With a few days off between Christmas and New Year, I headed up to Aviemore to walk through to Forres via the Speyside Way to Grantown-on-Spey and then the Dava Way. This post is in two parts, the first the Speyside Way and the second the Dava Way.
Leaving the car safely parked in the residential area at the north of Aviemore, we picked up the Speyside Way at the Spey Valley Golf Course. Here it meanders through established pine woodland on its way to the moorland towards Boat of Garten.
It easy walking for several miles and the path then leads out on to a minor road bringing you into the small village of Boat of Garten. The River Spey was swollen – a mild December combined with a lot of recent rain meant that much of the ground was waterlogged.
With night approaching we decided to push on towards Loch Garten and to make camp there by the waterside. This is an idyllic spot and you don’t need to go far to find a good choice of pitches.
As night fell it couldn’t have been quieter. Loch Garten is in the Abernethy Forest which is managed by the RSPB. It was at this point that the local bird population woke up, simultaneously disagree with each and the sound was raucous for some hours.
The next morning a breeze had picked up. We struck camp and made an early start towards Grantown-on-Spey. The Speyside Way meanders through the Abernethy Forest, first under cover and then out onto some gentle moorland. After a couple of hours we arrived at Nethybridge, a real sleepy little forest village.
After breakfast we looked around the village for a while before heading out towards Grantown. The Speyside Way picks up the old railway line at this point, and this continues until Spey Bridge. It’s pleasant easy walking through grazing farmland with good views across to Broomhill and Dulnain Bridge. It abruptly ends near Spey Bridge at a smokehouse where the path is mis-signed. Cross the A95 and minor roads continue across the River Spey and into Grantown.
Here the we were leaving the Speyside Way which continues to Cromdale and Ballindalloch. We resupplied and headed through the town towards Gortock Hill and the start of the Dava Way.
With warnings of wild camping spots being difficult to find on the Dava Way we decided to take in Gorton Hill for the night. At the top was a pleasant viewpoint and a perfect spot just below it.