Spey Descent Home Page Details of the trip down the Spey The official Spey Guide Reports and comments from Descenders Gallery : Photos from Spey Descents Contact : Dave Craig

updated September 2009

download the Spey Guide as PDF


ADVISER: Dave Craig, The Beeches, Station Road, Newtonmore. PH20 1AR.
01540 673826 ~ 07870 338110 ~ davecraig1@btinternet.com

GRADE: Grade I/II Rapids (Some Grade III in very higher reaches.)

USES: Scotland’s most popular and ideal river for multi-day descents by canoe.
Limited rafting (almost exclusively Ballindalloch to Knockando/Carron Bridge)
Excellent salmon fishing, especially middle and lower sections.
Salmon season: 11th Feb ~ 30th Sept. No salmon fishing on Sundays.
Some trout fishing in mainly upper sections.

O.S. Maps: Sheets 35; 36 &28. Also Harveys “Speyside Way” (Waterproof) Map

ACCESS POINTS: (‘Traditional/recommended’.)
NB ~ The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows for reasonable and responsible pedestrian/non-motorised craft access, anywhere along the river, which is not over an area of curtilage (e.g. a house garden) and causes no damage to property or crops.

Laggan Bridge – (GR.615942) River right, below road bridge.

Lochain Uvie – (GR.674957) River left via larger of two lochans. Park in lay-by below Creag Dhubh crags.

Newtonmore - (GR.709980) River right, below Speybridge. Vehicular access to left bank only available if resident on Speybridge Campsite. (Avoid unauthorised vehicle/trailer parking at the private/commercial lorry park at the Chef’s Grill.)

Kingussie - (GR.759997) River right, below bridge to Ruthven Barracks. (Use gate on upstream side of the road.)

Loch Insh SW – (GR.822043) Lay-by opposite gate lodge. Access SW corner of Loch Insh via arch under railway.

Loch Insh NE- (GR.837045) Commercial water-sports centre site NE corner of the Loch. (May be a ‘access/landing charge’.)

Kincraig – (GR.835054) River right below church. Park in lay-by opposite church. Please close the gate.

Aviemore - River left, downstream of both road and foot bridges, from car park serving the Old Bridge Inn.

Boat of Garten - River left, downstream side of road bridge.

Broomhill Bridge - River left by bridge. Careful, temporary parking possible, downstream side of bridge.

Grantown on Spey - (GR.028266) River left ~ approx. 450 metres above main-road bridge (by parking areas).

Cromdale - River right below bridge, by the church.

Dellefure Burn - (GR.085316) - River left. (Limited parking space by track leading to fishing hut, upstream. Do not block track.)

Advie Bridge - (GR.120354) - River left. Need to park on verge, ~ river-left, by five bar gate.

Deleigh Pool – (GR138353) – 1 Mile downstream of Advie Bridge. Access via signposted (‘New Access Point’) track. Follow track, passing maintenance sheds to your right, until reaching ample parking/turning area by water’s edge. (NB. No eddies at this point ~ straight on to moving water, over rocks when low water.)

Ballindalloch March Pool (++) - (GR 158369) – River left, where road comes within 10 metres of the river. (Difficult parking because of boulders placed close to roadside.) This, along with Ballindalloch (Main Access) listed below continues to be one of the most frequently used access locations on the Spey.

Ballindalloch (Main access) (++) - (GR.167368) - River left, some 750m downstream of above. Limited parking on left-hand side of road. Avoid leaving vehicles parked here. Currently only pedestrian access available towards the field 150 metres from road, previously available to paddlers. Vehicular access to be reinstated ASAP. (Carpark development scheduled for late 2009.) Once past gate at roadside, most convenient pedestrian access is through metal gate on right at bottom of hill. Turn right through gate instead of left towards the field awaiting development.
(Also, clear path from small lay-by RHS of road, at a point almost midway between the above main access points.)

Delnapot (Bridge) (++) - (GR.169368) - River left below railway bridge, for possible use by those camping (river right) at the small Speyside Way Ballindalloch campsite, by the old station. (Disused railway line - part of the Speyside Way.) Car parking available by the campsite via B9137 just off A95 (signposted ‘Cragganmore’).

