Geo-Trips :: The Southern Sections of the Dava Way: Grantown-on-Spey to Dunphail

Moray

A walk from Grantown-on-Spey, Wed, 19 Aug 2020 by Anne Burgess

preceding legThis trip is part of a series.next leg

We left a car at Dunphail and another at Grantown-on-Spey, and walked back to Dunphail, notching up a total of just over 16 miles in 8 hours' walking, and rounded off the day with a fish supper in Grantown when we went to collect the second car.

The Dava Way mostly follows the Grantown to Forres section of the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway, later Highland Railway, so the route is direct with gentle gradients and firm underfoot, making for very easy and pleasant walking. There are three short diversions to avoid former railway buildings which are now private residences. It is well waymarked and it would be quite difficult to get lost!

The first part of the route passes through wooded land with gaps offering views over farmland. Then it emerges on to the bleak and open Dava Moor, with wide views in all directions. In August, when we walked it, the surrounding moor and hills were purple with heather, but it would be nearly as stunning in spring when the whins are in flower. The last few miles is again wooded, and includes crossing the splendid Divie viaduct at Edinkillie, though you don't really see the viaduct when you cross over using it.

There are no services at all along the route, but there are several places where there is access to the A939 and A940, which run in roughly the same direction as the railway line. We found lots of ripe raspberries and even blackcurrants along the way to supplement the food we had brought with us.

We enjoyed it so much that we did it again, in the opposite direction, two years later Link.

For detailed information about the Dava Way see LinkExternal link.

Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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NJ0327 : Speyside Home by Anne Burgess
Speyside Home
Originally an orphanage endowed by Dame Jane Grant of Monymusk who died in 1788,... more

NJ0327 : Bus Tours are back! by Anne Burgess
Bus Tours are back!
As the restrictions imposed during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic have... more

NJ0228 : Lynemore Care Home by Anne Burgess
Lynemore Care Home
A purpose-built modern care home run by the Buckie-based Parklands Group. See... more

NJ0228 : Dulicht Bridge by Anne Burgess
Dulicht Bridge
The bridge carries the former Highland Railway over the road to Dreggie and the... more

NJ0228 : Start of the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Start of the Dava Way
This is the first part of the Dava Way, just north of Dulicht Bridge at Grantown-on-Spey.

NJ0228 : Beside the Highland Railway by Anne Burgess
Beside the Highland Railway
Quite often a wider cutting on a railway reveals the site of a station, but this... more

NJ0328 : Railway Cutting by Anne Burgess
Railway Cutting
One of several cuttings on the Highland Railway, passing through hard micaceous... more

NJ0328 : Deep Cutting by Anne Burgess
Deep Cutting
The Highland Railway track here passes through a deep cutting in the Nethybridge... more

NJ0329 : Houses near Grantown by Anne Burgess
Houses near Grantown
Seen from the Dava Way. The house with the dormer windows is Dalbeg, and the... more

NJ0329 : A Green Tunnel by Anne Burgess
A Green Tunnel
There are no tunnels on the section of railway now followed by the Dava Way, other... more

NJ0329 : Edencoille by Anne Burgess
Edencoille
See from the Dava Way.

NJ0329 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Colourful late summer flowers line the side of the former railway trackbed.

NJ0229 : Auchnafearn by Anne Burgess
Auchnafearn
The farm at Auchnafearn stands well above the Dava Way.

NJ0330 : Lynemagregor Cottage by Anne Burgess
Lynemagregor Cottage
The cottage stands close to the former Highland Railway Line.

NJ0330 : Castle Grant Gate Arch by Anne Burgess
Castle Grant Gate Arch
The arch, railway overbridge and gate lodge were all built by the Highland Railway... more

NJ0330 : East Lodge by Anne Burgess
East Lodge
A halt was provided, and the gate lodge built, to allow the proprietor, the Earl... more

NJ0330 : East Lodge by Anne Burgess
East Lodge
The extravagantly turreted East Lodge was built by the railway company in 1864 as... more

NJ0330 : Castle Grant Halt by Anne Burgess
Castle Grant Halt
This was the private halt of the Earl of Seafield, where he could get on and off... more

NJ0330 : Former Highland Railway by Anne Burgess
Former Highland Railway
The trackbed is now pert of the Dava Way.

