NEW EDITION AUGUST 2017
Walks Moray & The Speyside Way – Author: Peter & Rosemary Koch-Osborne
Rewalked 2017 by Richard Hallewell & Becky Coope
We had a glorious spell of weather in late May for rewalking this guide. It was a while since we had visited the area and it was good to become reacquainted with it. There is great variety in Morayshire – the dramatic coastline with sandy beaches and small fishing villages contrasts with the fertile productive farmland and market towns slightly inland, then the empty moorland and scattered settlements in the south of the area covered. Running through it all are the distinctive Speyside distilleries and associated grain plants with the seductive aroma of whisky production on the air, and the visible presence of other well-known Scottish companies such as Baxters of Speyside and Walkers of Aberlour.
The area is thriving, and the roads, particularly the main A96 which dissects the county on its way from Aberdeen to Inverness, are busy at most times. However the walks are mostly quiet and, in keeping with the nature of the area, provide a great variety of experiences. We were based for the week in an old distillery cottage outside Charlestown of Aberlour, a perfect location to cover the whole area.
The walks are mostly low level with memorable coastal walks from Cullen – home of the famed Cullen Skink soup – a delicious soup made with the local smoked haddock. The only serious climb is the ascent of Ben Rinnes, which – with its distinctive summit torrs – is visible throughout most of the county. Other highlights include the circuit of paths linking the villages of Craigellachie, Dufftown and Aberlour – much of which uses sections of the old railway line; the long trek up into the remote hills around the Linn of Avon to the south of the tiny village of Tomintoul (a bike is a good companion here – seebottom left); the ascent of the Bin of Cullen with its fine views over the coast; the circuit around the historic village of Findhorn on the edge of the Findhorn Bay Nature Reserve and the waymarked walks through the wooded gorge of the River Findhorn at Randolph’s Leap (centre left).
The area is well-served with places to shop, eat and visit should the weather not be good for walking – however the Moray Firth is also well known for it’s dry, gentle climate, so that shouldn’t be a problem! If you haven’t been before, or for a while – Morayshire is an area well worth visiting for its fine walking and many other attractions, not least the fine Malt whisky!
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