- Sunday 15th Dec 2013
- Posted in holiday ideas, natural Scotland, tips from the locals, walks, wildlife
We asked the good folk of Twitter for their highlights of the scenic Moray area and the most common responses were: its picturesque coastline, the dolphins, lovely woodland and hill walks, castle ruins, and its malt whisky trail. We’ve put together this selection of tips from the locals to give you a few examples.
Dolphin Watching at the Scottish Dolphin Centre
The Moray Coast is ideal for dolphin watching, with porpoises and dolphins regularly spotted along the coastline. Keep your eyes trained out to sea as you walk along one of Moray’s long sandy beaches and you may see the water’s surface broken by a series of fins. If you want to get up close with the wildlife in the Moray Firth you could hop on board a wildllife boat trip or visit the Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay. The Scottish Dolphin Centre is free and an ideal place to learn more about the Moray Firth dolphins, with an interactive visitor centre, video cameras and guided wildlife walks.
Ben Rinnes crouches over Dufftown and Aberlour, often to be seen cloaked or dusted in snow. It is a lovely walk at any time of year – when I last walked up (in autumn) I met a family who said it is their annual Hogmanay walk (hugely impressed). It is quite a steep trek to the top but your efforts are more than rewarded with beautiful views that stretch from Aberdeenshire to the Cairngorms to the Moray Coast. But you don’t have to climb all the way up to enjoy soul-nourishing views – half way up offers views across Glen Rinnes (I recommend timing your walk to coincide with the sun set – a wonderful sight as the sun sinks behind you and throws golden arrows upon the valley).
The 14km expanse of the Culbin Forest reaches out to touch the Moray Firth, making it a wonderful landscape of woodland and coastline. It is a tranquil haven, ideal for long walks, family days out, cycling and a bit of good old peace and quiet. The Forestry Commission have compiled a handy list of things to do for first time visitors and 12 must-see places within the forest. It’s an area that begs to be explored.
Linn Falls, Aberlour
The lovely Linn Falls is a little known treasure, tucked behind the Speyside town of Aberlour. A circular woodland walk, that is pleasant in its own right, is made extra special with the falls making a spectacular appearance about a third of the way round. (I have lived in the area for 4 years and knew nothing of this walk until a local shared the tip). Taking around an hour, with a well-maintained path, it is a great family walk and ideal for unwinding in beautiful forest surroundings. After plummeting down into the inky pool below, the falls runs on into the River Lour, which accompanies you on the remainder of the walk.
Auchindoun Castle, Dufftown
Another recommended ‘hidden gem’, the atmospheric ruins of Auchindoun Castle lie on a hilltop setting outside Dufftown. This 15th century tower castle was left to ruin in the 1700’s and looks out over the surrounding hills and woodland, a rather lonely watch-guard.
Drumin Castle, Glenlivet
One of our Loved by Locals tips for the Tomintoul area, the 14th century ruins of Drumin Castle sit near the Glenlivet Distillery, looking out over the Rivers Livet and Avon. There’s a lovely walk from the castle along the River Livet where you can enjoy the tranquil surroundings. The castle was owned by Alexander Stewart, known as the Wolf of Badenoch.
For more historical sites, nearby Elgin Cathedral, Pluscarden Abbey, Spynie Palace and Duffus Castle are all worth a visit.
You’ll find many more tips on where to find lovely walks and views in Moray in our 10 Highlights of Moray post. And if it’s whisky that you’re interested in, take a look at our Dufftown’s Distilleries post, dedicated to the Malt Whisky Capital of the World.
Do you have any tips to add? Please leave any comments or questions below.