NJ0330 : Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) by Anne Burgess
Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
A fine seedhead of Wild Angelica beside the path.

NJ0330 : Field beside the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Field beside the Dava Way
What actually caught my eye here was the misshapen Scots Pine with two trunks in... more

NJ0330 : Lime Flowers and Fruits by Anne Burgess
Lime Flowers and Fruits
On a tree beside the Dava Way.

NJ0330 : View from the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
View from the Dava Way
A gap in the woods affords a view towards the distant mountains.

NJ0331 : Field Gate by Anne Burgess
Field Gate
The track past the gate leads to Wester Cottartown.

NJ0331 : Lynmore by Anne Burgess
Lynmore
A smart new house at Lynmore, just beside the Dava Way.

NJ0331 : Mid Lynmore Wood by Anne Burgess
Mid Lynmore Wood
Scots Pines with an understorey of heather, blaeberries and cowberries.

NJ0331 : Fungi by Anne Burgess
Fungi
As usual I do not know what species these are, and I will be grateful for any help... more

NJ0331 : Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) by Anne Burgess
Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
There were lots of ripe berries in the wood at Lynmore. They are said to be 'just... more

NJ0331 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
After a diversion, reasons unknown, the Dava Way is once again following the... more

NJ0332 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The going on the trackbed of the former railway is firm and easy.

NJ0332 : Lichen Tree by Anne Burgess
Lichen Tree
The dead tree beside the track is thickly festooned with lichen.

NJ0232 : Glaschoil by Anne Burgess
Glaschoil
The houses are on the side of the A939, but are seen here from the Dava Way.

NJ0332 : View from the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
View from the Dava Way
Looking across the glen towards Derraid and Tombain.

NJ0232 : Cycling the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Cycling the Dava Way
With no steep gradients, the Dava Way is an appealing route to cycle.

NJ0232 : Path to Huntly's Cave by Anne Burgess
Path to Huntly's Cave
A path from a car park to [[[2067731]]] crosses the Dava Way here. These people... more

NJ0232 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
This section of the Dava Way passes through cool shady woods.

NJ0232 : Railway Cutting by Anne Burgess
Railway Cutting
This cutting is through rocks of the Grantown Granite Pluton, formed in the... more

NJ0232 : Tree-lined Path by Anne Burgess
Tree-lined Path
The trees and grass have encroached on the former railway line to the point where... more

NJ0132 : Green Embankment by Anne Burgess
Green Embankment
Looking south along a section of the Dava Way near Grantown-on-Spey.

NJ0133 : Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum) by Anne Burgess
Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum)
A tiny plant that normally prefers limy soil, so perhaps the ballast on the... more

NJ0133 : Gate on the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Gate on the Dava Way
In contrast with some sections of the Speyside Way, there are few gates on the... more

NJ0133 : Heather Moor by Anne Burgess
Heather Moor
This is typical of the Grampian Mountains in late summer - Heather or Ling... more

NJ0133 : A939 from the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
A939 from the Dava Way
At this point the A939 road and the former railway line run close to one another... more

NJ0133 : Cyclist on the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Cyclist on the Dava Way
Even though the gentle gradients of the Dava Way would seem to be ideal for... more

NJ0133 : Side Road by Anne Burgess
Side Road
An information board beside the start of this rough road says that it is a route... more

NJ0134 : Inverness and Perth Junction Railway by Anne Burgess
Inverness and Perth Junction Railway
The trackbed of the former railway, now part of the Dava Way.

NJ0134 : Summit Sign by Anne Burgess
Summit Sign
This is the highest point of the railway and therefore of the Dava Way, at 1052... more

NJ0134 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
From now on, the Dava Way descends gently all the way. We saw only about seven... more

NJ0135 : Bridge on the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Bridge on the Dava Way
Not until we got to this point did I realise that we had seen few bridges since... more

NJ0135 : Dava Moor by Anne Burgess
Dava Moor
A 'panoramic' view from beside the bridge over a dry channel under the Dava Way. I... more

NJ0135 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
This part of the railway trackbed is an embankment across the flat boggy ground at... more

NJ0135 : Moorland Road by Anne Burgess
Moorland Road
The rough road leaves the Dava Way but it only leads to some grouse butts on the... more

NJ0135 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking south along the route of the former railway across Dava Moor.

