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The route from Forres to Grantown heads due south and is 22 miles long. With climbing of 1,647 feet this has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
Forres is a good sized town situated on the floodplain of the River Findhorn. It was first mentioned in Roman documents from the 2nd century, and received royal burgh status in 1140. It has won Scotland in Bloom on several occasions and the town features in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Sueno’s Stone is on the north side of the town – it is a 20 foot tall carved Pictish monument which is enclosed in armoured glass to protect it. Your start point is beside Nelson Tower, which was built in 1806 to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Starting in the centre of Forres, you head south through residential areas before hitting open country at mile 1.7. You start ascending from here, and will head uphill for the next 16.8 miles. The route is on the A940 and then the A939 – these are well used roads and quite fast so please take care. There are three parts to this long uphill. The first is from mile 1.7 to 7.4 followed by a flat section, and the second from mile 10 to 12.7. Another flat is followed by the final climb from mile 14.7 to the high point of 1,119 feet at mile 18.5. The road then heads broadly downhill and you enter Grantown from the north.
This is a wonderful cycle through classic Moray scenery, but the landscape changes when you hit Dava Moor – this area is more stark and more exposed, and will be difficult if the wind is against. You should dress appropriately as it can be cold. You pass close to Dallas Dhu distillery at mile 1.6 which is no longer producing whisky but has an excellent visitors’ centre. You cycle through Logie at mile 6 and could visit the farm shop and café at Logie Farm Steading. You join the Dava Way at mile 7.6 which caters to walkers and off-road cyclists, and enter Dava Moor at mile 12 – the panoramic views are fantastic, with the Cairngorm massif to the southwest.
As the name suggests, Grantown is situated on the mighty River Spey in Moray, though it has distinctive Highlands feel. It was founded as a planned village in 1765 and is a popular tourist destination, especially for fishing, walking, cycling and nature-watching. The town has an excellent heritage museum and the nearby Strathspey Steam Railway is a great way to enjoy the surrounding countryside. Grantown has also carved out an engine-based niche, hosting annual classic-car and truck shows. It also supports the Thunder in the Glen, when thousands of Harley Davidsons descend on the area – it has impacted one edition of Ride the North, and it is truly a sight to behold! There are a number of café and restaurant options in town so you won’t go hungry.
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