Ballindalloch Village – (GR.171367) River right. Accessible immediately before the houses signposted Cragganmore village from the A95. Lay-by on south side of B9137, with footpath opposite, leading (25m) directly to the riverside.

Blacksboat Bridge (++) – River left just upstream of bridge. (Good for paddlers who propose to camp at the old Blacksboat Railway Station and wish to leave their boats under the bridge.)

~ Easy, quick cycle access along the Speyside Way from Knockando for those prepared to ‘shuttle-transport’ by bike to the above indicated (++) access points. (Possible for other accesses/egresses down as far as Craigellachie.)

Knockando - (GR.190416) - River left below Tamdhu distillery. Ample vehicle parking by the old station.
Do not block pedestrian/emergency and maintenance access to Speyside Way – leading to or between the platforms.

Carron – River left by road bridge. Careful temporary parking possible (river left) in passing place. (For parking whilst on the river please use car-park in Carron village ~ approx 400m NW of bridge or shuttle to planned egress.) Access to river via small path, immediate on right just after entering the estate track, on downstream side of bridge.

Aberlour - River right on the grassy bank upstream of the Victoria foot-bridge. Ideally, water conditions allowing, within an area 20 to 30 metres above the bridge. Can be difficult to moor or lift boats from water without damage, because of large sharp rocks placed to support the bank.

Craigellachie (1) – Ideal access, river right, sandy beach, below the Telford bridge. Small but ample car park adjacent.

Craigellachie (2) – If using the Boat o’Fiddich Park campsite – right bank by small black fishing hut, some 500 metres below the road bridge, and approx. 300m above the confluence of the Fiddich Water. Park boats within the ‘L-shaped’ fenced area, approx. 25metres north of the fishing hut. On leaving this location endeavour to stay river-right until the next rapid. (Avoid using the ‘anglers’ litter-bin by the fishing shelter.)

Boat o’ Brig – River left above or below bridge. Access via track leading past water-board building. There is also a small Speyside Way car-park right bank between the bridges. Access to river possible here river right but difficult because of dumpling of large boulders from railway maintenance works.

Fochabers - River right below road bridge. Track access from a sizeable parking lay-by situated on the river side of the Spey Bay road (B9104) just off the A98.

Spey Bay - River right adjacent to buildings and vehicle parking (Tugnet).

At all times whilst enjoying the beauty and majesty of this wonderful river, please in return ~

Park, launch and land with care and consideration at all locations.

Respect the activities of other river users. By the same token, expect they will in turn respect your responsible use of the river and its surroundings. Follow the ‘Paddlers’ Access Code’

Use a whistle to attract attention when approaching anglers ~ who, in many cases, may be facing downstream in a area of noisy water, unaware of your impending approach.

Be prepared to identify yourself /organisation if reasonably requested by any fellow river user. It is ideal, although in no way mandatory, if organisations can clearly display a logo or name of organisation on their boats.

Leave absolutely no litter. If you brought it in, then please, you take it out. (And, if at all practical, please remove any litter left by other previous less caring, less responsible persons.)

If ‘wild toileting’, please do so out of site, at least 30 metres away from the river, with utmost of consideration for others and the environment. Definitive guidance is contained within the SCA website, under Access & Environment/Environmental Guidelines/Human sanitation at ~ http://www.canoescotland.com/Default.aspx?tabid=563.

Remote or ‘Wild-camping’ as documented within and in the spirit of the Land Reform Act should only be in wild/remote places ~ discrete and well away from roads and habitation. Pitching tents close to a road (e.g. by Cromdale Bridge) does not constitute ‘wild-camping’, thus not subject to ‘rights’ within the Act.

