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The route from Dufftown to Keith is 11.4 miles in length and has climbing of 745 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
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.
The stage heads northeast, following the Keith and Dufftown Heritage Railway and the River Isla. You leave Dufftown to the east, crossing the River Fiddich after 1 mile. The longest climb of the day starts then and lasts for 2 miles, taking you to the high point of 794 feet after 3.1 miles. This is followed by a descent of 5.3 miles, with a short climb at mile 4.7. You have to negotiate the steepest climb of the day at mile 8.4 which luckily only lasts 0.4 miles. The final stretch is on rolling roads and you enter Keith from the south, briefly joining the A96 at mile 10.6 (please take care) before cycling through the town and finishing on the north side.
This is a pretty route through a classic Moray landscape of farmland, rivers, hills and woods. Whilst this stage is more about the scenery than tourist attractions, there is lots to do, especially in and around Dufftown and Keith, and especially if you like whisky! You pass through the village of Drummuir at mile 4.5 where you can see the 6th century St Fumac’s Well and visit Drummuir Castle which is now used as a corporate retreat and is Diageo’s home in Speyside.
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 town to allow you to refuel.
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