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AS A WALKING CENTRE, CRAIGELLACHIE IS AN UNDISCOVERED GEM

WALK 1. MODERATE HILL WALK ALONG WELL DEFINED TRACKS

Starting from Speybank the first section follows the Speyside Way along a public lane for about 2.5 miles with lovely views over the River Spey. If you have a car you can miss this section and park at the start of the off road section. The walk continues along the route of the Speyside Way through forest roads. After a mile or so you have the option to continue on the full walk, about 10 miles about half of which is along forest roads or do the 4 mile section around Ben Aigan. Approximately half of this section is above the tree line and offers superb views over Morayshire and the Moray Firth.

WALK 2. EASY WALK ALONG WELL DEFINED TRACKS. ONLY ONE VERY MODERATE HILL SECTION BETWEEN ABERLOUR AND DUFFTOWN.

This walk offers you many options. If you choose the full walk its about 16 miles with lots of points of interest. My own preference would be to bypass Aberlour which can be visited on WALK 3. So starting at Speybank you may wish to follow the Speyside Way spur to Dufftown. This is along the old railway track with elevated views of the pretty River Fiddich. This section is very sheltered even if weather conditions are very poor. On the approach to Dufftown you will pass through the old railway station which is a working museum in that enthusiasts run a diesel train service to Keith and back in the summer months, closed in winter. Slightly further on you can visit the famous Glenfiddich Distillery, if you have time (allow 1 hr) go on the guided tour which is FREE and you will get a dram at the end. The café at the distillery is very good. NB closed at weekends in winter. You can then either cut off over the hill back towards Craigellachie or visit Dufftown. Points of interest in and around Dufftown are; the ruined Balvenie Castle, the whisky shop, tourist information, the whisky museum, Mortlach kirk (c. 400 AD) and if you wish to extend your walk the Giants Chair loop. You now have the following choices; get a bus back to Craigellachie and have a tour of the only working Cooperage in the UK (last tour 4pm, closed at weekends in winter), walk back down the line to Craigellachie or go over the hill towards Aberlour. The last option involves an uphill section (approx 200m), starts on lanes then a section of about 1.5 mile along sign posted tracks then forest roads and back to lanes again. This section offers great views initially over the Fiddich Valley and then over Speyside. Bypassing Aberlour will take you back to the main Speyside Way and a walk alongside the Spey of about a mile to Craigellachie.

WalkingRoutesMap

WALK 3 LOW LEVEL EASY WALK, ONE SHORT CLIMB OF ABOUT 80 METRES TO THE MACALLAN DISTILLERY

Again choose your own route but my option would be as follows; Leave Speybank and visit the cooperage and then the Telford Bridge, it’s one of the oldest Iron Bridges in the world and at the time 1814 a marvel of engineering. Take the shortcut for a few hundred metres to meet the Archiestown road. Take care there is no footpath and vehicles do not anticipate pedestrians. After about 0.5 miles take the turning just before the entrance to Macallan distillery (it’s through some cast iron gates just before a white disused cottage). Walk down to the distillery and you will see some beautiful views of Speyside (tours £5 allow about 1 hr, closed at weekends in winter). Personally if you have done, or intend to do the free Glenfiddich tour then I wouldn’t bother unless you are a whisky connoisseurs. Back track a little way and follow the sign posts to ‘the fishings’. You will find yourself on a track that follows the River Spey upstream. After about 0.5 miles the track turns uphill back to the distillery. At this point there is a culvert over the little burn and a farm gate. Go through the gate into the field, stick close to the side of the Spey and continue. After 0.3 miles you will come to a gate and a stile, continue along a fishing track, then left over another culvert up to the iron footbridge. Cross the bridge turning immediately right will take you to the Aberlour distillery and the walk around the Falls of Linn. Turning left will take you into a park and Aberlour. There are various shops, cafes, pubs etc in Aberlour. Our personal favourite is a visit to the Spey Larder. It was at one time a shop museum but is now a fantastic delicatessens where you can also get a sandwich, coffee or ice cream all of superb quality. If you’re in the mood do the Falls of Linn loop finishing at the Aberlour distillery and have a browse around the shop. The distillery does a whisky tour that we highly recommend, it’s around £10 and should be booked in advance (which we can do for you) as there are only 2 tours a day 10.30 am and 2pm and these are limited to 16 people. The cost includes 5! drams of quality aged single malt, a bargain. (NB closed at weekends in winter but this may change) Follow the Speyside Way back to Craigellachie.

WALK 4. MODERATE TO HARD HILL/MOUNTAIN WALK ALONG WELL DEFINED TRACKS

It you have a car, park at the start point (parking limited) otherwise walk along public roads from Aberlour or get a taxi. From the start point the climb is about 600 metres along a well used track. Throughout the walk you get superb views of the area.. From the top you have a stunning panorama. On a clear day you can see the whole of Morayshire and across the Firth to the North of Scotland, turn around and you will get views of the Cairngorms and down into Deeside. NB Weather conditions change rapidly and the climate is completely different to Craigellachie. Weather conditions particularly in winter months can be EXTREME.

OTHER WALKS

If you’ve got your own car then consider some lovely walks around Glenlivet or sections of the Moray Firth Coastal Walk. A bus ride from Craigellachie to Findhorn (approx 25 miles) leads to a walk along the coast and a very pleasant day out. Alternatively walk a section of the Speyside Way getting a taxi to say Ballindalloch and walking back. Visit MORAYWAYS on the internet for a comprehensive list of walks in the area.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

As a sweeping generalisation I will try to give you some idea of conditions.

1. DAYLIGHT HOURS, in June it doesn’t really go dark at all. In mid winter it will be dark at about 4pm.

2. RAIN. The prevailing wind is from the SW and a lot of rain drops in the mountains before it gets here so the area is relatively dry for a hilly region.

3. TEMPERATURE. Tends to be on the cold side compared to most of the UK. It can get very cold and it is not unusual for the temperature to remain at freezing or below for several weeks on end in winter, but often these are some of the best walking days.

4. SNOW. We usually get a dusting of snow on the tops in October but often nothing again until around Christmas time. Any heavy snow we get is usually in January, February and early March. Keen walkers will always find an option even in deep snow, Aberlour and back or Dufftown and back along the old railway line will still provide you with an enjoyable day out.