Easy gradients on the Speyside Line.
The outward part of this route is entirely on the Speyside Line so the gradients are very easy. The way the railway engineers achieved this was to follow the river, so the views are pretty good too. This part of the route is studded with famous distilleries, all producing the smooth Speyside malt whisky. The dirt surface of the railway path is generally quite smooth, immediately south of Craigellachie there are some grassy sections.
This section is really lovely. There are striking views of the River Spey, it's also surprisingly quiet. Being completely flat with no motor traffic, it's ideal for children. In Craigellachie, by the ranger's office, turn right on to the old railway line (turning left takes you to Dufftown). The track bed runs under the main road then follows the river bank. There is a small tunnel. Horses are allowed, though we never met any. The route runs through a park in Aberlour, there is a tea room in the old station building run by ladies from the local church. If this isn't your scene you can always go to the Station Bar After this the route rolls along by the river through mixed woodland. You pass the former halt of Dailuaine, cross a minor road, then cross the river on a combined 'rail'/road bridge. Turn left on to the path again. The track runs by the Knockando and Tamdhu distilleries. You can see a copper still containing 3180 gallons of malt whisky, just ten yards away from the path at Knockando. Visits are by arrangement only. After Tamdhu the path runs high above the river giving lovely views, there's a small viaduct with steps down, you pass under the B9102 at Blacksboat where there are picnic tables, then you roll along by wide meanders in the river to the former railway bridge at Ballindalloch. Cross the bridge to Ballindalloch Station.