River Spey from source to mouth

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The river Spey is born in the impressive and remote landscape of the Scottish Highlands, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Fort Augustus, the most southern tip of Loch Ness.

Melting snow and rain are filling hundreds of tiny burns, coming down from the mountains. The Spey, wellknown for salmon fishing and the presence of famous whisky distilleries, flows through Laggan,
Newtonmore and Kingussie, before crossing Loch Insh.

From there the river passes Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey, Aberlour, Craigellachie and Fochabers. In Spey Bay, 107 miles (171 km) from the source, the River Spey ends into the
Moray Firth, an inlet of the North Sea.

1A- Loch Spey

In the Corrieyarack Forest, a completely abandoned part of the Scottish Highlands, the River Spey is born as a very small stream, flowing through Loch Spey 

1C- Near source

Thanks to countless burns the Spey is growing relatively fast in size

2- Deer crossing river

A herd of deer about to cross the river

3- Path near source

4- First bridge

The first bridge near Melgarve

5- Cows in river

The river on its tortuous way to Laggan 

5A- Cows close6- Loch na Laggan

Loch Laggan

7B- View from bridge Laggan

7A- Sign River Spey

The first name plate of the river in Laggan  

8- Bridge Kingussie-Ruthven

The old bridge between Kingussie and Ruthven

9- Ruthven Barracks

After the 1715 Jacobite Uprisings the British Government decided to tighten its grip on the Scottish Highlands by building fortified barracks in strategic locations. Ruthven Barracks along the River Spey was one of them.

On the day after the legendary Battle of Culloden about 3,000 Jacobites assembled at Fort Ruthven with the intention of fighting on. The Jacobites set fire to the barracks and dispersed to try to evade the government forces.

The remains of the barracks are pretty much how it was left by the departing Jacobites on 17 April 1746. Most of the exterior walls remain but little of the interior structure, flooring or roofing survives.    

11- Railway station Aviemore

Behind the railway station of Aviemore the River Spey flows through the last part of the Cairngorms National Park. Especially in winter this location is packed with ski lovers. In the beginning of the sixties of the last century Aviemore was the first winter sport resort in Scotland.  


The Speyside Way

In spring and summer Aviemore is a popular destination for hill walkers. It is the start of the Speyside Way, a walking path following the course of the River Spey untill the mouth in Spey Bay and finishing in Buckie along the Moray coastline.

The route runs through a beautiful scenery of birch woods and pastures of the lower Spey with views of the moors. Hereafter the landscape is slowly replaced by the mountains.

The walkers pass attractive villages and some of the famous Speyside whisky distilleries.

The toughest part of the route is between Ballindalloch and Grantown-on-Spey where the path leaves the river to plot a hillier course amongst the woods and forests on the south side of the valley.


12-Between Nettybridge & Grantown

Between Dulnain and Grantownon-Spey the river flows through a remote area of meadows with sheep seemingly the only living creatures

12A- Nettybridge-Grantown12C - Nettybridge-Grantown13C- Old bridge Grantown

The Old Spey Bridge, situated about one mile southeast of Grantown-on-Spey, is a granite constructions built in 1754 as part of a military route from Coupar Angus to Fort George. The old bridge is not used anymore for fast traffic and was replaced in 1931 by a modern concrete bridge, closer to the town. 

1-Overzicht Camping Grantown

During the travelling along the River Spey our reporters used Grantown-on-Spey Caravan Park as a base. More about this particular location in the report: 'The secret of Grantown-on-Spey Caravan Park'.

Schermafbeelding 2013-07-10 om 19.34.3215A-Spud the Piper

Spud the Piper

A colorful regular appearance in Grantown-on-Spey is Spud the Piper. Commissoned by the Garth Hotel this Highland bagpiper plays several times a week ouside the hotel for the guests. 

Spud is a well-known personality in Scotland, playing primarily on weddings and special events.

Because of the high quality of his music the bagpiper from Aviemore is also beloved by showbiz stars. One of the highlights of his career was performing during the Scottish wedding of superstar Madonna with Guy Ritchie in 2000.

