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The route from Elgin to Archiestown is 20.6 miles in length and has climbing of 1,637 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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.
You start in the centre of Elgin, navigating through mainly residential areas before hitting countryside after 1 mile. The road is flat to mile 2.5 and then you start heading uphill. Unfortunately, you go consistently uphill for the next 12.7 miles! There is nothing overly difficult but it will hurt the legs, and you will hope for a favourable breeze. There are more noticeable hills at miles 4, 11 and 13.9, and you reach the high point of the route of 1,014 feet at mile 15.3. After a short descent the road rolls into Archiestown from the west.
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. The route finishes on the Malt Whisky Trail, and you pass close to Knockando, Tamdhu and Cardhu distilleries at mile 18, 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 join the River Lossie at mile 1 and follow it all the way to Dallas at mile 11, passing the wonderfully named Hill of the Wangie at mile 9. There are the remains of a motte just outside Dallas, which is a pretty place and worth stopping in for some refreshments.
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. It is not a large place so you should carry some extra provisions to keep you going.
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