Walking Scotland’s Speyside Trail

What better way to enjoy Scotland’s magnificent countryside and delicious Scotch whiskey all in one tour! Come walk with us, there is something for everyone! Walk along old railway lines, along the riverside, and through woodlands and heather moors teeming with wildlife. Walk right by the doorways of famous distilleries like Macallan, Glenfidditch, Glenlivet and step in for a sample. Get in touch with Scottish history visiting castles and heritage railway towns. Stay overnight in local bed and breakfasts.

Our service is second to none, from your decision to join our tour, throughout the trip and when you get home, we will be there for you.

Each escape brings you experiences you wouldn’t find on your own.

Tour Dates September 25 through October 1, 2020

Itinerary

Friday, September 25, 2020 Departure

Depart US for Edinburgh on an overnight flight.

Saturday, September 26 Arrive Edinburgh

We will stay in Edinburgh overnight. Enjoy your first day in Scotland exploring the city, perhaps visiting Edinburgh Castle or one of the other historical sights.

Overnight Edinburgh

Sunday, September 27 Train and transfer to Aberlour

Going by public train from Edinburgh to Aviemore, then catch our ride to Aberlour where our walk begins.

Overnight Aberlour

Monday, September 28 Dufftown Loop

We will walk the Dufftown Loop taking us through quaint towns, gardens, and countryside. Opt to visit Balvenie Castle or the Speyside Cooperage. Tour and sample whiskey in many of Scotland’s most famous distilleries (Glenfiddich, Macallan, Balvenie and more).

Our hike today is 12 miles, 5-7 hours (our longest hiking day)

Overnight Aberlour

Tuesday, September 29 Aberlour to Ballindalloch

Following the path of an old railway line that once ran as far west as Grantown-on-Spey, it’s no surprise that you pass several remnants of the railway’s illustrious past; from old bridges to disused signals to abandoned platforms. An interesting and varied hike.

Overnight in Ballindalloch

10 miles, 4-5 hours

Wednesday, September 30 Tonimtoul to Ballindalloch

Transfer to Tomintoul in the morning. Pay a visit to the Whisky Castle shop in Tomintoul where you will find the largest bottle of whisky in the world and also some of the rarest malts. Don’t drink too much though as next up is the toughest climb on the trail (to Carn Daimh – 570m) where the views are spectacular. Pop into the world-famous Glenlivet distillery as the day ends.

Overnight in Ballindalloch.

8.5 Miles, 4-5 hours

Thursday, October 1 Train back to Edinburgh

Depart from Ballindalloch to catch the train back to Edinburgh. From there the tour is complete. We will help you plan either your trip back home or additional time in Scotland or the British Isles.

About the Hike

This is a gentle hike designed with the part-time hiker in mind.

We will meander and explore, taking photos, meeting the locals and enjoying a long lunch which are as important as the hike itself! If you wish, there will be plenty of time for you to explore things that interest you as you go along. We will start off together, but may finish at different times each day depending on stops you choose. Each hiker will have map details to ensure you never get lost!

About the Trail

The Speyside Way is one of Scotland’s Great Trails and it runs for 116km from Buckie on the shore of the Moray Firth coast in a south-westwards direction to Aviemore and Kincraig on the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains.

For much of its route the trail follows the valley of the River Spey and passes through the heart of the Speyside Whisky region. This area has the largest concentration of whisky distilleries in Scotland and the whiskies produced in the more than 30 distilleries there include some of the most famous in the world, such as Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet and The Macallan.

The first section of the route, from Spey Bay to Ballindalloch, was opened in 1981. This has been extended over the years with a number of additional route options such as a loop walk to Dufftown, the home of Glenfiddich, and a spur from Ballindaloch to Tomintoul which passes by The Glenlivet distillery. The route is currently being extended past Aviemore and Kincraig to Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie.

The well marked trail offers, for the most part, easy and level walking, often on former railway tracks, a military road and on forest tracks. As well as the many distilleries along the route there is also plenty of nature and wildlife and the route passes through pine and birch woodland, over heather moor and along riverside tracks.

Accomodation

Staying at the very best B&B’s during your time in Scotland can transform a “good” hiking tour into a “great” hiking tour.

That’s why we have selected a tour company who has personally checked each B&B you will stay at. They are keen hikers themselves, and know you’ll want somewhere relaxing to put your feet up in the evening. A place where a warm smile from your hosts makes you feel welcome as soon as you step through the door.

If your hiking gear gets wet, it’s nice to know that it will be taken from you and returned nice and dry the next morning.

Comfy beds, en-suite bathrooms, an interesting breakfast menu – these are all things that we like so you can rest assured that we’ll do our best to find them for you as well.

Please note, due to the size of the B&Bs we may not all be at the some place but will be in the same town, easy to get together and to meet to start hiking in the morning.

Your Investment

Your Investment is $1660.00 per person based on double occupancy. (we will match same gender roommates) If you want your own room, call for solo supplement rates.

The deposit to hold your space is $300 per person and is non refundable. Final Payment is on July 15, 2020.