Madonna & Spud

16- Bridge Aberlour

The Spey near Aberlour

17A -Craigellachie Bridge

The Craigellachie Bridge is a cast iron arch bridge spanning the River Spey near the village of Craighellachie. It was designed by the civil engineer Thomas Telford and built from 1812–1814. The bridge has a single span of approximately 46 metres (151 ft) and was revolutionary for its time. 

17B- Craigellachie Bridge torens

The ironwork was transported from the foundry through a canal and an aqueduct then by sea to Speymouth, where it was loaded onto wagons and taken to the site. At each end of the structure there are two 15 m (49 ft) high masonry mock-medieval towers, featuring arrow slits and miniature crenellated battlements.

The bridge was in regular use until 1963, when it was closed for a major refurbishment. Because the road to the north of the bridge takes a sharp right-angled turn to avoid a rock face, the bridge was unsuitable for modern vehicles. Despite this it carried foot and vehicle traffic across the River Spey until 1972, when its function was replaced by a reinforced concrete bridge. Telford's bridge remains in good condition, and is still open to pedestrians and cyclists.

18- River Fiddich

The River Fiddich is one of the numerous tributaries of the River Spey

1- Text entrance19A- Distillery Glenfiddich

The water of River Fiddich is used by the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown. But only for the cooling process. The precious lifeblood for the famous Glenfiddich malt whisky comes from the Robbie Dhu source, in the hills above the distillery.

Founded by William Grant in 1886 Glenfiddich is one of the last family-owned whisky distilleries in Scotland. Very well worth a visit. 

The report: 'The rich history of Glenfiddich'

whisky-trail3scod02Whisky glasses

The Speyside Malt Whisky Trail

The Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside leads to seven working distilleries, including a cooperage and a historic distillery.

From Benromach to Dallas Dhu; from Glen Moray to Strathisla (home and heart of Chivas Regal); from the Glen Grant distillery to the Speyside Cooperage; from Glenfiddich to The Glenlivet and the Cardhu distillery.

Scotland's whisky trail signposts lead the visitors through the picturesque lush countryside of the Speyside malt whisky region.

For more extensive information go to the official website: www.maltwhiskytrail.com

20- Cooperage outside

20B- Cooperage inside

Cooperage: vital ingredient of whisky making process 

Just outside Dufftown visitors of the Speyside Cooperage are enabled to experience the ancient art of coopering. 

Since 1947 this enterprise is producing casks from American Oak. The cooperage is still using traditional methods and tools. Although shipped across the world, many of the casks remain in Scotland, providing a vital ingredient in Scotland’s whisky making process.

There is a modest museum and an interesting video production takes the vistors on a journey through the lifecycle of the cask. They can also see the highly skilled coopers at work from behind glass. Each year the Speyside Cooperage makes and repairs 100,000 casks.

21- Spey near FochabersSpeycasting

Fishermen near Fochabers

Spey casting

The River Spey is considered a jewel amongst Scotlands finest salmon rivers.

The most productive fishing is known as Strathspey from Grantown-on-Spey to Spey Bay. This descent leads to a good flow all season (fishing is allowed between early March untill September), which make fly fishing exciting.

With the narrowness of some parts of the river and its Scots pine lined banks some of the pools are not able to be fished with traditional over head casting. This is why the so-called Spey Cast was invented.
This is a dynamic roll cast that enables the angler to change the direction of the cast. The movement of the fly line across the water with its aerodynamic loops and rolls is visually compelling and gives the angler a feeling of sensation. More and more anglers are taking up this style of casting just for fun alone.

After this Scottish invention, developed in the River Spey in the mid-1800s, this fly fishing technique is not only used in the River Spey, but all over the world for fishing in large rivers for salmon and large trout.


As a base for exploring the surroundings of the northwestern part of the Spey River our reporters chose Culloden Moor Caravan Club Site. The report: 'Culloden Moor site deserves a 10 Plus' 

22- Spey Bay village

Near the coast in Spey Bay

23- Spey Bay na bridge

The last part of the river in Spey Bay

24- Spey Bay near mouth

The confluence with the sea

25- Mouth

The end of the River Spey in the Moray Firth, an inlet of the North Sea


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