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The route from Keith to Dufftown is 11.4 miles in length and has climbing of 912 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
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.
The stage heads southwest, following the Keith and Dufftown Heritage Railway and the River Isla. You head south out of Keith, briefly joining the A96 after 0.7 miles (please take care). The roads are rolling to mile 1.5 before a short, sharp hill followed by a steep descent. You head slowly uphill for the next 3.7 miles, with a more noticeable lump at mile 5.4. The biggest challenge of the day starts at mile 6.7 and reaches the high point of 794 feet after 8.2 miles. There is then a downhill section before the roads rises for the last mile in to Dufftown, entering the town from the east over the River Fiddich and finishing in the centre.
This is a pretty route through a classic Moray landscape of farmland, rivers, hills and woods. Whilst this stage is more about the scenery than tourist attractions, there is lots to do, especially in and around Dufftown and Keith, and especially if you like whisky! You pass through the village of Drummuir at mile 6.4 where you can see the 6th century St Fumac’s Well and visit Drummuir Castle which is now used as a corporate retreat and is Diageo’s home in Speyside.
Dufftown is part of the ancient parish of Mortlach, and you can visit the historic Mortlach Church on the south side of town. The remains of Balvenie Castle is open to the public – the original building was completed in the 12th century. The town calls itself the Malt Whisky Capital of the World and the industry is hugely important to the area, from farming and general employment to tourism. There are also some world renowned whiskies made near Dufftown including the Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Mortlach and Dufftown itself. There are plenty of cafés in town 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 firstname.lastname@example.org