Robbie Macpherson Smugglers Trail
11km/6.8 miles Allow 4 hours
It is likely that both sheep and cattle will be encountered on this walk – please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Also check field before entering and detour to avoid cattle if necessary. Keep dogs on a lead or under close control and if threatened by cattle release your dog.
Start - The Glenlivet Distillery Car Park NJ195289 - Follow Fingerposts
From the car park, follow the green finger post passing between the buildings.. 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 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. This marks the site of Upper Drumin, the location of the original Glenlivet Distillery, before it moved to its present site in 1859. In 2021 A team of archaeologists from National Trust for Scotland began a dig here and have unearthed the old distillery.
The track swings left and runs along the edge of a small plantation as it climbs steadily before reaching the edge of the moor. 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. Turn right at the wooden gate shortly after pass through the pedestrian gate on your left. 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. 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. Turn left and follow the track to the junction at Eastertown. “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 and follow the path between the fields and back to the settlement of Castleton. 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.