On departure from any camp-site no evidence should remain of your being there. Perhaps only the odd temporarily flattened blade of grass. Definitive guidance is contained within the SCA website at ~ http://www.canoescotland.com/Default.aspx?tabid=621

Fires can be lit but only in a safe location, well away from trees and other flammable vegetation or structures, ideally on a stone/shingle base (dry river-bed ideal or by carefully lifting and later replacing turf or other vegetation). Once extinguished, no evidence of the fire should remain.

For detailed information on Outdoor Access in Scotland visit ~ www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

A version of this Guide is available on-line ~ www.speyguide.co.uk


Well know for its ‘Classic Descents’ this is a major river that can usually be relied upon to give reasonable water levels at all seasons. Probably one of the most beautiful rivers in Britain, flowing past the Cairngorms, through Badenoch and Strathspey and into the Moray Firth at Spey Bay. Whilst, before venturing on to the Spey unguided one should be a proficient paddler, there are very few highly technical rapids on the river. On sections downstream of Grantown-on-Spey there is a good number of entertaining Grade II rapids.

Truly a ‘water-path’, this river is navigable for most of its length ~ from source at Loch Spey (where the Spey shares its water shed with the turbulent River Roy). A major hazard occurring above Laggan Bridge is the Spey Dam, which like the River Roy steals the Spey's waters and takes them westward (to help power an aluminium smelter). However, good water-levels and much portage are required to make the very highest reaches navigable. Approx 1km upstream of Garva Bridge is a short Grade III rapid requiring care and at Garva Bridge the rapid is impassable in low water conditions and Grade III standard if ‘navigable’. Although Laggan Bridge is a fairly good access point, Newtonmore is normally recognised as the highest reasonable starting place unless river is fairly high. Roads run close to the river throughout its length.


In addition to that contained within the Scottish Land Reform Act, which allows for responsible pedestrian; cycle; horse and non-motorised boat access, there is a public right of navigation on the River Spey. ‘Navigation’ extends to movement over the water ~ up, down and across stream. However, obviously it is imperative that there is mutual respect and co-operation between all water users. In recent years substantial bridges have been built through constructive communication between the paddle-sports and angling bodies. All paddlers should make all reasonable effort to minimise disturbance to anglers and prevent upset. Those who paddle the Spey regularly are grateful for the co-operation of the riparian owners, ghillies and Spey Fishery Board staff who give of their time to liase with us, thus keeping open constructive, mutually beneficial lines of communication.


Canoeists can start a scenic, leisurely paddle from opposite the campsite at Spey Bridge just above Newtonmore. The stretch to Kingussie can be shallow but offers a variety of small, fun rapids ~ ideal for a first time experience on moving water. Apart from a couple of minor rapids below the Ruthven Bridge at Kingussie, the river meanders slowly through the Insh Marshes, an important bird sanctuary, and into Loch Insh ~ a major pool in the River Spey. Fallen trees and overhanging branches are the main hazards on these upper sections.

Below Aviemore there are some short, easy rapids but once past Boat of Garten the river moves slowly through very flat land. This slow moving stretch continues to around Broomhill Bridge. (Just below Broomhill, at Boat of Balliefurth ~ GR. 013245 ~ is an ideal, easily accessed campsite.)

The majority of rapids throughout the length of the Cairngorms National Park area are Grade I (Laggan to Delliefurie Burn below Cromdale). However,on the approach to Grantown-on-Spey, the river becomes rocky and once through the road bridge the water starts to move more decidedly seaward. We have now moved into the prime fishing beats of the Spey. Going under Advie Bridge it is worth, in low water conditions, moving river right to under the second ‘arch’, beyond the middle support, to avoid the rows of post stumps remaining under the left ‘arch’ from a previous bridge structure. From Ballindalloch the river offers a variety of Grade II rapids.

The Ballindalloch to Knockando section includes the best of the white water on the Spey. Suitable for and popular with proficient paddlers, this is the single most paddled section of the river. Please alleviate any potential parking problems at the Ballindalloch site by moving vehicles on down to Knockando, where there is ample parking space. Alternatively, one can access the bridge from river right close by the bunkhouse situated in the old Ballindalloch Railway Station. The shuttle on this section is very easily done by bicycle using the Speyside Way, making for a shorter journey, on the return to Ballindalloch from Knockando. As well as being environmentally friendly, using bicycles in shuttles here can avoid potential parking problems at the Ballindalloch parking/launch area as it minimises vehicle numbers and requires no vehicles to be left at the start point.


