Moray is blessed with wonderful walking terrain. Whether you like a rugged hill walk or a simple stroll, there’s lots of ground to cover and some beautiful views to take in.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get your daily exercise, and for visitors, it’s a way to explore, and take the slow road through Moray Speyside
The Moray Way
The Moray Way is a 100-mile circuit that takes in a vast area allowing you see all aspects of the countryside from hills, riversides, beaches and coastline, as well as visiting a few towns along the way.
Now, unless you are fundraising, you’re unlikely to be doing the whole walk in one go. It’s not walk you can finish in a day, but best to be used as a path in and around an area of interest.
For example if you are staying at Springburn Cabins, you’re bang in the middle of the circuit and spoilt for choice as to where to start. You could join it at Rothes, Lossiemouth, Fochabers, Garmouth, Forres, Findhorn, Hopeman, etc.
It’s actually made up of three separate walks, but as they converge, one circular route is created, encompassing the best walking routes Moray has to offer.
Because it’s made up of separate routes, you can be sure of diversity too. The Speyside Way which forms the Garmouth to Grantown section follows the River Spey and Spey Valley. The Dava Way takes you from Grantown to Forres and then the Moray Coastal Trail connects Forres to Garmouth along the the Moray Firth.
Let’s explore each in a little more detail.
The Speyside Way
The Spey holds a fascination for so many. It’s a powerful river with a sweeping valley that cuts through Moray from its Western boundary and empties into the sea at Garmouth.
It dominates the area so much that the region is often referred to as Moray Speyside. It also gives its name to the type of whisky distilled here.
Speyside whisky is famous throughout the world, and much of the notable flavours can be attributed to the tributaries of the Spey.
For fishermen too, the Spey is a destination in a class of its own. It even has a technique named after it, Speycasting.
Much of the Speyside Way clings to the riverbank, and you can’t ignore its majesty. It’s a wide river in comparison with its neigbhours, the Lossie and Findhorn, and it is the fastest-flowing in Scotland.
Whichever direction you go, it weaves through the towns of the Spey Valley from Garmouth to Fochabers, past Rothes, through Craigellachie, Ballindalloch and Cromdale before the path turns away from it in Grantown to join the Dava Way.
It passes some notable bridges along the way. At Craigellachie and Grantown are two fine, preserved example of iron bridges that have become tourist attractions in themselves. They’ve long been bypassed by concrete alternatives, which ironically makes them easier to enjoy from the road, and on foot, given the absence of traffic.
The Dava Way is so called as it wends its way over the Dava Moor between Grantown and Forres. Unlike the Speyside Way, which is punctuated with towns, this 22-mile pathway is remote and largely uninhabited.
It follows the route of the old railway between the two towns, closed in the 60s and now one of Scotland’s great walks. It is maintained by a volunteer group who make continuous improvements.
It is full of history, intrigue and even ghosts!
Moray Coast Trail
The Moray Coast Trail runs from Forres to Buckie, so only about two-thirds of it falls within the Moray Way, however you won’t be disappointed in this section. Stunning beaches, with long, unbroken strips of white sand, coastal towns, full of tightly-packed houses designed for fishing families and quaint harbours that once bustled with boats, are all features of this walk.
Whether by design or accident, these three walks join to make a 100-mile route around the edge of Moray, but yet it they allow you to go deep into the heart of what makes this area tick. From the historical aspect of the old railway which connected the Moray Coast to the Central Belt, and the repurposing of it as a haven of nature and diversity.
To the wondrous vitality of the River Spey, its fishermen, and the Speyside distilleries that form the most highly concentrated whisky production areas in the world.
To the magic of the world-class Moray beaches, described by National Geographic as one of the top coastlines on the planet.
You simply cannot just come to Moray and stay in your car, Nice though it is to drive around, you’ll be missing a whole new world of adventure.
And we’re right in the middle of it!
Get more information from The Moray Ways website