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The route from Keith to Elgin is 19.8 miles long and has climbing of 909 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Keith is a 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.
Starting in the centre of Keith, you head west out of town, briefly joining the busy A96 before moving on to the A95 at mile 1 – please take care. The first 6.4 miles are on rolling roads with an occasional spike to warm the legs. The high point of 479 feet is at mile 6.4 and is followed by a steep descent and a small hill. The road is mainly flat for the next 2 miles before you climb again at mile 10.5 – it is a double summit and lasts for 1.7 miles. The route is then downhill to Elgin, though there are numerous small lumps on the way. You enter Elgin from the southeast and have to navigate 2.6 miles through the town. You cross the A96 at a busy roundabout at mile 18.2, and the last section is through a rather unflattering industrial estate (it is a safer option than the A96). You finish in the grounds of the cathedral near the centre.
This is a classic Moray cycle through farm and woodland with virtually no flat! You follow the A95 (and the railway line) to mile 5.3 at Mulben, before passing Auchroisk Distillery at mile 6.4. You cross the River Spey at mile 7.8 on the Orton Viaduct which has a real sense of theatre. You cycle near to Coxton Tower at mile 14.6, a late 16th century fortified tower that has been unoccupied since 1867, and pass Linkwood Distillery at mile 17.3 just as you enter Elgin.
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 nearby RAF and army bases. 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.
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