There are many magnificent routes around Speyside from the demanding mountain routes for the specialist to the gentler lowland plains of the floodplain below. There are a plethora of guidebooks detailing the walking available in this area. The tourist information centre is always the first port of call. Below we have noted two particular walks through some of the best Speyside scenery.
Originally opened in 1981 as Scotland’s second long distance footpath, this trail has a great contrast in scenery on it’s way from Spey bay up river through mixed woodland and farmland to Ballindalloch then up the Avon valley to the higher hills at Tomintoul. The route uses a blend of fishermen’s paths, tracks, short sections of roadway and old railway track beds over it’s length of some 48 miles.
This 7 mile signposted trail circumnavigates the village of Newtonmore, the Shinty capital of the highlands. This is an excellent circuit which can be done in a single walk or split into sections. Again, the walk includes a variety of low hill terrain and riverside scenery. A brochure, obtainable in the village, has full details.
A number of other excellent walks are available courtesy of a number of highland estates;
Glenlivet Crown Estate, Glenlivet, Tomintoul. Telephone 01807-580283
Moray Estates, Darnaway Farm Visitor Centre, Tearie, Forres. Telephone 01309-641469
Scotland can offer good skiing from December to April if circumstances allow. Ok, it does not have the consistent soft white fluffy stuff of Meribel, but in a good year, the skiing can be surprisingly good. And of course, if the heavens provide, one can head to the pistes at short notice and make the best of the fresh snow.
Cairngorm Ski Area, Aviemore Tel 01479 861261
Cairngorm has a wide range of runs for skiers of all ability levels, though the lower slopes can be icy.
The Lecht Ski Company, Strathdon Tel 01975651426
The Lecht provides a variety of skiing for all levels of ability but the lower slopes are particularly kind to beginners.
Ballindalloch Castle from River Avon
Magnificent 16th century castle by the River Avon.
Cawdor Castle, nr Nairn
The most romantic castle in the Highlands.
Brodie Castle, Brodie, Forres, Tel 01309 641371.
A notable collection of fine paintings, porcelain and furniture.
Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin, Tel 01343 890257.
A thirteenth century monastery restored by Benedictine monks. This is a very special place. The monks have a very dry sense of humour.
Scotland is the home of golf. You are never far from a course whether it be a sandy windswept links or a lush inland course with tree lined fairways. The climate of Scotland is perfect for the creation of beautiful courses, which blend into the landscape. There are plenty of interesting and challenging courses on Speyside, just perfect for a Sunday afternoon between fishing weeks! Virtually all courses are open to visitors.
For further information on Bespoke Guided Wildlife, Walking and Whisky Distillery tours around the Moray countryside, please go to : www.moraybespoketours.co.uk