A land of glistening lochs, sweeping mountain ranges, pine trees and verdant valleys, Strathspey in the Cairngorms National Park is perfect for adventurers who love a view
Dominated by the brooding Cairngorms mountain range, and with the outdoor centre of Aviemore on tap, this is serious sporting country, with skiing, fly fishing, golf and climbing right on your doorstep. If you prefer walking, the beautiful trails and woodland paths are a treat. There’s something for everyone in Strathspey.
Taste a dram
The Strathspey’s most popular export is malt whisky. The water is so pure in these parts that many distilleries and breweries are based there. Over half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries are in the Strathspey. Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are two of the larger names, however, there are various smaller ones dotted around the valley.
Book a guided tour and tasting session, or do the Malt Whisky Trail and visit eight distilleries and the Speyside Cooperage. Don’t forget to then take your new-found knowledge to a local pub or two where you can try a couple in your own time!
It’s not just about whisky, the beer is also a must. The Spey Valley Brewery was founded back in 2007 and it took four years to perfect the product.
As the first commercial ‘micro’ brewery in the heart of Speyside, it uses the same famous Strathspey clear water as its bigger brothers, to create a selection of fine hand-crafted beers.
Tee off in some of the most beautiful scenery around
Known as one of the best golf courses in Scotland, the 18-hole Macdonald Spey Valley Championship Golf Course is one of the big draws of this area.
Offering breathtaking views, it gives golfers not only an excellent course to play on, but sublime vistas of the Scottish Highlands and a chance to spot the local wildlife, including osprey, deer and red squirrels.
The course was designed by the well-respected Dave Thomas to include challenging aspects for players and has been the venue for some high-profile golf tournaments. In fact, Strathspey was the host of the European Challenge Tour’s Scottish Hydro Challenge from 2009 to 2018.
Get your adrenaline flowing with these adventure sports
Climbers will love the Ben Rinnes peak near Speyside – walk along the track and marvel at the views across Glen Rinnes as you continue up to Round Hill and Roy’s Hill. It’s a bit of a tough one but you will be met with breathtaking vistas across much of the Moray coast and Aberdeenshire. It’s not high enough to be considered as a ‘Munro Bagging’ peak (over 914m or 3,000 ft), but it is beautiful all the same and definitely worth the climb.
During the snowy season, the slopes of the Cairngorms mountains bring visitors from all over the world to ski and snowboard due to the great variety of terrain and the fact that it holds the snow well throughout the season.
If you’re not keen on the white stuff, you can also discover a whole host of brilliant activities at Outdoor Activities Aviemore, including abseiling, gorge walking, kayaking and high ropes.
Take a serene canoe trip down the River Spey, or if you suddenly feel the need for speed, sign up for white water rafting on the UK’s best white-water rafting river, the River Findhorn.
Try a spot of fly fishing on the river
Aside from its distillery connections, the pure waters of the River Spey are also well-known for their excellent salmon and sea trout fishing. Probably one of the most famous areas in the world for this type of fishing, it’s more than160km (100 miles) in length, running from its source at Loch Spey, 16km (10 miles) from Loch Ness up to the Moray Firth.
The fishing season on the Spey opens on the February 11 and runs through until September 30 each year.
The fast-flowing river is only suitable for fly fishing and is home to around 30 famous salmon fishing beats, cared for by professional Spey ghillies. Why not hire a guide and treat yourself to one of the best fishing experiences around?