Our last day.
The weather has changed again and this morning there is a bitter north wind with heavy showers forecast. We walk down to the banks of the Spey and then along under a new bypass – which explains why the town was quiet last night. Continuing through mixed woodlands with gorse and broom in flower made for pleasant progress. There were glimpses of the river in full flow with the persistent fly fishermen. You never see a woman participating in this sport.
Heavy sleety showers passed quickly through and eventually we came out at the shingly mouth of the Spey.
In 1768 a salmon fishing station was built here. The large Tugnet Ice House  still remains. Only a third shows above ground level. Ice was gathered in winter and stored in the ice house to keep the salmon fresh. The buildings have been converted to be used as The Moray Firth wildlife and dolphin centre.
We didn’t have time for any dolphin watching and the next storm was blowing in so we headed to the Spey Bay golf links and their welcoming clubhouse/cafe. The near by hotel has closed but we were able to enjoy a coffee here and listen to the banter of the golfers who were not in a rush to set forth in the rain and wind.
Braving the weather we continued, the Speyside Way now taking the same route as the Moray Coast Trail. For three miles we were in the sheltered woods just inland of the links so had no view of the sea. The last of those damn metal squeeze traps was passed.
We emerged at the small harbour village of Portgordon looking rather bleak in today’s weather.
Amazingly, in this run down place we came across the small Lennox Inn and enjoyed a pint in the tiny cosy bar. The landlady was only too pleased to chat, took us back a few decades in time.
A little further along the coast we had a view of seals basking on a rock just offshore.
Maybe because of the beer we managed to loose our way in the gorse bushes around the next golf course but eventually arrived at the harbour of Buckpool which was the end [or beginning] of The Speyside Way.
This seemed a little unsatisfactory leaving us to wander through streets for another mile into the unpretentious town centre of Buckie. Would have been preferable to continue on the coast to Buckie harbour and then up to the centre.
All that remained was to catch the bus into Inverness for the night and the traditional end of walk curry. Oh and the long train journey home the next day.
So I would highly recommend The Speyside Way. It has given us six days varied walking through grand scenery. There were lots of interesting diversions along the way, we met some lovely friendly people and enjoyed the wildlife. It gave me a good chance to catch up with my old mate and we probably both put on a few extra pounds! I look forward to our next annual hike.
Take a look at the official web site for all the information you need – http://www.speysideway.org
I’ve enjoyed that one John. Where to next?
I enjoyed it too, great route.
Off to France towards end of June, so might try and squeeze in The Geopark Way, through the Abberley and Malvern Hills, before then. A 109 mile walk I bet you have never heard of. Always wanted to go to the Malverns.
Best of luck on your coastal walk next week. .