Here at Hillwalk Tours we’re delighted to announce the official launch of our brand new walk – The Speyside Way Whisky Trail – open for bookings now with walks starting in August 2019. If you’re one of the many curious hikers following our news with bated breath over the past weeks, we’ve got all of the information to further pique your interest and answer any questions below.
Where is the Speyside Way Whisky Trail located?
The walking trail is located in the northeast of Scotland and follows the River Spey. The Speyside Way begins in Buckie on the Moray Firth coast and heads southwest towards Aviemore where it concludes at the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains and National Park. Just over 100 kilometres in length, the trail is easily accessible from the nearby cities of Inverness and Aberdeen, while also readily reachable from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The most important part of our new walk’s location is that it’s smack-bang in the middle of Scotland’s largest and most famous whisky-producing region. The trail itself brings you right past approximately 20 distilleries, however the greater Speyside area boasts more than 40 in total!
Which distilleries can I visit along the Speyside Way Whisky Trail?
With 60% of all Scotch whisky stemming from the area, it’s no surprise that you’ll pass by some truly world-famous establishments. Perhaps the three most well-known and recognisable are Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Chivas Regal. The latter of the three is produced at the Strathisla Distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland and the oldest of all highland distilleries with a founding date of 1786. Along the way you’ll also pass Cardhu – the silky smooth malt whisky distillery which is today probably most famous for providing the key ingredient in Johnnie Walker.
And that’s not all! There are two bonuses along the way as well. Walkers can also duck into the Speyside Cooperage and watch craftsmen at work making and restoring literal mountains of whisky casks. Finally, if all of that walking works up an appetite, you’re in luck when you pass through the town of Aberlour – home to Walkers Shortbread, a famous Scottish manufacturer of delicious shortbread, biscuits, cookies and crackers.
So, in summary, whisky trail walkers can sample the very source of Johnnie Walker while chowing down on Walkers Shortbread. Is it just me, or is this region well-known for walkers already?
Is the walk only for whisky lovers?
Absolutely not! As you now know, fans of Scottish shortbread are also well catered for, but it’s the scenery between each distillery that the region is equally famous for. The walk follows the gentle, meandering flow of the River Spey. You’ll find the trail is mostly flat, easy to follow, and in very good condition as it runs along many sections of former railway line.
Hikers pass through pristine forests, moors teeming with wildlife, and plenty of historic sites. For example, you’ll traverse the beautifully arched Craigellachie Bridge, a suspension bridge near Aberlour, and the amazingly curved former packhorse bridge at Carrbridge. And it wouldn’t be a walk in Scotland without castles! Get a glimpse of Scottish highland history at Ballindalloch Castle and wander among the ruins of Balvenie Castle.
Where will I stay along the Speyside Way Whisky Trail?
Our team here at Hillwalk Tours has hand-picked a number of cosy bed and breakfasts along the Speyside Way. Put your feet up at the end of a fulfilling day of walking at a traditional Scottish cottage, but with all of the modern creature comforts. Have your fill of a full Scottish breakfast before heading off to check out a few more of the world’s top distilleries to sample some more of their famous whiskies.
So, what are you waiting for? To get your whisky trail fix simply head on over to our Speyside Way Whisky Trail page and get booking! We’re currently accepting bookings for hikes commencing from August 2019 onwards. We hope to see you there!