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The route from Grantown to Tomintoul is 13.8 miles long and has climbing of 1,601 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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 nearby Strathspey Steam Railway is a great way to enjoy the surrounding countryside. Grantown has 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 is truly a sight to behold!
You start in the centre of Grantown and head south, crossing the River Spey and joining the A95 at mile 0.8 and the A939 at mile 1.6, which you follow all the way to Tomintoul. Both these roads are well used and fast so please take care. The first 1.6 miles are flat and you then start to climb, not stopping until mile 7.3 which is the high point of 1,453 feet. This is a tough hill with the occasional steep ramp. From the high point you are on rolling roads for a mile before a sharp descent before tackling another climb at mile 9.6. The road flattens out at mile 10.4 and then goes downhill before the final challenge of the day at mile 12.1, a hill that lasts 0.7 miles. You then roll in to Tomintoul from the northwest and finish in the town centre.
There are not many tourist attractions on the route, but the scenery is stunning, with a Highland feel rather than Moray or Speyside. Once you start climbing you are in to a fairly inhospitable landscape, with moorland hills all around. The road is exposed and goes quite high, so you should ensure you are properly dressed as it could get windy and cold. But the views are magnificent and panoramic, with the Cairngorm massif to the west a particular highlight (the route is entirely in the Cairngorm National Park). You pass the Grantown Heritage Centre at mile 1.4 before joining the Old Military Road. You pass a hut circle and field system at mile 6.7 and cross the Bridge of Brown at mile 9.6, where there is a tea-room if you need a breather. You cross the Bridge of Avon at mile 12.
Tomintoul, meaning Hillock of the Barn, sits at 1,132 feet above sea level. It is in Moray and is on the Malt Whisky Trail. It is home to the Whisky Castle, one of the best whisky shops in Scotland, and a few miles south of the town is the Tomintoul Distillery. Alongside tourism and whisky, the other major industry is farming. There are a few café options in 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 email@example.com