3 Places to Bask in Speyside’s Autumn Beauty

For me there is nothing more beautiful than Speyside in autumn, when the landscape shrugs on its cloak of many colours.  I love the crispness of the air and the carpet of leaves underfoot; the fiery shades igniting the forests and hillsides; the ruddy glow of a blushing countryside.  With its beautiful woodlands, winding rivers and rugged hills, the Moray Speyside area is ideal for immersing yourself in an autumn palette.

Here are three ideas of where you can enjoy the spectacular autumn scenery and some fantastic autumnal events.

Speyside & The Autumn Whisky Festival

Set in and around the Malt Whisky Capital of Dufftown, the hugely popular Speyside Autumn Whisky Festival is a great place to get a taste of Speyside in autumn.  Held from 25th to 29th September, the whisky festival features a number of events from whisky tasting and distillery tours to music and dancing.  Highlights include the ‘Seven Stills Tour’, with a visit to all of Dufftown’s past and present distilleries (and a dram at each), and the Whisky Smugglers’ Experience by Land Rover around the Braes of Glenlivet, visiting sites of 18th century illicit distillers and smugglers.

As well as touring the famous Speyside distilleries and soaking up the stunning landscapes in which they are nestled, make sure you take a walk along the banks of the mighty River Spey.  The tree-lined edge of the Spey is lit in glorious ambers shades during the autumn months, particularly impressive around the Craigellachie Bridge and along the river banks in the town of Aberlour.

Glenlivet & The Autumn Deer Rut

One of the highlights of the autumn calendar in Scotland is the red deer rutting.  To view this amazing spectacle for yourself you can join the Red Deer Rut Safari tour run by Glenlivet Wildlife, from 25th September to 19th October – an off road Land Rover tour that lasts around 3 and a half hours and takes you deep into the Braes of Glenlivet.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the woodland and moorland in all its autumn beauty and you may also spot red and black grouse, mountain hare and roe deer, as well as clashing red deer.

Glenlivet Wildlife also run an Autumn Gold Safari tour from 23rd October to 30th November where you can enjoy views of the landscape wrapped in its gorgeous autumn colours as well as wildlife watching.

Quarrelwood, Elgin

As you leave Elgin on the A96 heading towards Forres, you drive through an oakwood which has truly breathtaking displays of golden hues in the autumn months.  The woodland that stretches over this section of the A96 is known as the Quarrelwood, maintained by Forestry Commission Scotland.  There are two walking trails that loop through this woodland: the Ancestor’s Trail and the Elginia Trail, offering lovely views of Elgin and the Moray Firth.  The car park for the Ancestor’s Trail in the Oak Wood can be found on Brumley Brae, just off Morriston Road near the Eight Acres Hotel.  Drive along the A96 past the woodland and take a right, signposted Rosebrae, to find parking for the Elginia Trail.

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