If you prefer to make payments, please contact us and we will arrange a plan that works.

Your Trip Includes

  • Overnight hotel in Edinburgh
  • Train round trip Edinburgh to Aviemore
  • Transfer Aviemore to Aberlour
  • Stay in friendly, family-run guesthouses
  • Relax in comfortable en-suite bedrooms*
  • Big breakfasts will keep you going all day long
  • Luggage? Don’t worry, we’ll move it for you!
  • Detailed maps/notes mean you’ll never get lost
  • Tour company available 24/7
  • Waterproof map-case keeps your maps dry
  • Insider tips on the best places to eat and drink**
  • Explore the local history with a fascinating guide
  • Discover the most exciting attractions on the trail

* Unless already booked out in which case we’ll try to secure a private bathroom

** You will have the opportunity to purchase picnic lunches and evening meals each day.

Please Note: Visits to distilleries and other attractions along the way are not included in your tour price.

Tour Does Not Include

  • Gratuities to the drivers
  • International flight to Edinburgh
  • Travel Insurance (required)
  • Meals besides breakfast
  • Optional tours, whiskey tastings, admissions to attractions, etc. along the trail.

How We Make Your Escape Awesome!

We are ready to answer your questions throughout the process via phone or email.

Once you sign up and pay your deposit:

  • We will send you a link to your My Trips account. You can view your trip details any time from your PC or Mobile Phone.
  • We will send you arrival and departure details so you can make your flight arrangements.
  • We will email you your final payment reminder about 1 week before it is due.
  • About two-three months before the trip we will send significant details like packing lists, further itinerary details, etc.
  • One month before the trip we will mail you your travel documents (or pass them out at a gathering for those local).

Facebook Group

You will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can meet, virtually, your fellow travelers, discuss the trip, make any preparation plans together, and share your excitement.

Our groups are typically 10-15 travelers. We aren’t a ‘big bus’ tour and don’t want to be. We don’t just look out the window and drive by the sights. Typically, our tours are custom and private. The advantage is, we can say, ‘stop here, we want to see this’ and we can stop and explore, even if it isn’t in the plan. Yes, we have an itinerary, but we also feel it’s important to take advantage of unexpected moments that arise. We attract travelers who are flexible and adventurous. A bit of spontaneity is a good thing!

You should know, our travelers are like you, they don’t want a canned tour, they like a sense of freedom on their trip, they understand the value of flexibility in travel, and they love the idea of working with a planning team that understands and respects their travel values.

So, Is this Trip for You?

  • You are in good physical condition, able to walk up to 15 miles per day.
  • You love traveling with like minded people and a tour company that is focused on traveling deeply into a destination, knowing how to read the group and make the best decisions for a perfect trip.
  • You find joy in trying new things, food, activities, etc.
  • Plans are good, and important to a great trip, however, flexibility sometimes brings a deeper experience and it’s OK with you.
  • You enjoy meeting and traveling with new people.

This Trip is Not for You If…

  • You are not in good physical condition, able to walk up to 15 miles a day.
  • Travel is stressful and sometimes you find yourself anxious and frustrated when things don’t go perfectly as planned.
  • New things, new situations, aren’t really your thing.
  • You are unsure that you physical conditioning is up to longer hikes.
  • You don’t like trying unusual local foods.
  • You feel uncomfortable and unsafe in places that are ‘foreign’ to Western culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will I change accommodations during the trip?

You will change accommodations as you proceed along the trail. We will be two nights in each location. Your luggage will be transported for you. You will just need to carry a day pack.

Can I extend my stay?

Absolutely, adding a pre or post stay always enhances a trip. We are happy to help you plan your extra days.

What airport do I fly into and out of?

You will fly round trip from Boston to Edinburgh.

What are VISA requirements for these countries?

There are no visa requirements for Scotland.

What type of currency is used in these countries?

The currency used in Scotland is the British Pound.

Who do I contact for other questions and travel advice?

Call us at 860-779-6531 or send an email to lwhittemore@cruiseplanners.com

What is the age group of my potential fellow travelers?

Our guests typically range in age from 45-75. They tend to be of an age where they are either already retired and traveling is an objective for them, or are getting close. There are some tours that attract a younger group, sometimes adult children of a traveler in the group will join the tour.

Groups tend to be predominantly female, although we are wanting a good mix of men and woman, solo and couples traveling.

In any case, our travelers are in good health, active and adventurous.

I’m not a tour person, will this be too much of a standard tour for me?

No worries here, your fellow travelers feel exactly the same way and so do we, your tour curators. Of course there are some parts of our tours that are standard, we travel often by a van or motor coach, we eat together and do activities together. What makes us different, are two critical things, we don’t like traditional touring either, we work hard to be different. And two, you will always have the opportunity to choose. If you want to do something on your own or different than the group plan, you are welcome to do that.

We would love to have you join us! We will do our best to provide the opportunities and activities that allow you to make amazing memories and lasting friendships. We are looking forward to traveling with you.

Subscribe now and we will email you our Tips for Travel Success information packet
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy and will not sell or use your email address for any other purpose.