Rucksack Readers has long represented the gold standard for long distance walking guides. Their guides have always been bright, attractive, light, waterproof and comprehensive, containing between their covers pretty much everything you really need to tackle the walk in question: from excellent mapping to route descriptions to background features to sources of additional information. They are also large enough for the mapping and other information to be readily usable "in the field". Considerable effort is also made to ensure their guides are kept up to date, with new editions being published to reflect changes on the ground. Some may remember their older, ring-bound guides. Their newer guides, printed in the format of traditional books, show a strong family resemblance to what went before but in our view are even more usable. And they certainly sit more neatly together on the bookshelf than their predecessors!
The third edition of "Speyside Way" by Jacquetta Megarry and Sandra Bardwell is fully revised based on fieldwork in 2021 and provides an amazing guide to a route that has changed and/or been extended more than once over the years. As the authors say in their introduction, "The Speyside Way runs from the coast of the Moray Firth through the heart of malt whisky country towards the foothills of the Cairngorms. Generally it follows the valley of the River Spey upstream... The main spine of the Way runs for 85 miles (136 km) which most walkers will spread over six or seven days." The optional 16 mile spur to Tomintoul is also covered.
The book begins with an introductory section that helps those wanting to walk the Way to plan their expedition, setting out everything from facilities in different locations to gradients and bus routes. There are also nicely illustrated features about topics of relevance, such as the River Spey; the railway heritage you will encounter; and, of course, Scotch whisky and distilleries. The heart of the book comprises roughly daily sections of route description and accompanying mapping at a scale large enough (1:42,000) to allow you to follow the Way in detail.
This is an essential guide for anyone thinking of walking the Speyside Way.