Walker started making his famous shortbread. While there are no Munros in Speyside, there are a few climbs that can still take your breath away. The best-loved peak near Speyside is Ben Rinnes, a dominating summit of Moray. Ben Rinnes is a Corbett, which means it is a mountain between 2500 and 3000 feet, with at least 500 feet descent on every side.
Most people choose to climb Ben Rinnes by starting in a small car park north of the B9009 – get there early as it is a popular walk! There is a good track which offers nice views across Glen Rinnes even early on. You’ll climb up Round Hill and Roy’s Hill on the way, and follow a good zig-zag track that leaves many people out of breath – but with remarkable views across most of the Moray coast and the wide expanse of Aberdeenshire. You can also see the Cairngorms and Ben Avon from the trig point atop Ben Rinnes. Enjoy a well-deserved snack on the summit before returning with the spectacular views in front of you. A favourite is the Hazelnut & Chocolate Chunk Biscuits, or the new White Chocolate & Raspberry Biscuits which will give you energy for the walk down.
The Dava Way
Less known than the bigger Speyside Way, the Dava Way is another waymarked long distance walk in the Speyside Region. This 38 km traffic-free stretch of the old Highland Railway Line goes from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres. With no accommodation en route, you can either do the three main sections in one very long day, or choose to wild camp responsibly. The Dava Way connects with the Speyside Way in Grantown, and you can continue onto the Moray Coast Trail from Forres. The paths are mainly good and level, with some muddy sections, but few ascents. A suitable treat could be some tasty Ecclefechan Tarts with their rich fruit fillings, or some thick and crunchy oatcakes, either on their own or with a slab of cheese as you sit down for lunch.
Always make sure you are safe and prepared on all walks – however short. Make sure you have protection for all likely adverse weather conditions on your walk, bringing waterproof and warm clothes even if it looks sunny when you start. Weather in Scotland often changes rapidly! Always bring water and food to keep you going, and a first aid kit for any minor injuries or accidents. Learn to use a map and compass before any longer walks, and always let someone know where you are going and how long you’ll be gone. Treat nature with respect and don’t leave anything but your footprints. Read our packing tips for your backpack to make sure you have everything you need for an enjoyable walk!
Happy walking, from all of us at Walkers!