When it came to choosing a hiking destination in Scotland, we were spoilt for choice. With its rugged mountain scenery and beautiful coastline, it was difficult to choose. All we knew was that it needed beautiful scenery, culture and whisky. Lots of whisky.
So when we came across the Speyside Way, we knew we were on to a winner.
The long-distance hiking trail extends 65 miles across the northern coast of Scotland, through historic towns that have barely changed over the years, to its pine forests and whisky country. Ending in Cairngorm National Park, the Speyside Way highlights Scotland’s history, heritage and countryside in pockets that are not always visited by tourists.
Starting off in the quaint village of Buckie, the trail hugged the coast for the first couple of miles. Which was just as well, because after hours on planes and buses we wanted nothing more than to laze on the beach.
It also gave me the opportunity to indulge in a spot of mudlarking (don’t judge me). Being an old fishery town that has remained largely untouched, some really fascinating objects had washed up on Buckie’s shore, such as Victorian bottles. As well as the things I had spent ages scouring the ground for…..
Sea glass! Basically, glass bottles, jars, etc. that has spent years being rolled around the ocean are gradually smoothed around its edges and eventually wash up on the shore looking like semi-precious stones.
As we continued to walk, what we eventually thought were brown blobs of refuse washed up on shore…..
turned out to be silkies! (Scottish slang for seals)
We whiled away the rest of the afternoon watching them flop around the shore. It turns out seals are not that active, but just when we were getting ready to leave, two of them decided to practice their circus routine for us:
Eventually we aarfed our goodbyes and headed off into the scrubs towards Spey Bay, following the old Speyside Railway trail that carted people all over the Scottish coast during its fishery heyday.
Along the way, we passed some sexually frustrated cows…..
As well as some gorgeous scenery that was worth a stop and gaze:
A slight wrong turn took us back onto the beach, but with the entire place to ourselves we did not mind that much.
At last, we made it to Spey Bay where a friendly, and more importantly warm, welcome awaited us at The Rest Bed and Breakfast. Cosy rooms and a day’s hiking would have been enough to drift me off to sleep, but the added benefit of the ocean waves sent me off to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.