NJ0829 : Speyside Way

taken 9 months ago, near to Cromdale, Highland, Great Britain

Speyside Way
Speyside Way
The Speyside Way here uses the trackbed of the former Grear North of Scotland Railway. The original concept was that the path would follow the railway all the way from Craigellachie to Aviemore. However the railway's title deeds provided that if the railway no longer wished to use the land, ownership would revert to the landowners, and the landowners between Pollowick and Ballindalloch have declined to allow the Speyside Way to be routed along their sections of the railway. (Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 walkers are entitled, under certain conditions - see LinkExternal link - to attempt to walk the railway track, but it cannot be signposted and maintained as a waymarked path without the agreement of the landowners.) As a result, this is the last bit of level walking on the Speyside Way for many miles.
Strathspey Railway
The Strathspey Railway ran from Dufftown to Aviemore, mostly alongside the River Spey.

It was supported by the Great North of Scotland Railway, who subscribed 100,000 towards it as well as guaranteeing its debentures, principal and interest.

The idea of such a railway was mooted in about 1860, and a Bill was presented to Parliament for its construction. The Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 21 March 1861, its second reading in the House of Lords on 22 April 1861, and the Royal Assent on 17 May 1861.

The line was to meet the Keith and Dufftown Railway at Dufftown and connect at Craigellachie with the Morayshire Railway.

Work had commenced by December 1861. From November 1862, tenders were invited for the construction of stations along the route.

Construction went well until April 1863, when three men were killed in two separate accidents. Angus McQueen, 45, from Skye died when, misunderstanding a warning from a colleague in another waggon, he leapt from his waggon and was crushed beneath its wheels. William Watson, 43, from Perthshire, and James Lemon, 26, from King Edward, died when they were trapped by a fall of earth in a cutting at Knockando. A third man, Angus McKay, from Skye, was injured but survived.

The Strathspey line, and the viaduct at Dandaleith linking it to the Morayshire line, were completed in June 1863, and an opening celebration was held on Thursday 27 July 1863, when a train carrying directors, shareholders, contractors and friends ran the 34 miles from Dufftown to Abernethy, where a banquet, accompanied by many speeches, was held in an engine shed, before the train took the passengers back to Elgin, Aberdeen or intermediate points.

In 1866 the Strathspey Railway became part of the Great North of Scotland Railway network.

Two new bridges were built near Nethy Bridge, one over the River Nethy and one over the River Spey, to connect the Strathspey Railway to the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (later Highland Railway).

The line continued to serve Speyside until 1965, when it became one of many victims of Dr Beeching's cuts. Freight services continued until 1968.

In the 1980s the sections of the line between Dufftown and Ballindalloch were incorporated into the Speyside Way long distance path. South of Ballindalloch, most of the landowners exercised their entitlement to take the railway land back into their own possession when the railway no longer required it, so it was a couple of decades before the route of the Speyside Way to Grantown-on-Spey, and later to Aviemore, could be developed.

Note that the present-day heritage railway from Aviemore to Boat of Garten, which uses the name Strathspey Railway LinkExternal link does not in fact run over any part of the original Strathspey Railway which is described in this article.
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NJ0829, 8 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 14 September, 2018   (more nearby)
Sunday, 16 September, 2018
Geographical Context
Paths  Railways 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NJ 0816 2968 [10m precision]
WGS84: 57:20.8999N 3:31.6671W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NJ 0813 2962
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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