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The route from Keith to Garmouth is 14 miles long and has climbing of 686 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.
You start in the old town of Keith and head north, crossing the River Isla after 1 mile. You broadly head northwest on this cycle. The first 1.5 miles are flat before a hill takes you to mile 2.8 – this is actually the hardest climb of the day, but it shouldn’t cause you any worries. You then have a shallow descent before you head uphill again at mile 3.7, reaching the high point of the day of 709 feet at mile 6.1. The road then heads downhill pretty much all the way to Garmouth. You cross the River Spey via the magnificent Spey Viaduct at mile 13, which is the highlight of the day. You enter Garmouth from the east and finish in the village centre.
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. From mile 6 you are sandwiched between Whiteash Hill Wood (part of the Speymouth Forest) and Corsekell Moss following the route of an old railway, before passing through Mains of Oxhill which is known for its waterfalls. At mile 11 you pass a disused airfield which was an operational RAF base from 1943 – 1945, and at mile 12 you cycle through the village of Nether Dallachy.
Garmouth is a small place 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 should carry extra provisions with you.
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