Embrace the Winter Wonderland: Discover nine beautiful walks to ignite your passion for the cold season.
In the midst of winter’s full embrace, finding the motivation to venture outside into the cold can be challenging. Yet, it would be a great shame to miss out, for the winter season presents a myriad of fantastic opportunities waiting to be explored!
With the cold, sunny, crisp winter days, you can experience a truly stunning environment, and there’s no better way to get the most out of this than putting on appropriate footwear and clothing, getting outside, and walking through the landscapes of Moray Speyside!
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite winter walks below to ignite your passion for the cold season!
Bin of Cullen
Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5 km)
Time: 1.5 hours
Starting Point: Small Parking area near Deskford (57°39’23.3″N 2°51’10.5″W)
Want to experience some of the most stunning views in Moray Speyside without exerting too much energy in the process? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both (who wouldn’t?!), then you must add the small but great Bin of Cullen to your to-do list.
As the name suggests, the Bin of Cullen is a small hill located just a few miles from the picturesque town of Cullen in the east of Moray Speyside. Standing at a relatively modest height of 320 meters and boasting well-maintained footpaths all the way to the top, it’s a fairly straightforward hill walk that most people will find accessible. At the summit, the views are truly spectacular, with much of the Moray Speyside and Aberdeenshire coast in full view!
Find out more
Distance: 1.75 miles (3 km)
Time: 1 hour
Starting Point: Aberlour
The walk to Linn Falls, and returning via the circular route behind Aberlour, ticks every box if you’re looking for a relatively short, straightforward, and charming woodland walk—perfect for those crisp, frosty, wintry days!
Starting in central Aberlour, the walk begins by following a clear woodland path alongside the picturesque Aberlour Burn. You’ll no doubt catch the strong whisky aromas as the path passes close to the well-known Aberlour Distillery. After a short distance, you’ll reach the lovely and impressive Linn Falls, perfect for great pictures. Another bonus of this walk is finishing back in Aberlour, where there are plenty of options for lunch, teas, coffee, or a tasty sweet treat!
Divie Gorge and Dunphail Castle
Distance: 4.5 miles (7.25 km)
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Starting Point: Logie Steading
This walk is less well-known than its popular neighbour, Randolph’s Leap, but is equally beautiful and deserves your attention. For much of the way, you’ll follow the River Findhorn and River Divie through idyllic woodland, providing lovely views.
Starting and finishing at the beautiful Logie Steading, where you can enjoy a meal or a browse through some of their artisan shops, the walk begins by following the same route to Randolph’s Leap alongside the River Findhorn (it’s possible to take a short detour to include the iconic sight). Branching off to follow the River Divie, you’ll eventually come to the ruins of Dunphail Castle, perched atop a very steep hillock, surrounded on all sides by the impressive Divie Gorge. The castle dates from at least the 14th century and was once put under siege by
Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, in 1330.
The Moray Coast Trail
Distance: 45 miles (72 km) or split into sections
Starting Point: Forres/Cullen or split into sections
The Moray Speyside coast is truly spectacular, with stunning beach after stunning beach, quaint coastal villages, and one-of-a-kind rock formations. A great way to experience the coast for yourself is walking The Moray Coast Trail, either in parts, or if you’re feeling extra energetic, in full!
The Moray Coast Trail is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails, which means it’s an official long-distance walking route with great signposting and well-maintained paths. The full route is a total of 45 miles, starting in Forres and ending in Cullen. However, for a more manageable experience, it’s possible to walk stretches of the route, for example between Hopeman and Lossiemouth, or between Portknockie and Cullen, where you’ll walk past the wonder of Bow Fiddle Rock, Moray Speyside’s most iconic natural landmark.
Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
Starting Point: Winding Walks Forestry and Land Scotland Car Park, near Fochabers
Winding Walks is a popular spot in Moray Speyside for forest walks and views—perfect if you have a four-legged friend or simply crave the tranquillity of a beautiful pine forest.
Located just outside Fochabers and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, there are several trails to choose from, allowing you to mix and match as you see fit. The woodland was once part of the Duke of Gordon’s estate, extending all the way to Gordon Castle. The most popular trail leads to the summit of Whiteash Hill, where you’ll find an impressive pyramidal cairn erected in the late 1800s as a memorial to the Duchess of Gordon. The views are expansive, with lovely Spey Bay in full view.
The Fishwives Walk
Distance: 13 miles (20.8 km)
Time: 6 hours
Starting Point: Buckie
Follow in the footsteps of the famous fishwives by walking this lovely heritage trail through the countryside of historic Banffshire. This varied walk begins in the fishing port of Buckie and extends 13 miles inland to Keith, known as the first ‘Scouts Toun’.
The walk takes its name from the fishwives of Buckie, who, in the 19th century, would distribute the fresh catch from the harbour on foot to the immediate hinterlands around the town. This was tough work, with each fishwife carrying wicker baskets on her back, which could weigh up to 40 pounds. The walk itself is varied, following a combination of minor roads and forest paths, offering pleasant views of the surrounding countryside.
Distance: 4.75 miles (7.5 km)
Time: 4 hours
Starting Point: Small Car Park off B9009 in Glenrinnes
At 840 meters, Ben Rinnes is classified as a Corbett and stands as the highest mountain entirely within Moray Speyside. For those with good levels of fitness, it makes for a beautiful winter walk (provided the snow isn’t too deep!).
Best kept for a clear day, the most popular way up Ben Rinnes starts from a small car park off a minor road in Glen Rinnes, approximately 4 miles southwest of Dufftown. The path leading to the top is clear and fairly gentle throughout, with no tricky or exposed sections. At a steady pace, the ascent should take approximately 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes. The effort to get there is well worth it, offering possibly the best view in Moray Speyside to enjoy. Due to the central location of Ben Rinnes, you can see the entire region in every direction!
Distance: 3.75 miles (6 km) (Hill 99 Trail)
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Starting Point: Culbin Forest Forestry and Land Scotland Car Park, near Dyke
Forests unveil their utmost beauty on crisp, frosty days, transforming into serene winter wonderlands. Moray Speyside stands out as one of Scotland’s most heavily wooded regions, and Culbin Forest is among the best spots for forest walks in the entire area.
Culbin Forest is located in the western part of Moray Speyside, near the tiny hamlet of Dyke. The forest features an extensive network of tracks and paths, offering walks of varying lengths to suit your needs. A must-do experience in Culbin Forest is visiting Hill 99 and climbing its wooden watchtower. From this vantage point, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views spanning the entire forest and extending out to the picturesque Moray Firth coast.
The Speyside Way
Distance: 85 miles (136 km) or split into sections
Starting Point: Buckie or split into sections
It wouldn’t be a walking blog without mentioning Moray Speyside’s most well-known longdistance walking route, The Speyside Way.
The Speyside Way is one of Scotland’s most popular long-distance routes, stretching from Newtonmore in Strathspey to the fishing town of Buckie on the Moray Firth coast. Along its approximately 85 miles of well-maintained paths, you’ll pass world-famous distilleries, historic monuments, and glorious Speyside scenery. Like the Moray Coast Trail, the Speyside Way is also classified as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. It’s possible to walk sections of it as day hikes, with great options including the Tomintoul spur or the stretch between Buckie and Fochabers.