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The route from Garmouth to Keith is 14 miles long and has climbing of 1,096 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
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 and visit Spey Bay, which has a museum and offers dolphin watching trips.
You head east out of Garmouth, crossing the River Spey via the magnificent Spey Viaduct, which is a proper highlight, before heading southeast. The first 2.7 miles are flat, but you then start to climb and don’t stop until the high point of 705 feet at mile 8. There is nothing too difficult in this section but it might feel like a slog, especially if the wind is in your face. There is then a shallow descent from mile 8 to 10.3, before a small rise and another descent from mile 11.2. The final 1.6 miles are on rolling roads and you enter Keith from the south, crossing the River Isla at mile 13 and finishing in the old town.
This is a pretty route with a classic Moray landscape of farm and woodland, but truthfully there aren’t any tourist attractions on the way. You pass through the village of Nether Dallachy at mile 1.8, and soon after pass a disused airfield which was an operational RAF base from 1943 – 1945. At mile 6 you cycle through Mains of Oxhill which is known for its waterfalls, and at mile 7 you are sandwiched between Whiteash Hill Wood (part of the Speymouth Forest) and Corsekell Moss following the route of an old railway.
Keith is a small 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 plenty of café and supermarket options in the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org