The Moray Coast Trail (Full Route)
The Moray Coast Trail (Full Route)
Please note that the section of cycle path between Portknockie and Cullen is currently closed due to a landslip. There is currently no replacement route. The coastline and settlements of Moray are linked by a waymarked coastal trail of approximately 50 miles from Findhorn to Cullen and all the places between. The route can be extended from Findhorn to Forres along a section of cycle route.
With its marvellous landscapes from rugged cliffs, caves and sheltered coves to fishertown harbours and sweeping stretches of sandy beaches, Moray has a coastline alive with wildlife that would be the envy of many other regions in Britain.
The route has been divided into sections as follows:
(click on title to view map)
1. Forres-Findhorn: Map A
2. Roseisle Forest and Burghead Bay: Map B
3. Caer nam Broch (Burghead): Map C
4. The Line to Hopeman: Map C
5. The Hopeman Ridge: Map D
6. Lossiemouth: Map E
7. Lossie to Spey Bay: Maps F & G
8. Spey Bay to Buckie: Map H
9. Strathlene to Portknockie: Map I
10. Cullen Bay: Map J
Click on ‘Further Information’ at the foot of this page for a pdf download of the trail leaflet, which has more expansive text on each of these sections.
For more information on other Scotland's Great Trails go to the 'Other Information: Useful Links' section below.
THE ROUTE AND FEATURES OF INTEREST:
The Moray Coast has great variety in scenery and setting, and you will always be rewarded wherever you are on the path with great views out over the Moray Firth. The coastline has great wilderness quality with imposing cliffs and rare plants, but is never far from civilisation. The path links a number of attractive coastal villages and towns, with quaint harbours and extensive services and accommodation.
Many visitors are drawn by the resident bottlenose dolphin population or by the abundant bird life found along the rugged cliffs. There are some fantastic beaches along the route, where if you are lucky you can indulge in some sun bathing or paddling.
The route abounds with history and this is evident in all of the coastal communities. The fishing heritage of the coastal settlements can be viewed at a number of local museums and the ice houses of Tugnet and Findhorn. Burghead has the remains of a Pictish fort and harbour warehouses designed by Thomas Telford.
ESTIMATED WALKING TIME:
00 Day(s) 23 Hour(s) 00 Minute(s)
HEIGHT CLIMBED AND DEGREE OF SLOPE:
Generally level with some short steep climbs in places.
There are steps and gates in some sections, particularly along the rugged coastline at the Hopeman Ridge and between Buckie and Cullen.
The route crosses Lossiemouth and Cullen beaches at low tide, but at high tide you will have to follow an alternative (unsigned) foreshore route. The section between Lossie and Kingston has the military firing range and when in use red flags are hoisted at each corner which prevent users from progressing further, for information on which days the range is being used, tel, 0131 310 8692, this is a Fort George number.
There are varied surfaces including tar, gravel and earth paths, with some beach and rock sections.
In places the trail follows pavements through the towns and villages, whilst in other areas the route uses rough tracks along the coastal clifftops and forests.
The route can be walked comfortably as a whole in around 23 hours, but it is possible to split the trail into convenient sections between the coastal communities.
Many sections of the route can be used for cycling and horseriding in addition to walking. In wilder locations the path can be steep and rough in places, which would restrict access.
Generally the route is most accessible in the vicinity of the coastal settlements. Less able users should concentrate on using these sections.
Getting to the Route
The route can be reached using the mainline stations at Forres and Elgin. Local buses serve all of the coastal settlements with connections to Elgin, which has the main bus station, with services linking to Aberdeen and Inverness. Moray can be reached by car using the A96 trunk road linking Aberdeen and Inverness. Each coastal community has free public car parking. For more information on Public Transport services contact Traveline on Tel. 0870 608 2 608 or visit www.traveline.org.uk
The whole route is covered by a public right of access, which has been established by Scottish Law. With these rights come responsibilities, which are spelled out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. For more information visit: www.outdooraccess-scotland.com
Responsible Access: Ground Rules
To help you act responsibly and to protect your safety, specific guidelines and ground rules have been established for the Moray Coast Trail. These are as follows: 1. Be aware of the tides. Rising tides can move very quickly. Check with local newspapers for the tide times or collect the annual tide tables from the Harbour Master in Buckie, Lossiemouth or Burghead. 2. Never venture out alone onto tidal flats or estuarine sand bars. Unstable sands can make this treacherous. 3. Please avoid causing fire to break out in the coastal heath, duneland grasses or whin alongside the footpaths from discarded cigarette ends, glass, and never deliberately light campfires in such areas. Fires spread quickly out of control in these areas destroying the homes of animals and birds, and threatening those of people who live nearby. 4. Do not leave litter on footpaths or by the shore. Bottles, cans- and the plastic rings they come in- can be lethal to wildlife and family pets. Please take your litter home. 5. Dogs are welcome, but keep them under close control, particularly close to the roads or grazing livestock and where wildfowl can be easily disturbed. Dogs muck on paths can be a nuisance, in the sand of the beach it can ruin a family¡¦s day out- and it spreads disease. 6. Take care on the cliffs. Do not attempt to descend on steep rocky slopes. It may be difficult to climb up again. 7. Let someone know or leave a message if you intend taking a seriously long walk on the coast. Make sure you are properly equipped. 8. Follow the waymarked paths wherever present. Look for the coastal trail logo. 9. If you bring a mountain bike on the path, be aware of other users. 10. Motorbikes, 4 wheel drive vehicles and quad bikes are an antisocial use of the coastal path and tracks, and they cannot be driven on the land without the owner¡¦s express permission. 11. Please do not pick or dig up wild flowers growing by the path. It is a crime. 12. When walking the coastal path follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Where to Stay
The coastal communities have an extensive range of guest houses, B&Bs and hotels. There are also caravan sites at Findhorn, Hopeman, Burghead, Lossiemouth, Buckie, Findochty & Cullen. Further information can be obtained from Visit Scotland and the Tourist Offices at Elgin and Forres.
Moray Access Manager, Ian Douglas
Tel. 01343 557049 (mobile 07812969124)
For Forestry Commision Forests call 01343 820223.
For public transport information call
Traveline: 0870 608 2 608
OTHER INFORMATION: Useful Links
OTHER INFORMATION: Useful downloads