Downstream of the bridge at Ballindalloch the River Avon (pronounced Aann) enters the Spey from the right. Here, a more interesting Grade II rapid on a double bend introduces the heavier section of the river. Next is Blacksboat Rapid (GR. 181380), a location where the river bed drops fairly sharply and, particularly in low water conditions, the Spey's waters are funnelled into a straight, fast flowing, turbulent water chute providing a real, natural roller-coaster ride. Running parallel with the river at this point, and on downstream to Spey Bay, is the Speyside Way. This is a scenic long-distance footpath stretching to Aviemore, with a spur to Tomintoul, following part of the route of the dismantled Strathspey railway line and from Tugnet along the coast, almost to Buckie. Some 800 metres below Blacksboat Rapid is the disused Blacksboat Station, which now serves as a very basic camping area at the side of the Way. No facilities are available except for a cold-water tap, situated on the side of the large, old goods-shed.

One is now in an area where small places are big in worldwide terms of malt-whisky names! In a little over two kilometres below Blacksboat Bridge the river bends and one can see the chimneys of the Tamdhu Distillery, signalling the approach to Knockando ~ probably the best known of all Spey rapids (and a fine malt!). At Knockando the river provides interest in most conditions although, as with many of the Spey rapids, it can become a little "washed-out" when the river is high. This two-part rapid has been designated, through local agreement (see below) as a white water training area. The access and egress point is immediately below the rapid on the left bank with a steep path leading up to the old disused railway platform. For ease of loading and unloading and carrying boats it is possible to park on the old railway line by the top of the access path. However, as the railway line is now part of the Speyside Way the track should not be obstructed.

At the instigation and subsequent provision of ground by Knockando Estates, linked with funding from Sportscotland, in May 2002 a new toilet and changing rooms facility was opened at Knockando Rapid, for use by paddlers and walkers. This is an excellent example of an estate working hand in hand with the governing bodies of sports. Knockando Estates are not only prepared to negotiate with recreational users but also realise, in economic terms, the value of outdoor pursuits to the area of Strathspey. Many thanks are extended to the Wills family for their forward thinking and co-operation. Situated river left, half way up the riverbank, by the steps just below the end of the rapid, the unit comprises a male and female changing area and “composting toilet”. Please endeavour to leave the facility cleaner than when you arrived. Any “foreign objects” dropped down the toilet will completely negate the composting process. However, a handful of the sawdust (provided in bins) should be thrown down the toilet after use. To ensure long term access to this key facility, we must make every effort possible to use these facilities with all due care and respect.

The scenery from Knockando to Fochabers is some of the most picturesque on the Spey with an interesting variety of rapids. This is an extremely pleasant, entertaining section underestimated, indeed unknown to many paddlers. Many appear to assume that only the Ballindalloch to Knockando section offers white water. In the final twenty miles to the sea the river passes through steep, tree laden banks, past stunning red cliffs and pinnacles of ancient, iron-rich glacial deposit. Then one moves into flatter land but still presenting a number of entertaining rapids and very few slow pools. There are many key salmon fishing pools on this section. Here more than almost anywhere else on the river, expect to liase with and negotiate past large numbers of anglers. (Estates managers have requested the use of whistles ~ likely to be heard over the noise of the water ~ to attract the attention of the angler, as canoes approach. Thus allowing the angler to indicate which side they would prefer canoes to pass. See attached ‘Anglers Guide’.

