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The route from Tomintoul to Grantown is 13.8 miles long and has climbing of 1,083 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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.
You start in the centre of Tomintoul and head northwest on the A939, which you are on for most of the stage. This road is quite well used so please use caution. This is a route of two halves, with the first half being the harder. You head downhill for 1.7 miles before a climb lasting 1.9 miles. This is followed by a sharp descent before another climb at mile 4.4, taking you to the high point of 1,453 feet after 6.7 miles. You then go downhill pretty much all the way to Grantown, though there are a few spikes so it won’t be all freewheeling. You join the very busy A95 at mile 12.2 before crossing the River Spey and entering Grantown from the south, finishing in the centre of town.
There are not many tourist attractions on the route, but the scenery is stunning, with a Highland feel rather than Moray or Speyside. Most of the ride is in a fairly inhospitable landscape (you are entirely in the Cairngorm National Park), with moorland hills all around. The road is exposed and 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. You cross the Bridge of Avon at mile 1.7 and the Bridge of Brown (which has a tea-room) at mile 4.4. There is a hut circle and field system on your right at mile 7.3 and you pass the Grantown Heritage Centre at mile 12.5.
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! There are lots of food and drink 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