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The route from Archiestown to Elgin is 20.6 miles in length and has climbing of 906 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Archiestown is a small village that was built in 1760 and 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 start in the heart of whisky country, heading west out of Archiestown. There is a small downhill before rolling roads take you to mile 4, and then an ascent that takes you to the high point of 1,014 feet at mile 5.3. The road now descends virtually to the finish in Elgin, with some flat sections and a minor hill at mile 10.4. There is a longer descent at mile 15.3 and then it is flat. You enter Elgin from the southwest and have to navigate about 1 mile through mainly residential areas, finishing in the centre of town.
This is a classic Moray route though hills, farm and woodland. The cycle is more about the scenery than the sights, but that is not to say there aren’t things to do. You pass close to Knockando, Tamdhu and Cardhu distilleries at mile 2.4, but if you are going to take a tour and enjoy a dram then we would recommend Glen Moray on the west side of Elgin, which has long been a friend of Ride the North. You pass through the village of Dallas at mile 9.5 which is very pretty and worth stopping in. This is where you join the River Lossie which you follow all the way to Elgin. There are the remains of a motte just outside Dallas, with the wonderfully named Hill of the Wangie to the north.
Elgin is a large town and could easily be a base for a holiday. It is the administrative and commercial centre of Moray and the town was first recorded in charter in 1151. The town’s economy is dependant on tourism and whisky, as well as the RAF and army which have bases in nearby Lossiemouth and Kinloss respectively. The ruins of the medieval cathedral are well worth a visit. Originally built in 1242, it was completely destroyed by fire in 1270, and the remains are those of the restored Cathedral. The wonderful Dr Gray’s hospital was built in 1819 and is a superb example of early 19th century architecture. If you have time you could visit Birnie Kirk a few miles south of the town, which was built in 1140 and is still used for worship. And southwest of Elgin is Pluscarden Abbey, built in 1230 and still used as a Benedictine monastery.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org