BEWARE ~ At Craigellachie, if landing at the Boat of Fiddich Pool, because of sharp brick-work underwater from a fallen wall, avoid cutting in above any angler fishing high up in the pool. Rather give a wide berth towards river-left before landing downstream of the black fishing shelter (river-right). On the approach to Boat o’ Brig beware of a large boulder situated in the middle of the flow, at a left-hand bend know as ‘Otter Hole’. Then on the Braewater Estate approx. 1½ miles above Fochabers, after the final section of red sandstone banking, look out for on river right two large croys (~ man-made rock dykes built out into the water). These obstacles are probably the most likely to cause boat wreckage on the whole of the Spey. However, with care, they can be avoided. Many large uprooted trees present on the section below Fochabers ~ requires care in choosing lines through the ever changing single banks. In approaching the lower, tidal section, in certain conditions, severe turbulence can occur, thus making paddling quite difficult. It is inadvisable to enter the sea in conditions of off-shore winds. This said, for most of the time this whole final section is a very pleasant approach to the waves at Spey Bay, where the fresh meets the salt.

(In addition to the O.S. maps listed at the start of this guide, Harveys Maps have produced an excellent waterproof map (ISBN 1-85137-337-3) which covers the length of the Speyside Way. This publication would be a valuable asset for anyone navigating the Spey, downstream of Aviemore.)

Ballindalloch to Knockando

Since the early 1980’s substantial bridges have been built through constructive communication between paddlers and anglers, particularly on this the most frequently used section of the Spey. Some years ago, the late Sir David Wills (proprietor of Lower Pitchroy, Phones and Knockando Estates) kindly agreed to the designation of Knockando Rapid as a ‘White Water Training Area’ which, also due to the co-operative nature of Knockando Estates, has on the bank, close to the rapid a toilet and changing facility. The Training Area is available every day between 10am and 10pm. Please stay within the white posts (avoid playing in the pools above and below the rapids). Portage up along the path on the bank, river right, between the posts. Vehicular access will be from the public road to Knockando (Tamdhu) Station on the left bank and pedestrian access by the steps upstream of the "Station Pool". Paddlers are requested to egress out through the sizeable recessed eddy and up the double set of steps (near to the changing hut) on the left bank just where the fast water ends.

Paddlers who wish to seek local advice when passing through Knockando waters, (includes from approx. 1 km. below Blacksboat Bridge to approx 2km. above Carron Bridge) then please contact the Estate by phoning the factor, Duncan Dunbar-Naismith ~ 07919 183260//01340 810580 or duncandn@knockando-estate.co.uk or one of the Estate ghillies: 01340 810278 (Sandy Smith).
Ballindalloch Estate Office staff can also be contacted on 01807 500205 (Factor ~ Tim Atkinson). Ballindalloch Estate waters stretch from the access point at GR 158369 to the pool downstream of Craigroy Island, approx 1km. below Blacksboat Bridge. Representatives from these Estates cannot deny access but may suggest the most suitable time, from a fishing perspective, for canoeing on that particular day.

Knockando Estate has requested, where possible, canoes and rafts adhere to the following guidelines:

Through Knockando Estates fishing pools, (ie all pools approx.1km downstream of the island below Blacksboat Bridge to a point approx. 3km below Knockando Station), apart from the initial two pools where paddlers are requested to stay over river left, please move over towards the right bank on other lower pools. Please look out for a section of concrete banking on river right, approx. 1 mile into Knockando Estate. Please stay right thereafter. As a further indicator large signs are now in place but ~ for all pools through Knockando Estates with fishing huts close-by, please stay river-right.

Otherwise, paddlers should follow the key points laid out in the Access Code for Paddlers produced in conjunction with the Scottish Canoe Association and Scottish Natural Heritage. This publication is available from the SCA office.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows for reasonable and responsible pedestrian/canoe access, anywhere along the river, which is not over an area of curtilage and causes no damage to property or crops.

For detailed information on Outdoor Access in Scotland visit ~ www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

Any serious cases of unreasonable behaviour linked to access or navigation of the river should be reported as soon as possible and with as much detail as is available ~ type of incident, location and where known/appropriate names of those involved to ~

SCA Access & Environment Officer: mikedales@canoescotland.org
and/or relevant Local Access Officer ~
Cairngorms National Park Authority (Laggan to Dellefure Burn): franpothecary@cairngorms.co.uk ;
Highland Council (Tulchan Estate only): stuart.eastaugh@highland.gov.uk ;
Moray Council (Ballindalloch to Speybay): douglai@moray.gov.uk

This system of incident reporting is applicable to all River Users ~ paddlers, anglers, etc.

