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The route from Dufftown to Garmouth heads broadly north and is 20.3 miles in length. With climbing of 840 feet this has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
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 town calls itself the Malt Whisky Capital of the World and 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.
This is a beautiful route that starts in the centre of Speyside whisky country. You head out from the centre of Dufftown, crossing the River Fiddich after 1 mile and then heading north, broadly following the Speyside Way with the Fiddich on your left. The first 4.5 miles are rolling and lumpy, and you hit a hill at mile 4.5 which peaks at the high point of 653 feet after 6.1 miles. You will then enjoy a long descent to mile 11.4, with a false flat in the middle. The road then gradually rises with a noticeable lump at mile 11.7. It is then mainly flat from mile 12.1 to the finish as you follow the River Spey downstream. You cross the A96 at mile 16.8 (please take care), passing through Mosstodloch soon after. You enter Garmouth from the south and finish in the centre of the village. A small detour east over the magnificent Spey Viaduct and the estuary of the river is time well spent.
This is Moray at its best – hills, farmland, woodland and whisky! You pass Balvenie distillery at mile 2 and you are close to both Charlestown of Aberlour and Craigellachie at mile 4, before heading through Maggieknockater and the Bridge of Balnellan at mile 4.7. You head northwest from mile 9, close to Auchriosk distillery, before crossing the River Spey at mile 11.2. With the Spey on your right and Tiendland Wood on your left, this is a lovely section of road. You pass close to Fochabers at mile 17 – it is a pretty town with a rich musical and cultural history, as well as being the home to Baxters – their main factory is on the edge of town, and it has an excellent visitors’ centre.
Garmouth is a small village and is famed as the landing place of King Charles II on his return from exile in 1650. The River Spey is the dominant feature and the estuary is a constantly changing environment, creating a succession of habitats from bare shingle to coastal grasslands, and brackish saltmarsh to wet woodland. If you have time you could cross to the east side of the river and visit Spey Bay, which has a museum and offers dolphin watching trips. You should carry some extra provisions with you.
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