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The route from Cullen to Keith heads broadly south and is 17.2 miles of length. With climbing of 1,358 feet this has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
Cullen is an ancient village, first mentioned in Scots history in 952 and receiving royal burgh status in 1153. The organs of the wife of Robert the Bruce are said to be buried in the Auld Kirk. It is a fishing community which overlooks a natural harbour and a wonderful, clean beach, with brightly coloured residences. It also sits on the Moray Coast Trail, and used to be a stop on the Great North Scotland Railway – now, the spectacular 8-arch viaduct is a cycle path and walkway, and a favourite photograph for the numerous tourists who visit the town. It is the home of Cullen Skink, a haddock based soup. There are a number of café options in town, so try the authentic experience!
You leave from the centre of Cullen. After two small hills in the first 3.4 miles, you arrive at the major challenge of the day, a climb lasting 3.2 miles, with a brief flat section in the middle, reaching the high point of 820 feet at mile 6.6. You then enjoy a descent and a small climb before hitting a longer downhill section that lasts from mile 8.8 to mile 16.1. This being Moray, there are of course some lumps in the road! The final mile is slightly uphill and you enter Keith from the northeast, crossing the River Isla and finishing in the centre of town.
This route is more about the scenery than the tourist attractions, and it is a classic Moray stage that takes you through a rolling landscape of farm and woodland. You cycle through the village of Lintmill at mile 1, briefly crossing into Aberdeenshire, and the village of Milton at mile 3 where you can see the remains of Inaltry Castle. The big climb of the day at mile 6 takes you through the Hill of Summertown plantation, and you then pass through the historic land of the Innes family of Edingight around mile 10. The stark moorland of Knock Hill dominates the landscape to the east. You join the River Isla at mile 13.4, now heading west, and you follow the river into Keith.
Keith is a small town in Moray. The oldest part dates back to 1180 and developed around the bridge over the River Isla to the north. The Jacobites’ fought and won a skirmish near the town in 1746. There is an annual country show, and Keith is on the Malt Whisky trail. The town boasts three distilleries – Strathmill, Glenkeith and Strathisla – as well as housing the headquarters of Chivas Regal. The remains of Milton Tower, built in 1480, neighbour the railway station which has good links northwest to Moray and Inverness and south to Aberdeen. There are plenty of café and supermarket options in the town.
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