NJ0135 : Puffball by Anne Burgess
Puffball
I think this might be a specimen of Calvatia utriformis but am happy to be... more

NJ0136 : Large Fungus by Anne Burgess
Large Fungus
This was well over a foot in diameter. I wonder if it might be Slippery Jack... more

NJ0136 : Yellow Toadstool by Anne Burgess
Yellow Toadstool
Unfortunately I do not know what species of fungus this is.

NJ0136 : Red Mushrooms by Anne Burgess
Red Mushrooms
Or maybe toadstools. As I do not know what species they are, they could be either.

NJ0136 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Approaching the clump of trees around [[[6577136]]].

NJ0136 : Holes in the Fence by Anne Burgess
Holes in the Fence
This is probably the remains of a very sturdy fence erected to help prevent the... more

NJ0036 : Heatherbell by Anne Burgess
Heatherbell
The isolated house at [[[1963465]]] looks abandoned.

NJ0136 : Natural Carving by Anne Burgess
Natural Carving
These sleepers, probably used as a snow fence, have been sculpted by wind and... more

NJ0136 : Heatherbell Cutting by Anne Burgess
Heatherbell Cutting
The cutting is named after nearby [[[1963465]]], now abandoned. An information... more

NJ0136 : Redcoat Soldier by Anne Burgess
Redcoat Soldier
I am slightly at a loss to account for the presence of this redcoat in Heatherbell... more

NJ0036 : Erratic near Heatherbell by Anne Burgess
Erratic near Heatherbell
I am assuming that it's an erratic because it is sitting proud of the layer of... more

NJ0136 : Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) by Anne Burgess
Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)
At least I think that's what it is. It was a good 10 centimetres long, and... more

NJ0136 : Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) by Anne Burgess
Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)
The rounded inner wing margins suggest that this is a female.

NJ0136 : Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) by Anne Burgess
Gold-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)
A close-up to show the insect's six legs clasping a rush stem.

NJ0136 : Heatherbell Cutting by Anne Burgess
Heatherbell Cutting
Looking south along the line.

NJ0136 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking north from the end of Heatherbell Cutting.

NJ0136 : Cyclists on the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Cyclists on the Dava Way
With gentle gradients and a firm base, the Dava Way is suitable for cyclists who... more

NJ0136 : Dava Moor by Anne Burgess
Dava Moor
The low hill on the right is Carn na Glaisneach.

NJ0136 : Former Railway Line by Anne Burgess
Former Railway Line
Looking south towards the clump of trees that surrounds Heatherbell Cutting.

NJ0137 : Càrr Mòr by Anne Burgess
Càrr Mòr
The railway trackbed here crosses a tract of wettish ground at Càrr... more

NJ0137 : Fungi by Anne Burgess
Fungi
One of several clumps of similar fungi growing on dead wood beside the Dava Way. I... more

NJ0137 : Natural Carving by Anne Burgess
Natural Carving
Like its fellows further south, wind and water have sculpted this post, but it... more

NJ0137 : Moorland Sentinels by Anne Burgess
Moorland Sentinels
I suppose that's a bit fanciful, but they do look like a row of ghostly watchers.

NJ0137 : Grouse Butt by Anne Burgess
Grouse Butt
This is apparently a grouse butt, but as it is not just close to, but actually on,... more

NJ0137 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Almost at Dava, with the Knock of Braemoray in the background.

NJ0137 : Dava Moor by Anne Burgess
Dava Moor
Looking north-eastwards from the Dava Way towards Carn Biorach and Carn Ruigh Thuim.

NJ0137 : Highland Railway by Anne Burgess
Highland Railway
From here the railway ran arrow-straight south across the moor for about two miles.

