I must confess to not having any knowledge of The Speyside Way until searching for an annual pub-to pub walk with an old mate. We decided upon this trail because it offered an interesting [and non arduous downhill!] route, 68miles following the River Spey, from Aviemore to Buckie on the Moray coast. It was conceived in 1981 and is waymarked with the thistle logo.
Miraculously we met on the train from Edinburgh and arrived in Aviemore to a sunny evening with the background Cairngorms resplendent in alpine condition.
The next morning dawned crisp and sunny so we set off from the centre of Aviemore in high spirits.
As housing estates go, this couldn’t be bettered with lovely countryside on it’s doorstep and the Grampian mountains in the background. [don’t mean to be patronising to housing estates] Once extricated we had a great mornings walk through heather and birch upland with views back to the Cairngorms.
Soon we were in Boat Of Garten and enjoying first a coffee and cake stop outside the excellent convenience store and then a pint at the Boat Hotel. We happened to be here on the day that a new sculpture was being erected the railway representing the wildlife and railway juxtaposition. An impressive 15ft Osprey feather constructed from a metal from the railway.
Also by the same metalworker was a horse and cart, to be installed, to show how the railway was central to the early distribution network.
All very impressive and with the artist Michael Job of Black Ox Arts to chat to very informative. Dragging ourselves away we crossed the Spey on a bridge replacing the ferry of old – hence the name Boat of Garten.
Walking through pine woods next to loch Garten [famous for its Ospreys] was delightful on a warm afternoon.
Soon we were in Nethy Bridge and ensconced into one of the best B&B I’ve stayed at, a wonderful friendly and helpful hostess in a fantastic situation. Enjoyed an evening at the local hotel. Deuchars 80 shillings ale was perfect.