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The route from Lossiemouth to Forres is 18.7 miles in length and has climbing of 594 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
Although Lossiemouth has been settled for over a thousand years, the current town was established 250 years ago. Formally a fishing village, the economy is dominated by the RAF base. There are two world-class golf courses, which might be the only courses in the world to have landing lights strewn across them – you will feel like you can touch the jets as they come in to land. The courses are associated with three former British prime ministers – Arthur James Balfour, Herbert Asquith and James Ramsay MacDonald. The Covesea Lighthouse is to the west, and there are some wonderful beaches and cliff walks on the Moray Coast Trail to enjoy.
You head west out of Lossiemouth and cycle on the B9040 for the first 3.2 miles – this is a surprisingly fast and busy road so take care. The profile of this stage looks horrible but it is an easy route and the numerous spikes are accentuated because of the low elevation. There is something approaching a hill at mile 1.7, which reaches the high point of 118 feet at mile 3.2. The remainder of the route is never flat but never hard. The road begins to rise after 16.4 miles and you enter Forres from the north, crossing the A96 via a bridge and finishing in the town centre.
This route is classic Moray and more about the scenery than the sights. You pass the prestigious Gordonstoun School at mile 4, skirting the edge of RAF Lossiemouth, and will see the remains of Duffus Castle at mile 5.4, a motte and bailey that was built in 1140 and abandoned in 1705. You arrive in Kinloss after 15.6 miles, which is home to thousands of military personnel. The town sits on Findhorn Bay and you can see the ruins of a Cisterian Abbey that was built in 1150 by King David. Just to the north is the village of Findhorn. The community centre and main sanctuary of this eco-community were destroyed by arsonists in April 2021. If you have the inclination and the energy, a small detour for tea and cake would surely be appreciated. And at mile 17.8 you will pass Sueno’s Stone – it is a 20 foot tall carved Pictish monument which is enclosed in armoured glass to protect it.
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. Your finishing point is beside Nelson Tower, which was built in 1806 to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Brodie Castle and gardens lie a few miles to the west and is a fine example of a Z-plan castle. There are plenty of food and drink options.
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