NJ0138 : Allt na Ceardaich by Anne Burgess
Allt na Ceardaich
The name means 'smithy burn' but it's hard to imagine a smithy here on the bleak... more

NJ0038 : Allt na Ceardaich by Anne Burgess
Allt na Ceardaich
This is the first glimpse we have had of running water since we emerged from the... more

NJ0138 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
At last a gentle curve in the line of the former railway to break the monotony of... more

NJ0138 : Bridge over Allt na Ceardaich by Anne Burgess
Bridge over Allt na Ceardaich
The railway builders added a good solid dyke to ensure that the burn turned to go... more

NJ0038 : Woodside of Dava by Anne Burgess
Woodside of Dava
You can barely see Woodside from here, in fact, especially without sunshine to... more

NJ0038 : Dava by Anne Burgess
Dava
The old railway sign confirms that we have reached Dava. To the right of the... more

NJ0038 : Station House Gate by Anne Burgess
Station House Gate
The old railway-style sign proclaims the fact that this is the gate into the... more

NJ0038 : Old Military Road by Anne Burgess
Old Military Road
According to the map, this is part of the old military road. It is now the access... more

NJ0038 : Fir Trees by Anne Burgess
Fir Trees
I am not sure exactly what species of fir these are, but they are a welcome change... more

NJ0038 : Toadstools by Anne Burgess
Toadstools
Unfortunately I don't know what species these twin toadstools are.

NJ0039 : Dava Cutting by Anne Burgess
Dava Cutting
After diverting round the privately owned Dava Station House, the Dava Way rejoins... more

NJ0039 : Anti-cyclist Gate by Anne Burgess
Anti-cyclist Gate
When pedestrians rejoin the railway line north of Dava after bypassing Dava... more

NJ0039 : Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) by Anne Burgess
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata)
Probably the commonest orchid in this part of the world, but usually they are well... more

NJ0039 : Trackside Hut by Anne Burgess
Trackside Hut
The hut looks in too good condition to have been here since railway days, but... more

NJ0039 : Tree-lined Track by Anne Burgess
Tree-lined Track
The Dava Way passes between Scots Pines that must have grown up since the closure... more

NJ0040 : Trackside Hut by Anne Burgess
Trackside Hut
There's an information board on the wall of the hut, but it doesn't say who built... more

NJ0040 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
North of Dava, the former railway runs north towards the Knock of Braemoray.

NJ0141 : Knock of Braemoray by Anne Burgess
Knock of Braemoray
There's a view north towards the Knock of Braemoray (456 metres) as the former... more

NJ0140 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The former railway, and therefore the Dava Way, curve eastwards to pass east of... more

NJ0140 : Fences by Anne Burgess
Fences
Forlorn remnants of old fences stand beside the former railway line.

NJ0141 : Knock of Braemoray by Anne Burgess
Knock of Braemoray
Although not especially high at 456 metres, the Knock of Braemoray dominates the... more

NJ0140 : Coire Gorm by Anne Burgess
Coire Gorm
Coire Gorm is the name on the map for the wide boggy area beide the Dava Way. The... more

NJ0140 : Coire Gorm by Anne Burgess
Coire Gorm
Coire Gorm means 'green corrie'. the ridge on the right is Fox Hill and in the... more

NJ0140 : Unnamed Burn by Anne Burgess
Unnamed Burn
This is one of the headwaters of the Burn of Aulthaunachan, with Carn Ruigh Thuim... more

NJ0140 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The route passes through a cutting near Garlin.

NJ0140 : Old Railway Embankment by Anne Burgess
Old Railway Embankment
The railway track curves round a low-lying field east of the Knock of Braemoray.

NJ0140 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The path follows the railway embankment as it curves gently northwards. The... more

NJ0140 : Black, White and Speckled by Anne Burgess
Black, White and Speckled
A flock of sheep not far from the Dava Way.

NJ0241 : Rickety Fence by Anne Burgess
Rickety Fence
The glen on the left contains the Burn of Aulthaunachan, though the water is... more

NJ0241 : Half-Way Hut by Anne Burgess
Half-Way Hut
The hut is a former railwaymen's hut which is almost exactly half way between... more

NJ0141 : Knock of Braemoray by Anne Burgess
Knock of Braemoray
Viewed from beside the [[[6577421]]].

NJ0241 : Auchlochan by Anne Burgess
Auchlochan
The masonry is all that remains of the house and buildings at Auchlochan. The... more

NJ0241 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The route passes through a cutting north of Auchlochan.

NJ0241 : Gate on the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Gate on the Dava Way
One of the few gates on the Dava Way, fortunately with a more user-friendly... more

NJ0242 : Former Railway Line by Anne Burgess
Former Railway Line
The track here, formerly the trackbed of the Highland Railway, is now part of the... more

NJ0242 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking south from near Lochenoun.

