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The route from Garmouth to Elgin is 9.4 miles long and has 420 feet of climbing. It has been given a difficulty rating of 3.
Garmouth is a small village and is famed as the landing place of King Charles II on his return from exile in 1650. The River Spey is the dominant feature and the estuary is a constantly changing environment, creating a succession of habitats from bare shingle to coastal grasslands, and brackish saltmarsh to wet woodland. If you have time you could cross to the east side of the river via the magnificent Spey Viaduct and visit Spey Bay, which has a museum and offers dolphin watching trips.
You head west out of Garmouth and straight in to classic Moray farm and woodland. The first 1.5 miles are rolling and you then hit a section of 3.9 miles that is constant up and down – there are six spikes but they are all short and shouldn’t cause you any problems. The high point of 138 feet is reached at mile 2.1. From mile 6 the road rolls very slightly uphill. You join the River Lossie at mile 6 and reach the east side of Elgin at mile 7. The route into town is circuitous, simply to avoid cycling on the A96. Some of this is through a rather unflattering industrial estate, but it is better and safer than the alternative. You finish in the centre of Elgin near the cathedral. Without wanting to upset the local residents, there is nothing on the route that could be described as a tourist attraction, other than the remains of a stone circle at mile 3.4.
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 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. 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. There are loads of café, restaurant and supermarket alternatives.
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 email@example.com