Grantown to Forres (22 miles)

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The route from Grantown to Forres heads north and is 22 miles long. With climbing of 958 feet this has been given a difficulty rating of 6.

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!

You head north out of the centre of Grantown and immediately start climbing. This route is all on the A939 or A940 – these are well used roads and quite fast so please take care. The first 3.5 miles are uphill, reaching the high point of 1,119 feet. You are then basically heading downhill all the way to Forres, with a flat section between miles 5.3 and 7, and another flat which finishes in a small hill between 12.1 and 14.7 miles. The final 7.3 mills is a descent that takes you into Forres from the south. You reach the edge of town at mile 20.4, cycling through residential areas and finishing in the centre.
Ride the North 2014
This is a wonderful cycle in classic Moray scenery, but you will also cycle through Dava Moor which 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 will enjoy 6.5 miles on the moor with the route booked-ended by lovely farm and woodland. You join the Dava Way after 1 mile which caters to walkers and off-road cyclists. Dava Moor starts at mile 4 and you should take the chance to enjoy the fantastic panoramic views, especially southwest towards the Cairngorm massif. You cycle through Logie at mile 16 and could visit the farm shop and café at Logie Farm Steading. And you pass close to Dallas Dhu distillery at mile 20.4 which is no longer producing whisky but has an excellent visitors’ centre.

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. There are lots of café options to allow you to refuel.

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 Grantown To Forres by Neil Innes on plotaroute.com