Robbie MacPherson Smugglers Trail

Route: A rewarding walk with spectacular views, generally good tracks but can be exposed on the moorland.
Distance: 11km (6.8 miles) circular
Duration: Allow 4 hours
Start: The Glenlivet Distillery: NJ 195

From the distillery car park, head to the right of the entrance passing between the buildings and into the coach park behind. Continue straight ahead on a lane towards the houses, which you pass between. Turn right onto the road passing by Josie’s Well, the source of the pure water used in the whisky making, and continue up to the junction. Turn right (1) and shortly after fork left, past a small car park and over a stile onto a track heading up across a field, following the route of the Speyside Way. Before reaching the derelict cottage look out on your left for a stone cairn, set back from the track (2). This marks the site of Upper Drumin, the location of the original Glenlivet Distillery, before it moved to its present site in 1859.

The track swings left and runs along the edge of a small plantation as it climbs steadily before reaching the edge of the moor (3). Looking back there are rewarding views across the farmland and to the dominating peaks of Ben Rinnes. Continue along the track as it climbs gently across the shoulder of Carn Liath, grouse are often heard and seen on the moors either side of the track, and red deer and golden eagle are also known to frequent this area. Pass through the gate at the end of the track, and turn right heading to the corner of the plantation (4). The peaty ground is boggy here perhaps not the walkers favourite but loved by numerous species of mosses which can be seen. The path follows along the edge of the plantation until the trees end – on a windy day, you’ll miss the shelter they provide! Continue straight ahead up the loose rocky path to the summit of Carn Daimh and enjoy its panoramic views.

From the summit retrace your steps back down to the edge of the plantation. After 100m look out for a signpost and small path leading down to the right (5). Follow this path as it meanders through the heather down to a gap in the plantation below. Continue between the trees and cross the stile into a field. Keep to the left and follow the fence line down keeping to the left of the house of Westertown and emerging onto a track (6). Turn left and follow the track to the junction at Eastertown (7). “Easter” and “Wester” are commonly used in place names in Scotland but have no relation to the compass bearings, Easter means downstream and Wester upstream. At the junction continue straight across and over the stile into Clash Wood opposite.

Follow the path as it skirts along the edge of the wood before emerging onto a track and turning right, following the track to the Clash Wood car park. At the car park turn left onto the road and follow the Gallowhill road for 1km. After passing Blairfindy farm, turn right (8) and follow the path between the fields and back to the settlement of Castleton (9). These houses were originally built for the distillery workers, and take their name from the Castle of Blairfindy which you pass as you continue now along the tarmac road, the distillery, your finish point, now in sight.

Shades or sou'wester?

  • Tuesday 14 °C
  • Wednesday 13 °C
  • Thursday 13 °C
  • Friday 12 °C
  • Saturday 9 °C

Location and map

Set in the stunning eastern Highlands of Scotland, there’s so much waiting to be discovered.

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