Great bike rides in Scotland: Cycling the Moray Way
The Moray Way is a circular Scottish long distance path that combines parts of the Speyside Way and the Moray Coast Trail and the Dava Way. Sabine and her partner Matt cycled the 95-mile route over two days. They ride cross bikes.
The Moray Way is part of a relaunched website of walking and cycling routes: The Moray Ways.
The Moray Way details
Speyside Way: Grantown to Kingston: 66km / 41 miles
Moray Coast Trail: Kingston to Forres: 48km / 30 miles
Dava Way: Forres to Grantown: 39km / 24 miles
Ascent: 850m / 2788ft
Maximum elevation: 330m / 1083ft
Terrain: Small B-roads, forest tracks, old railway track beds, gravel, sand and grassy paths.
Cycling the Moray Way
Day one: Grantown-on-Spey to Kingston
Sabrine and Matt started the ride in Grantown-on-Spey and headed straight on to the Speyside Way.
Sabrine says: “The first section immediately introduced us to off-road cycling on a narrow forest path through the beautiful Anagach pine woods, dodging tree roots and rocks.”
From Cromdale to Ballindalloch the Speyside Way website requests that cyclists take the very quiet B9102 to protect the forest trails.
Enjoying the tarmac, Sabrine and Matt ended up overshooting slightly and joined the track bed of the old Speyside railway line at Blacksboat Station.
Sabrine says: “This next section is a delight, being flat and passing many distilleries and fishing huts along the river. You can smell the whisky everywhere.”
At Aberlour, they enjoyed tea and a “massive slab of chocolate cake” from The Gather’n Café before heading off on to the last section of the railway line to Craigellachie. A long hill headed into the forest around Ben Aigan.
Sabrine says: “This is the high point of the route (1083ft) and from the top of the track we could see our target for the day… the sea! We were not there yet though and there were many ups and downs to follow, on some very steep tracks and small country lanes.”
After a stop in Fochaber to get water and other refreshments, the pair continued on a very narrow path along the Spey, until a broader track, which leads to the bridge over the river near Spey Bay.
Sabrine says: “Then it was just a gentle freewheel down to our camp spot at the beach near Kingston and a wash in the sea, followed by dinner and sunset.”
Day 2: Kingston to Grantown-on-Spey
On Sunday, the blazing sun woke Sabrine and Matt early and after a breakfast on the beach – “as well as lots of chats with friendly locals,” says Sabrine – they set off along forest tracks around an old shooting range to join a quiet B-road to Lossiemouth at Arthur Bridge.
Sabrine says: “We only had to stay on the road for 10 minutes before an old railway line took us straight to the sleepy Sunday morning beach front with welcome toilet facilities.
“We stopped at the Harbour Lights sitooterie for coffee and hot chocolate and soaked in the rays overlooking the harbour.
“Then we quickly covered the next 5 miles to Hopeman on the B9040, where traffic wasn’t too bad.”
The section from Hopeman to Burghead follows another old railway line. It’s an Sabrine says: “It’s an easy ride with great coastal views.”
From Burghead, the couple followed the “Burma Road”, a forest track to a large busy beach car park. A very small section had sanded over and they had to push the bikes.
There were more sandy sections on the next section from Findhorn – and Sabrine and Matt treated themselves to “ice creams and gingers” in the coastal village.
A signposted cycle path then points the way to Forres.
The last leg of the trip was on the old Dava railway line back to Grantown-on-Spey.
Sabrine says: “We were a bit tired from the heat of the August sun and the first eight miles to Dunphail were quite rough with some unwelcome bumpy detours from the trackbed.
“A picnic site was a welcome sight and we stopped for a brew and the last of our sandwiches. After Dunphail, though, the track surface was a lot better. We felt refreshed and with most of the climbing done we relaxed into the cycle and enjoyed the views across the moors.”
At Dava, there is another very short detour from the track bed before the route goes back out on to the moor. The track climbed to a summit of 1052ft.
Sabrine says: “Then, finally, the route started to dip towards Grantown and the last miles ticked by. We swooped down through some deep cuttings and another forest detour on a brilliant hard core path before reaching the end of the line at Dulicht Bridge just outside Grantown-on-Spey.
“It was a great route and we were chuffed with what we had achieved.”
See The Moray Ways for more details of this route and others in the same area of the Scottish Highlands.