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The route from Forres to Archiestown is 18 miles in length and has climbing of 1,614 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
Forres is a good sized town situated on the floodplain of the River Findhorn 25 miles from Inverness. It was first mentioned in Roman documents from the 2nd century, and received royal burgh status in 1140. It is a very pretty town and has won Scotland in Bloom on several occasions. It is home to Sueno’s Stone, a 20 foot tall carved Pictish monument which is enclosed in armoured glass to protect it. The town featured heavily in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and Brodie Castle and gardens lie a few miles to the west. The original building (other than one tower) was destroyed by fire in 1645 and is an example of a Z-plan castle. It was home to the Clan Brodie before being taken over by the National Trust for Scotland.
The head south east from the start point in the centre of Forres, having to navigate around 1 mile through the town before hitting the countryside. After 2.5 miles of flat you roads you begin climbing, and basically don’t stop for the next 10.2 miles! There are no gradients to frighten you but it might feel like a bit of a slog at times, especially if the wind isn’t favourable. There are tougher sections at mile 4.6 and mile 8.4 before you reach the high point of 1,014 feet after 12.7 miles. You then enjoy a downhill followed by rolling roads, and climb into Archiestown from the west, finishing in the centre of the village.
This is a classic Moray route though hills, farm and woodland. The cycle is more about the scenery than the sights, but if whisky is your thing then you’ll find plenty to interest you! Benromach distillery is in Forres, and when you cycle through Rafford at mile 2.6 you will be close to Dallas Dhu (this is no longer a producing distillery, but you can still visit). You pass through the village of Dallas at mile 9.5 which is very pretty and worth stopping in, and you pass close to Knockando, Tamdhu and Cardhu distilleries at mile 15.4.
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. Archiestown is a small place so you should carry extra provisions.
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