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A Hike Through North East Scotland on the Moray Way

Located between Inverness and Aberdeen lies the Moray Firth - a pristine coastline tucked away in the north east corner of Scotland. While the dramatic landscape of Scotland’s west coast receives most visitors, the Moray Firth is equally as spectacular - a hidden treasure for those who seek to escape the crowds.

The Moray Way is an official walking trail which links three existing walking routes to form a circuit of 95 miles (153 km). Combining the popular Speyside Way, the Dava Way, and the Moray Coast Trail - this is a route that offers a diversity of terrain and landscapes, with each trail having a unique character.

Moray Way near Lossiemouth

The first section of the way is a warm-up - traversing through the heart of Malt Whisky country, followed by a more challenging section along a disused railway line now forming the solitary and remote Dava Way path. The final section is your reward as you reach the beautiful Moray Coast with its sweeping and expansive coastline.

Katia from Absolute Escapes walking the Moray Way

I made my way to the north of Scotland to walk part of the route. I have to admit that I skipped the more challenging sections and went straight for dessert - the Moray Coast Trail. Having sampled my way around the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail and driven through Dava to reach my starting point in Findhorn, I had a taste of the terrain and the landscape that preceded my walk.

Waymarker on Moray Coast Trail

I began my adventure by leaving Findhorn - a small and unique eco-village located on the eastern shore of Findhorn Bay - and walking along a wide beach decorated with colourful beach huts.

Beach huts in Findhorn

As the day went on I passed through peaceful conifer woodlands, before the path finally took me past an RAF base and on to Burghead - once the largest Iron Age fort in Britain. From here I continued to the colourful village of Hopeman where I enjoyed a welcome rest at Hopeman Sands Cafe.

What a day of contrasts - beaches, forests, Pictish settlements, and a wonderful scenic stretch of sandstone coastal cliffs! As the sun shone down on me, the path continued through a spectacular section of rugged cliffs, sea caves and rock arches. High in the cliffs and surrounded by coconut-scented yellow gorse, the views were magnificent. The multitude of blue hues that shimmered with the sunlight was a scene to take anyone’s breath away.

Coastal scenery on the Moray Way

I descended from the cliffs back to the shore for the final part of my day which took me to Lossiemouth - the “Jewel of the Moray Firth”. This busy town has a picturesque marina and attracts many surfers. With high spirits and renewed energy from the late afternoon sunshine, I entered Lossiemouth through its stunning West Beach, and celebrated my successful day by treating myself to homemade ice cream from Miele's of Lossie.

East Beach Lossiemouth Moray Way

Leaving Lossiemouth behind was tough. Not because I was tired or the path was difficult, but because I found myself mesmerised by its even more beautiful East Beach. As I left early in the morning, the still wet sandy beach mirrored a dramatic skyline with dark clouds. I could have stayed on East Beach all day taking photos ... but I kept on going.

East Beach Lossiemouth Moray Way

The path continued on a well-trodden track which ran along the coast. This was an easy section following many old World War II pillboxes until I reached the settlement of Garmouth, where I had a wee rest and sipped a strong coffee from the Speyside Coffee Roasting Company. Spirits renewed, I continued past the old iron railway bridge over the River Spey.

Railway bridge over River Spey

On the other side I took a short detour to Spey Bay to visit the Scottish Dolphin Centre. While I didn’t spot any bottlenose dolphins, I enjoyed the Visitor's Centre which is an excellent place to learn about Scottish marine life.

Coastal scenery at Spey Bay

I continued on to Fochabers, at which point I was now following the Speyside Way. What a difference in landscape! Leaving the Moray Firth behind, the path took me through pretty green fields. I might not have encountered any dolphins, but a doe and fawn crossed my path.

A deer on the Moray Way

For the final few miles of my walk I enjoyed the views over the River Spey and along lovely forest tracks until I reached the attractive village of Fochabers - the official beginning and end of the Moray Way circuit.

The town of Fochabers - start and end of the Moray Way

The Moray Way encompasses a little bit of everything. The diversity of landscapes and contrasting scenery offers a unique, all-round walking experience. From expansive beaches and rugged clifftops to river valleys and fertile pastures, peaceful woodlands, quiet moorlands, and dramatic hills - the Moray Way offers the absolute best of Scotland.

Katia Fernandez Mayo
P.S. Keen to experience it for yourself? Absolute Escapes offer packages which cover the route between 7 - 9 days, including carefully-selected accommodation, baggage transfers and guidebook/map. Check out our Moray Way page for more information, or send us an enquiry
 

East Beach Lossiemouth Moray Way

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