Archiestown to Dufftown (13 miles)

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The route from Archiestown to Dufftown is 12.9 miles in length. It might be short, but there is climbing of 1,145 feet and has therefore been given a difficulty rating of 6.

Archiestown is a small village that was named after Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk. It is a planned village with a grid-street system and a village square. Originally intended as a weaving centre, whisky came to dominate the town from the early 19th century when its production was legalised under the Excise Act of 1823.

You head south out of Archiestown and into the heart of whisky country. The first 3.2 miles are downhill, other than a small rise at mile 1. You then start going up, and the next few miles are quite tough with the steepest sections at mile 3.2 and 6.8. The climb continues to the high point of 1,079 feet at mile 8.3. You then enjoy a sharp descent before cycling on rolling roads to mile 11.5, and a final descent takes you in to the centre of Dufftown from the west.

This might be a short stage, but it packs a punch in terms of climbing, scenery and tourist attractions. This is classic Speyside, with farm and woodland as well as higher hills in a sometimes stark setting. You pass through Carron at mile 2.4 and can visit the new Dalmunach Distillery (the previous one closed in 1998). You then cross the River Spey over the Bridge of Carron, built in 1863, before heading southeast, briefly cycling on the busy A95 at mile 4.2 (please take care). Ben Rinnes (the highest hill in Moray) dominates the landscape from mile 6. You turn northeast at mile 9 and cycle through the beautiful Glen Rinnes.

Dufftown is part of the ancient parish of Mortlach, and you can visit the historic Mortlach Church on the south side of town. The remains of Balvenie Castle is open to the public – the original building was completed in the 12th century. The Dufftown Clock Tower is lovely and used to be the prison. The town calls itself the Malt Whisky Capital of the World. The industry is hugely important to the area, from farming and general employment to tourism. There are also some world renowned whiskies made near Dufftown including the Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Mortlach and Dufftown itself. You should try to make a distillery tour (and perhaps a dram!) part of your day. There are a few options for food in the town so you won’t go hungry.


By clicking on the ‘play’ symbol on the graphic below you can see route map. The elevation profile of the ride can be seen via the Hills tab with files for use with a GPS device also available for download. If you take any photos of the route that you’d like to share, please submit to neil@velodays.com

Route map for Knockando To Dufftown by Neil Innes on plotaroute.com