Ben Rinnes is the highest peak in Speyside and a great climb! It is a corbett at 814 meters and certainly feels very steep at points, making for a good challenge. The mountain can be found 8km south-west of Dufftown. Although this is not quite in Aberdeenshire, it is relatively close so very accessible for those visiting from the area.
Ben Rinnes has a fun history, as there is a race which takes part on the mountain as part of the Dufftown Highland Games. Runners cover Ben Rinnes and 4 other nearby hills on a 14 mile route!
There is a clear path to the top but we definitely recommend wearing good footwear and cosy clothes – it can get very windy! From the summit, the views over Speyside are extensive. On a clear day, you can see up to 8 counties from the top! We went during a winter sunset and the lighting over the hills and valley was spectacular.
Distance: 4.75 miles
Time Taken: 2-3 hours
Parking: Parking is limited so we recommend visiting early on weekends and holidays. Drive down the unnamed minor road just off the B9009 near Glenrinnes. There is space to park on your left just before the Ben Rinnes footpath. Please make sure you are not obstructing the road. The coordinates for this area are (57.408200, -3.192070) and what3words location is ///tramps.backpacks.insisting.
Terrain: There is a great path all the way up! It is steep at some points and reaching the trig point at the top involves a bit of climbing up and over rocks. However this is nothing too difficult if you are used to walking.
There are some other Ben Rinnes routes which can make the walk longer, however this is the most straightforward and popular one to take. It is a very good walk if you are wanting to start Munro Bagging but want some practice hiking first. This walk is also great to do with fit and healthy dogs who can manage a hike.
Other Walks Near Ben Rinnes
Speyside has a lot to offer if you are staying for a holiday and looking for other things to do. As Ben Rinnes will only take 2-3 hours of your time, you may also want to make the most of your day and enjoy the area further.
The Speyside Way is a beautiful 82km long distance route, part of which runs near Ben Rinnes and Dufftown. The path will take you along the River Spey and through the countryside. Heading to this and enjoying some of the route is a great way to add more walking into your trip.
Furthermore, Dufftown is known as the Whisky Capital of The World as it produces more whisky than any other town in Scotland. You can spend time wandering around the town and checking out these distilleries! There are also some organised tours you can book if you are interested in hearing more of their history.
Places to Eat and Drink Near Ben Rinnes
After climbing Ben Rinnes, you will definitely deserve some post-hike refreshments! Dufftown is the nearest town and has a few options.
If you want something fun and quirky, head to Slidings Cafe. This is open during peak months from 10am-4am and you sit in a traditional train carriage to enjoy your lunch or coffee and cake!
The other great cafe to try out is the Glenfiddich Distillery Malt Bar & Barn. Here you will get an excellent lunch with some traditional Scottish options such as cullen skink. And of course if you’re not driving… you can even get a dram of whisky!
Sit in Dining
The Seven Stills in Dufftown is a Bistro and Pub, and is open for meals for 4pm. It is therefore a great place to enjoy a proper dinner if you have been walking in the afternoon. The pub has a very cosy and atmospheric feel to it which is great for warming you up on a cold day! The food is absolutely delicious and the owners will always welcome you in. It is worth noting that the meals are fairly up-market and are slightly more expensive than average.
Written by Anna Gill
Anna is the founder of the Aberdeenshire Walks social media blog, sharing local walks and encouraging people to get out and explore the places on their doorstep!