The next section of The Speyside Way, from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch, was a long, fairly straight stretch of 12 miles that followed the old railway route. In fact, throughout most of it, the old station platforms, railway arches and even remnants of discarded railway machinery remained, yet to be claimed by nature.
We breezed through Aberlour, and followed the route as it took us through secluded woodland, which was lucky considering the 30-degree heat. Seriously Scotland, I thought you were supposed to be rainy and cold?!
When the trail isn’t dotted with railway memorabilia, large whisky distilleries will suddenly crop up out of the landscape. Many of them are new; given how the popularity of Scotch has skyrocketed in recent years, and the renewed investment in whisky and tourism in the Speyside region over the past few years, modern distilleries have been rapidly built in response. Although some of them do not accept visitors currently, we’re keeping our fingers crossed they will in a few years!
Eventually The Speyside Way lopes through woodland that backs onto people’s gardens (lucky them!) as well as little tree stump seats that were just my size….
…before eventually leading through more whisky distilleries and railway platforms, before finally opening up into some breathtaking valley scenery.
The entrance to Ballindalloch, a small Scottish village near the Ballindalloch estate, was an impressive one.
The ‘Boat Hole o’ Spey’ is the old railway bridge that used to transport traffic to the village. Austere and industrial in design, it was at complete odds with the design of our bed and breakfast, Cragganmore House.
Arriving early, we dropped off our bags before swiftly bounding off towards Ballindalloch Castle. During our tour of Aberlour, we heard rumours of a new whisky distillery that had opened in Ballindalloch, and were keen to investigate.
Set at the base of the hill in the countryside, the Ballindalloch distillery looked like a beautiful place to work. Unfortunately, like the other whisky distilleries we had passed today, it was not yet open to the public, but that didn’t stop us nosing around the place!
Further along the path we came across the Ballindalloch Bridge, or Bridge of Avon as it’s also called. The gatehouse itself is fancy enough to be confused with the castle, but be warned, Ballindalloch Castle is another several miles walk from the gatehouse along a stretch of very busy road.
Content with seeing the gatehouse and whisky distillery, we made our way back to Cragganmore House for lengthy dips in the Victorian bathtubs and stuffing ourselves with their three-course meals (seriously recommend if you want somewhere to stay in Ballindalloch, the food and rooms are worth the trip alone).