There is plenty to look forward to in Malt Whisky Country now that Spring is finally here. We’re all excited about the imminent Spirit of Speyside festival of course, but here are a few more of our personal highlights for the warmer weather.
The Speyside Way is one of only four official long distance walking routes in Scotland. It stretches the length of the Malt Whisky Trail and beyond, with the River Spey at its heart.
If you’re visiting the Glen Grant distillery in Rothes or the Speyside Cooperage, why not take a short drive to Craigellachie where you’ll find ample parking to set off and explore the River Spey on foot. The full Speyside Way takes several days, but setting off from Craigellachie and taking a leisurely walk into Aberlour for a coffee or a spot of lunch is a great way to enjoy the glorious landscape. If you do decide to do the whole long-distance walk, we recommend that you take advantage of companies who can ease the load by dropping your bags at the campsite or hotel at the end of each day.
Glenlivet Hill Trek organises half and full-day guided treks amongst the heather hilltops of the Glenlivet Estate from the comfort of their fleet of Argocats. Their award-winning ‘Whisky Smugglers Tour’ takes you to historical sites not open to the public and includes whisky tasting and a fabulous Scottish lunch in a renovated stone bothy on the slopes of Carn Lath. As well as the Argocat tour, transfer to and from your Upper Speyside Hotel is by Land Rover.
Why not take to the water with Suds Surf School? Don’t worry, wetsuits can be provided! Suds Surf School runs surf lessons and paddle-board lessons around the stunning coastline of malt whisky country. There are beautiful sandy beaches at Sandend, Cullen and Lossiemouth which are perfect for surfing at all levels. For stand up paddleboarding there are sheltered flat water spots and interesting inlets to explore at Spey Bay, Lossiemouth, Roseisle and Findhorn, with plenty of opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife including the Bottlenose dolphins that the Moray Firth is famous for. The Moray Firth enjoys an excellent micro-climate that is warmer, drier and sunnier than the Scottish average and, as the school is mobile, it moves to the make the best of local weather conditions.
After all that strenuous activity, there are plenty of whisky bars with outside seating where you can relax with your favourite malt, or try some new ones. Our favourites spots for a sundowner include the Mash Tun and Dowan’s hotel in Aberlour, or the Craigellachie Hotel and the Highlander in Craigellachie, and the Drouthy Cobbler in Elgin.
Please note some disitlleries have changed to opening hours for change of season and you can get all the up-to-date info here http://maltwhiskytrail.com/malt-whisky-country/distilleries/