Additional Information


A salmon parasite known as Gyrodactylus salaris (Gs) is present in the rivers of some European countries, especially Norway, and it is of great importance that it is not brought into the UK. If it did get into our rivers the consequences would be disastrous to canoeing and many of our rural industries. Whilst live fish imports present the greatest risk of importing the parasite, recreational users of water, such as canoeists, sailors, windsurfers and anglers have the potential to bring the parasite into the country if they do not follow some simple precautions.

The Scottish Canoe Association website carries detailed advice for paddlers travelling abroad. Visit www.canoescotland.com and click on Access & Environment then go to Waterborne Diseases then Gyrodactylus salaris. As well as the Scottish Canoe Association's own advice there are links to further advice (in English) from the Norwegian Canoe Association. This is a very serious issue that all recreational users of water should be familiar with. Please help to keep this disease out of the UK and do what you can to help raise awareness of the dangers.


A fresh water inhabitant, the Signal Crayfish is a North American species that was imported into England in the mid-1970s. It has now established thriving populations in numerous river systems in Southern Britain and is now found in several streams in Scotland. Studies have demonstrated that it can have very harmful effects on our native flora and fauna, including its liking for fish eggs. The distribution of Signal Crayfish in Scotland is believed to be restricted to a few streams in the south west, although isolated specimens have been reported further north. If you observe Signal Crayfish in Scottish waters, or see evidence of them such as body parts, you should report the sighting to the Freshwater Research Services Laboratory at Pitlochry. Further details can be found on their website at: http://www.marlab.ac.uk/Uploads/Documents/FW-SignalCrayfish.pdf.


River users are being asked by the Scottish Wildlife Crime Unit to report to local police anything which might be considered suspicious, surrounding possible damage to the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel. Regrettably, illegal fishing of this valuable creature is still being practised. Any help we can give in reporting any such incidents ~ people walking in the water without fishing rods; using glass bottomed buckets; large quantities of opened shells, etc. would be very valuable in ensuring the continued existence of the Fresh Water Mussel which world-wide, now survives in only a few Scottish rivers. Because their life cycle depends upon their eggs being carried for a time in the gills of Salmon, Fresh Water Pearl Mussels only survive in salmon rivers. The Spey is a key river in terms of FWPM stocks. Please help protect them.

For further details of the FWPM and its protection, log on to www.nwcu.police.uk

NB Any unauthorised fishing on a Scottish river is in law categorised as poaching, thus a criminal offence, punishable by heavy fines and possible confiscation of equipment, including ~ tackle and boats, even vehicles. Towing a line behind a canoe is technically ‘poaching’, thus a serious breach of the law!



NEWTONMORE 01540 673253
KINGUSSIE 01540 661297 (Easter ~ Oct.)
AVIEMORE 01479 810930
CARRBRIDGE 01479 841630 (Easter ~ Oct.)
GRANTOWN ON SPEY 01479 872773
DUFFTOWN 01340 820501
ELGIN 01343 542666


1. Invernahavon Caravan Park, Glentruim, Newtonmore. PH20 1BE 01540 673534
(Kenny & Susie Knox)

2. Speybridge Camp/Caravan Site, Newtonmore*** 01540 673275
(Mr. Sandy Leslie)

3. The Beeches (B&B), Station Rd. Newtonmore PH20 1AR 01540 673826
(Jude & Dave Craig) www.thebeechesnewtonmore.com davecraig1@btinternet.com

4. Newtonmore Independent Hostel, Main Street, Newtonmore. PH20 01540 673360
(Peter & Kathryn Main) pete@HighlandHostel.co.uk