NJ0242 : Burn of Aulthaunachan by Anne Burgess
Burn of Aulthaunachan
As usual in high summer, the water of the burn is concealed by the lush... more

NJ0242 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking south along the former railway trackbed near Lochenoun.

NJ0242 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking north along the former railway trackbed near Lochenoun.

NJ0242 : Bog Causeway by Anne Burgess
Bog Causeway
A nearby information board explains that this embankment is a causeway built for... more

NJ0242 : Former Lochan by Anne Burgess
Former Lochan
This hollow was the site of a small lochan until the causeway was built across it... more

NJ0242 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
This is the southern end of a large area of raised bog called the Moidach More.... more

NJ0242 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The route follows the trackbed of the former Highland Railway. Compare this view... more

NJ0243 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking north near Bogeney.

NJ0243 : Jess the Sheepdog by Anne Burgess
Jess the Sheepdog
Jess is about to deliver a parcel to Bogeney, the ruins of which are just off the... more

NJ0243 : Inverness and Perth Junction Railway by Anne Burgess
Inverness and Perth Junction Railway
The disused trackbed of the railway, now the route of the Dava Way.

NJ0243 : Bogeney Bridge by Anne Burgess
Bogeney Bridge
The bridge spans the Burn of Aulthaunachan and was built to carry the railway line... more

NJ0243 : Bogeney Bridge by Anne Burgess
Bogeney Bridge
The bridge spans the Burn of Aulthaunachan and was built to carry the railway line... more

NJ0244 : Burn of Aulthaunachan by Anne Burgess
Burn of Aulthaunachan
The hollow filled with bright green vegetation is the course of the burn as it... more

NJ0244 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
The Dava Way follows the trackbed of the former railway between Moidach More on... more

NJ0244 : Inverness and Perth Junction Railway by Anne Burgess
Inverness and Perth Junction Railway
The trackbed of the railway, now part of the Dava Way.

NJ0244 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
Moidach More is an extensive area of raised bog. The southern part of it is a Site... more

NJ0244 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Approaching Dunphail from the south. The houses are at Beachans, and the turbines... more

NJ0244 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
Looking over the raised bog of Moidach More. The wind farm on the left is Logie,... more

NJ0244 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
Looking east-ish towards Feakirk and Berryburn Wind Farm.

NJ0244 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
Looking south-east across the Moidach More. The turbines are at Berryburn Wind Farm.

NJ0244 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
It's quite difficult to convey the scale of the raised bog at Moidach More.

NJ0245 : Moidach More by Anne Burgess
Moidach More
The view from the Dava Way on the approach to Dunphail. The wind turbines are at... more

NJ0245 : Cutting at Bantrach by Anne Burgess
Cutting at Bantrach
Ferns flourish in the shade provided by the cutting.

NJ0246 : Approaching the Divie Viaduct by Anne Burgess
Approaching the Divie Viaduct
This is the embankment that maintains the height of the railway line south of the... more

NJ0246 : Beachans from the Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Beachans from the Dava Way
A gap in the trees alongside the track affords a view to Beachans and the... more

NJ0246 : Edinkillie House by Anne Burgess
Edinkillie House
The amazingly elegant former manse, designed by John Paterson and based on plans... more

NJ0246 : Commemorative Bench by Anne Burgess
Commemorative Bench
The plate at upper right commemorate Bruno Cawley (1937-2019), described as... more

NJ0147 : Bracket Fungus by Anne Burgess
Bracket Fungus
My companions thought this looked like the face of an ugly cartoon character from... more

NJ0147 : Dava Way by Anne Burgess
Dava Way
Looking south along the former railway line.

NJ0148 : Dunphail Station by Anne Burgess
Dunphail Station
As at Dava, the former station house is private property so the Dava Way is... more

NJ0148 : Dunphail Car Park by Anne Burgess
Dunphail Car Park
The train on the right is now the only one anywhere near the former railway that... more

NJ0327 : Fish and Chips by Anne Burgess
Fish and Chips
After a 16-mile walk on the Dava Way from Grantown-on-Spey to Dunphail, we... more

All images © Anne Burgess and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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