Elgin to Keith (20 miles)

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The route from Elgin to Keith is 19.8 miles long and has climbing of 1,293 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.

Elgin is the administrative and commercial centre of Moray and the town was first recorded in charter in 1151. The economy is dependant on tourism and whisky, as well as the nearby RAF and army bases. The ruins of the medieval cathedral are well worth a visit. Originally built in 1242, it was completely destroyed by fire in 1270. 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.

Starting at the cathedral in Elgin, you head east out of town through a rather unflattering industrial estate (it’s safer than the main road) before crossing the A96 at a busy roundabout at mile 1.5. You then continue through Elgin and hit countryside at mile 2.6. The first few miles are flat before you start climbing at mile 3.4 – it is a lumpy hill that continues for 4.9 miles. You’ll then enjoy a downhill and flat section to mile 11.9 and then hit the hardest climb of the day, reaching the high point of 479 feet at mile 13.4. The final 6.4 miles are on rolling roads but there are numerous spikes to negotiate. At mile 18.8 you briefly join the A96, and you should take care at this junction. You head uphill in to Keith from the west and finish in the centre of the town.

This is a classic Moray cycle through farm and woodland with virtually no flat! You pass Linkwood Distillery at mile 2.6 just as you leave Elgin, and cycle close to Coxton Tower at mile 5.1, a late 16th century fortified tower that has been unoccupied since 1867. At mile 11.9 you cross the River Spey on the Orton Viaduct which has a real sense of theatre. You pass Auchroisk Distillery at mile 13.3 and pass through the village of Mulben at mile 14.4, joining the A95 (and the railway line) for the next 4.4 miles.

Keith is a 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 a number of café and supermarket option in 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 neil@velodays.com

Route map for Elgin To Keith by Neil Innes on plotaroute.com