5. Strathspey Hostel, Main Street, Newtonmore PH20 01540 673694
(Mr Laurie Skuodas) strathspey@newtonmore.com

6. The Laird’s Bothy, 68 High Street Kingussie. PH21 1HZ 01540 661334

7. Happy Days Hostel, High Street, Kingussie 01540 661175

8. Loch Insh Chalets, Kincraig. PH21 1NU 01540 651272
(Mr Andrew Freshwater) andy@lochinsh.com

9. Lagganlia Centre, Feshiebridge, Kincraig. PH21 1NG 01540 651265
(Mr Ian Ross) ian@lagganlia.com

10. Glen Feshie Hostel, Balacroick, Kincraig. PH21 1NH 01540 651323

11. Dalraddy Holiday Park, Dalraddy, Aviemore. 01479 810330
(This site is just 1.2km from the river. Accessible via a rough track leading
from the river GR859071)

12. Speyside Lodge/Caravan Park, Aviemore PH22 1PX 01479 811688

13. Pine Bank Chalets, Aviemore 01479 810000
(Judith & Alex Burns-Smith) pinebankchallets@btopenworld.com

14. Aviemore Bunkhouse, Aviemore*** 01479 811181 www.aviemore-bunkhouse.com

15. Aviemore Youth Hostel, PH22 1PR 01479 810910

16. Rothiemurchus Caravan/Camping Park, Coylumbridge PH22 1QU 01479 812800

17. Loch Morlich Youth Hostel, Glenmore. PH22 1QY 01479 861238

18. Glenmore Camping/Caravan Park, Glenmore. PH22 1QU 01479 861271

19. Glenmore Lodge (National Centre) Glenmore. PH22 1QU 01479 861256

20. Boat of Garten Camping/Caravan Park, PH24 3BN 01479 831652

21. Nethy Station Bunk Houses, Nethybridge 01479 821370
(Patricia & Richard Eccles) richard@nethy.org/www.nethy.org

22. Abernethy Centre, Nethybridge 01479 82279

23. Boat of Balliefurth Campsite (Approx. 3k Downstream of Broomhill Bridge)***
River right. (Not Balliefurth Farm) Signposted by river ‘Camping This Side’.
£ 3.00 per person per night. Please pay at white house 500m along track.
(Adelaide & Ronnie Macpherson) Best to book ahead. 01479 821435

24. Ardenbeg Bunkhouse, Grant Road, Grantown on Spey 01479 872824
(Rebecca Reid ~ Offers limited equipment hire and ‘shuttle service’.) enquiries@ardenbeg.co.uk

25. Grantown-on-Spey Camping/Caravan Park. PH26 3JG 01479 872898

26. Cromdale Centre, Cromdale. 01224 208446
(Aberdeen City Council, Leisure Development)

27. Ballindalloch Station Bunkhouse, Cragganmore 01540 651272
(Mr Andrew Freshwater) andy@lochinsh.com

28. *Ballindalloch Station ~ Small campsite with toilet and carparking adjacent (Cragganmore, off A95)
Access from river from left bank below bridge and walk across bridge to site or look out river-right for a style (not easily seen from the river) approx. 150m. upstream from metal bridge. Then access across field (kindly agreed by Colin Robertson, the farmer) to gate on south side of field. Please close and securely tie the gate as often cows and a ‘friendly enough’ bull in the field.

29. *Blacksboat Station Camping Area. Cold tap only facility available, situated on the recently refurbished, large goods-shed now used as a store by the Speyside Way Ranger Service.

30. Aberlour Gardens Caravan/Campsite, Aberlour. AB38 9LD 01340 871586
(Simon & Denice Blades ~ may be able to shuttle paddlers to their well appointed campsite ~ GR 282433)

31. *Boat o' Fiddich Park Camping Area, Craigellachie
Camp area is located in Fiddich Park by the car park & public toilets. Designated canoe parking area ~ L-shaped fencing, complete with tethering rings ~ 25 metres north/downstream of the black fishing shelter (river right, approx. 400 metres downstream of road bridge). Use steps upstream of the fishing shelter to gain access on to the Speyside Way. At top of steps, turn left along the Way; continue 250 metres along the track under the bridge. Camping is on the flat areas beyond the car park and wooden toilet building. If anyone fishing when paddling away from this location endeavour to stay river-right until the next rapid. (Please avoid using the litter-bin located by the fishing shelter.)

