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The route from Elgin to Dufftown is 22.6 miles long and has climbing of 1,119 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
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 (built in 1140) a few miles south of the town, or Pluscarden Abbey to the southwest which was built in 1230. We would recommend a visit to Glen Moray distillery in Elgin, which has long been a friend to Ride the North.
You start at the cathedral in Elgin and head south out of town, having to navigate for 1.9 miles before hitting the countryside. The road is flat to mile 2.6 before a climb of 5 miles – the gradients aren’t too tough. After a flat section you then have to negotiate the hardest part of the route, a climb from mile 11.2 to the high point of 653 feet at mile 16.6. The first segment is the steepest, and there is a false flat in the middle. The remainder of the route is rolling but it isn’t easy, and a small climb takes you in to the centre of Dufftown from the north.
This is a beautiful route and Moray at its best – hills, farmland, woodland and whisky! At mile 9 you join the River Spey with Tiendland Wood on your right, with the highlight of the route when you cross the Spey at mile 11. You pass Auchrisok distillery at mile 12.6 before heading southwest at mile 13.7, cycling through Maggieknockater and the Bridge of Balnellan at mile 17.9. The route passes close to both Craigellachie and Charlestown of Aberlour at mile 19 and you then join the iover Fiddich for the final stretch, passing the Balvenie distillery at mile 20.7.
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. There are a number of café options for food and drink.
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