It was a cold and dark Boxing Day morning when I hit the road going to Aberlour. There, in the muted light of the dawn, I and my dog were picked up by a friend of mine, who gave us a lift to the starting point of my walk, on the A95, near Tormore Distillery. Dropped off into the cold on the side of the road and left I had to return to my car on foot, covering another stretch of the Speyside Way. I congratulated myself for putting thermals on; it was cold, and the humid air made it even colder.

I started my hike by walking along the A95 between two fences for a couple hundred yard, then the path turned sharply away and for about half an hour ran through the fields, most of the time with fences on each side. Very soon I was grateful for the frost; in warmer conditions I would need a snorkel. The ground there must have been extremely wet and boggy; some stretches even had a sort of pavement made out of flat boulders. The last bit of that particular stretch led comparatively steeply down towards the river Spey, where I reached the old railway. From that point the walk was a piece of cake all the way back to Aberlour; it was long, but not particularly demanding thanks to its flatness.

Initially I didn’t realise it used to be a railway track; it became more obvious when I walked into Ballindalloch Station a couple of miles later on. Shortly afterwards the route crossed the river Spey by the old railway bridge and then ran on along the left side of the river for miles. The line was dotted by former stations, some of them pretty picturesque and stimulating my imagination. The sun was shining, and although it was cold, the day was beautiful with fresh crisp air.

At one point I noticed icicles hanging from twigs just above a running burn. They were created by water sprayed by the stream. I had been familiar with icicles made by water dripping from roofs over the edge, but this process seemed new to me.

The route crossed the river Spey a few miles before Aberlour. The weather started to deteriorate, it became rather grey and gloomy. I was quite happy to return to my car, patiently waiting for me at the car park.

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