32. Burnside Caravan Site, Fochabers 01343 820511
(D G Christie) GR 350582

* = Speyside Way Sites ~ ref. Moray County Countryside Ranger
Aberlour, Banffshire. 01340 881266
www.speysideway.org speyside.way@moray.gov.uk
Bold print indicates close proximity to the river. *** = most convenient

Reliable/economical minibus shuttles, including to/from Spey Bay, contact ~
Jake Strachan (Grantown) 01479 870025/079211 85088 (Can provide a small canoe trailer.)

Equipment hire, etc., available from Mike on 08456 125567/mike@bootsnpaddles.co.uk

Expertly Guided Open Canoe Spey Descents ~ normally Kincraig to the sea, over 5 (4 or 3) days.
~ all transport shuttles; canoeing & camping equipment + food provided as required.
~ or guide and equipment only ~ e.g. D of E canoe expedition/skills training
~ tel. 01540 673826 or dave@speydescent.com. www.speydescent.com

Version of this Guide is available on-line at www.speyguide.co.uk

For detailed information on outdoor access in Scotland visit ~ www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

The Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) is the recognised National Governing Body for canoeists and kayakers in Scotland. It is a membership organisation with over 2,500 individual members, 80 affiliated clubs and 18 approved centres. The SCA is volunteer led and overseen by a board of directors.


The River Spey, as well as being one of the worlds finest for salmon fishing, is also Scotland’s most ideal river for journeying by canoe.

Confirmed by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, on Scottish rivers there is a statutory right of non-motorised navigation and a right of reasonable and responsible access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders over land and to non-motorised craft on inland water. www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

Thus, it is quite likely that, canoes may be present on the river, approaching from upstream.
(On small sections of extended white-water, rafts may also be used.)

There is in place a written ‘Paddlers’ Code of Conduct’ of which the majority of canoeists & rafters will be aware. ‘Paddlers’ Access Code’

Based on the above, anglers can reasonably expect:

  • The leader of the paddling group will endeavour to ensure the angler is aware of their presence by either shouting or ideally blowing a whistle ~ most likely to be heard over water noise.
  • Once contact established the leader will seek information on the angler’s preferred line of passage for the group.
  • Paddlers will wish to cause minimum disturbance to the angler’s direction of casting and, water depth/obstructions allowing, paddlers will move in the direction indicated. Where the angler is standing on the bank, direction indicated may include towards the angler, even under the rod or toward the opposite bank. If the angler is wading, canoeists will be very happy, where possible, to pass behind i.e. between the angler and the bank.
  • Leaders will endeavour to have their group pass in fairly close formation, with a reasonable, safe distance between each boat, thus minimising the time taken to pass.
  • If an angler is playing a fish, paddlers normally wait upstream until the fish is landed or until there is indication from the angler or ghillie that it is safe to pass towards the direction indicated.
  • In the event of inadvertent capsize, paddlers will do utmost to affect efficient rescue and refloat upturned canoe as soon as possible. Currents can catch out even the most experienced paddlers!
  • Once past, the party will continue on their way downstream. Paddlers will not loiter unnecessarily or ‘play’ in a pool where someone is actually fishing.

Anglers are requested to:

  • Acknowledge they are aware of the presence of paddlers.
  • Carefully consider which line is most practical for both angler and paddler.
  • Give clear direction as to the preferred side for the craft to pass.
  • Not always necessary to take in line. However, refrain from casting whilst boats pass by.
  • As soon as the boats have safely passed the angler may very soon resume fishing.

In following our chosen interests on this wonderful river that is the Spey, we are all privileged to be able to share in her beauty and majesty. The key to harmony on the river is mutual respect and overt courtesy between all river users.

Guidance available to paddlers, specific to the Spey at ~ www.speyguide.co.uk

(Issued jointly by Scottish Canoe Association & Spey Fishery Board.)


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