River Spey Descent

River Spey Descent

Five-day & four-night canoe expedition down the River Spey.

  • 2024 departure dates; July 15th, July 29th & August 19th.

Moderately challenging, suitable for those confident in water & with some paddling experience. Start 10am Newtonmore, finish 4pm back in Newtonmore on the final day.

Scottish River Spey Descent

Scotland’s finest canoeing river tour (River Spey Descent) starts in the Cairngorms National Park. The River Spey is one of the most beautiful rivers in Britain, flowing through beautifully forested country and passing many famous distilleries such as Knockando & Glenfiddich. With time on our side, we will pay a visit to at least one of them for a “wee dram” of Speyside malt. Premier salmon fishing and an abundance of wildlife around its banks makes the River Spey one of the best in Britain. The highlight however will surely be its many fun & exciting Grade II rapids and it’s spectacular end at Spey Bay.

Important Information / Grade & Experience

The River Spey descent is a 5 day and 4 night river journey.  By their very nature journeys on the water can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Your guide/s may have to alter the itinerary to ensure group safety. 

The Spey Descent is moderately challenging on mainly easy but fast flowing water.  There are normally no portages required on this trip. It is suitable for water-confident people with little or no experience.  We can offer 1 or 2 day canoe skills courses prior to your trip is you wish.

What We ProvideWhat To Bring?
GuideDrinks Bottle / Hot Flask
Boats & All Technical EquipmentWarm Clothes – 2/3 Sets
Dry Bags or ContainersPair of Trainers – to get wet/muddy
Stoves & FuelSleeping Bag
Cooking Sets; Pots, Plates, CutleryTorch
Tents & Camp Sleeping MatsSunglasses & Suncream
4 Nights CampingMidgey Repellent & Mosquito Head Net
Transport to and from the start / finish point from NewtonmoreToiletries & Personal Medication
Expedition food packsWaterproofs
Day 1 CanoeKingussie to Aviemore
As we begin our journey we will take a little time to look at basic paddle strokes and provide some coaching if required. The upper section of the Spey meanders its way through The Insh marshes nature reserve and here you may spot red shanks, curlews and lapwings. We will also pass by Ruthven Barracks, an old military post used by English troops to suppress the Jacobite rebellion. Further down we reach Loch Insh where we may get a chance to put our the sails up. The River from here to Aviemore provides lots of easy and entertaining rapids, perfect for developing your river paddling skills.
Day 2 CanoeAviemore to Grantown on Spey
Along this section the river eases and meanders under the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains with fabulous views of distant Ben Macdui – Scotland’s second highest mountain. Also along this stretch we often catch sightings of various wildlife such as ospreys and otters and we may even see the old steam train that runs beside the river for a few miles.
Day 3 CanoeGrantown on Spey to Ballindalloch
From here the pace of the river increases considerably and provides many enjoyable class II rapids. We journey ever seaward through native forests and woodlands, passing the old church at Cromdale through some fine salmon fishing beats onto our next overnight stop at Ballindalloch with its nearby castle and a number of distilleries.
Day 4 CanoeBallindalloch to Craigellachie
For lovers of white water this could be the highlight of your trip with many fun grade II rapids. This is also the heart of malt whisky country. We will pass famous names such as Knockando and Tamdhu and later we come to Aberlour – another fine whisky – and also home to the famous Walkers Shortbread Company. A few miles further and we reach camp at Craigellachie just above where Glen Fiddich meets the Spey. As a reward for all your efforts why not treat yourself to a tasty bar meal and a glass of this famous malt at the Highlander Inn.
Day 5 CanoeCraigellachie to Spey Bay
After passing the village of Rothes the river takes us on to Fochabers, where the Baxter family business sits above the road bridge, heralding our approach to the coast. From here on you can smell the sea air and perhaps witness otters at play as we thread our way through the delta. Finally we paddle towards the rolling waves of Spey Bay where we are often greeted by sightings of dolphins. What better to cap it all off than a wee dram of Speyside Malt.

Note – By their very nature journeys in remote or mountainous country can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Your guide/s may have to alter the itinerary to ensure group safety.

Day 1: Meet at Cairngorms Adventure Centre (Newtonmore) at 10am
Day 5: Finish at Spey Bay around 2pm
Return to Cairngorms Adventure Centre (Newtonmore) 4pm

Why not check out Our Great Glen Way Adventure Trip

Why not check out our Facebook to see what we have been doing recently. 

Meeting Location

For this activity we aim to meet at Craigower Lodge in Newtonmore at 10:00.

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