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Issue 87 - Walking the line

Whisky Magazine Issue 87
April 2010


This article is 8 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Walking the line

Gavin D. Smith explores the Speyside Way.

The Speyside region of northeast Scotland is home to around half the country's malt whisky distilleries. It occupies varying terrain between the cities of Inverness and Aberdeen, embracing the rivers Deveron in the east and the Findhorn in the west, together with others, such as The Livet and the Fiddich, which are intimately connected with the area's distilling heritage.

The beating heart of this beautiful area of rugged mountains, lochs, forests and fertile farmland is, however, the River Spey itself. The Spey is the second longest river in Scotland, and stretches for more than 100 miles from its mountainous source in Loch Spey, south of Fort Augustus, to its outfall into the Moray Firth, a few miles west of the fishing port of Buckie.

The river is notable for its fine salmon as well as its great whiskies, and also boasts one of Scotland's four official Long Distance Routes in the shape of the Speyside Way. The Way runs from south-west of the holiday centre of Aviemore, on the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains, northeast to Buckie, generally following the course of the river after which it is named.

Following the Speyside Way, or dipping in and out of it, as it were, offers a fantastic chance to experience this beguiling part of Scotland close up, allowing you to observe so much more than if confined to a car or coach. It is also a first rate way to explore distilleries and gain a real sense of the landscapes in which they are located.

In total, the Speyside Way stretches...

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