Cullen Bay & Portknockie Circuit

This walk is an inspiring and varied coastal walk. Few things can be more enjoyable than a good coastal walk, with crashing waves on rugged rocks, long swathes of golden sand and picturesque little harbours, sea birds and the possibility of seeing dolphins being the main ingredients for an enjoyable day out.

Fishing has been carried out at Cullen for at least five hundred years, and the picturesque huddle of the Seatown with its colourful painted cottages and twisting lanes dates in part from the 17th century.

The arches of the viaducts frame some of the best views of the town and its surroundings; the Seatown, the Cullen burn, the 19th-century temple of Pomona – a garden teahouse in the shape of a classical temple and, most magnificent of all, Cullen bay with the three distinctive sea stacks known as the ‘Three Kings’.

After skirting the marvellous sweep of Cullen Bay, the route passes Jenny’s Well, named after a poor woman in times past who lived in a cave nearby, and there are great views of the Whale’s Mouth rock formation. After climbing the concrete steps to the Portknockie headland, we come upon the focal point on the route – the hugely impressive and photogenic Bow Fiddle Rock – a natural sea arch, so-called because it resembles the tip of a fiddle bow. Portknockie has an ancient history; including being the site of a Pictish fort, but its modern development is associated with the herring boom of the 1800s. After making our way through Portknockie we return to Cullen via the disused railway line and viaduct, with tremendous coastal views over the golf course. Our return route to Cullen also takes us beside the burn of Cullen and across the west bridge, taking us past Cullen House and grounds.

Glenfiddich to Glenlivet

Join the Rangers from Dorenell Ranger Service and Glenlivet Ranger Service for a walk up the River Fiddich all the way to its source then over the watershed to meet the River Livet. We’ll park at the finish point in Glenlivet and be transported by coach to the start at Bridgehaugh, south of Dufftown. The route will follow Moray core path SP29, going past Glenfiddich Lodge and up Glenfiddich itself where we’ll have an opportunity to see Elf House cave and the McHardy stone. Once up on the watershed, we’ll hopefully have views across to the Cairngorms before following the Suie Burn down to the River Livet and out to Glenlivet.

Along the route, the Rangers will talk about the Cultural and Natural History of the area and will be on hand to point out any wildlife along the route which could include Red Deer and various birds of prey including Golden Eagles and White-tailed Eagles.

Although starting off on patchy tarmac track the route is mainly rough landrover tracks with a number of small stream and river crossings. A larger river crossing towards the end can be avoided by a bridge further upstream but walkers should come prepared for potentially wet feet.

Mark Johnston is Head Ranger for the 23000ha Glenlivet Estate. The Crown Estate acquired Glenlivet (now managed by Crown Estate Scotland) in 1937 which today comprises over 30 let farms, 1500 acres of commercial forests and a sporting tenancy including grouse moors, salmon fishing and deer stalking.

Stephen Reeves is Head Ranger for the Dorenell Ranger Service, set up by EDF Renewables in July 2019 as part of the Dorenell Wind Farm on Cabrach and Glenfiddich estate. Based at the Dorenell Wind Farm Visitor Centre, the Rangers are responsible for delivering the Access Strategy and Habitat Management Plan whilst delivering environmental education and guided walks in the Cabrach and surrounding area.

Mindful Photography Walk

Take a walk along the Moray Coast and learn how to connect with nature through photography. During this guided walk, we will make our way along the coastal path between Burghead and Hopeman. While walking, Kim will open your eyes up to the many photography opportunities available along the way. Using your camera (or phone), you will learn to see the world around you in a new light and capture many subjects as you do so. This walk will be done at a leisurely pace, allowing us to mindfully observe and tune in to the world around us. Kim will encourage you to use all your senses to find photographic subjects. This will include watching the waves crash to shore, listening out for wildlife and touching the rocks that line the coastline. We will focus on the smaller aspects of the landscape and how to capture all the shapes and patterns that can be found around us. Halfway through the walk, we will stop by the sea to eat our lunch and do some mindful exercises.

This walk is open to all photographic abilities – no matter what camera or phone you own.

Altyre Ecological Walk

A circular walk meeting at the old Dallas Dhu distillery, heading along the Dava way then back through the ancient and fascinating Altyre estate. We will look at and discuss different habitats and their ecological features as we explore the extremely varied scenery along this gentle walk. From plantation forest to native woodland, open farmland to wetland wilderness, we will cover a wide range of landscapes in this medium length walk. We will also look at some of the fascinating historical features of the ancient Altyre estate.

The Hidden Glen!

Join the Moray Council Officer for a walk up a secluded glen nestled in the Glenlivet hills to a rustic log cabin wildlife hide overlooking the head of the glen and across to Blairfindy moor and down to the Spey valley. Good chance of seeing red deer, red grouse and mountain hare. And if we’re blessed with good fortune we might get a sighting of a hen harrier and merlin flying by.

Cooks Cairn with Pete Hags

Starts and finishes at NJ 351 343 Dorenell Wind Farm main entrance Car Park. (Glacks of Balloch). Mostly off-path and off-road after a warm-up on the forest track. This is a spectacular, short hill run which takes the ridge from Scaut Hill (Trig point) to Cook’s Cairn and back.

There are turbine paths that cross the route, but as they lead nowhere, the best route is on the ridge direct. The object of this short run is to build skills to cross rough hill country running style. There are spectacular views to Cabrach (left) Corryhabbie (right), Blackwater, Glenlivet and the Ladder hills; all part of this group. Many other combinations are possible in this range and this is a good introduction to it. There are no river crossings needed but expect to get wet feet unless it is bone dry. The situation is exposed (wind or heat). If the winds are too high, there is a plan B to simply turn back at Carn Allt Chlaiginn.

The route takes in a huge variety of surfaces: some forest track, steep grass, rough hill surface, heather, peat hags and slight bogginess. There are no cliffs, no crags and no scrambling is needed. It is a great introduction to the ‘off-piste’ nature of this area.

Heldon Hill Sunset Challenge Walk

We are a local group of the Long Distance Walkers Association serving a large area in the north of Scotland, roughly everything north of a line between Aberdeen and the Isle of Mull, including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland

We not only welcome members and guests from our area but also visitors from further afield to this far-flung corner of the country which offers so much in the way of walking in areas steeped in whisky and wildlife, history and culture, geology, landscape and sport.

We offer our members at least one group walk each month advertised in Strider (the LDWA magazine), and aim to have some social walks in-between advertised on our local group page. Our walks are being specially planned to offer participants a range of walking experiences from coast to Corbett and from river to glen.

As well as social walks, we put on two challenge walks each year: Heldon Hill Sunset Walk, and the Laich o’Moray 50-mile challenge in October.

Meet your Local Walking Group

There are local walking groups to suit all abilities in Moray – whether it’s a short sociable stroll in the park, or bagging Monros. This drop-in session will have representatives from many of these groups, with some holding a ‘taster’ walk following the drop-in (bookable separately).

So, if you are thinking of joining a group, but not sure which is right for you, come along

At the drop-in, we will have:

Walk Moray Health Walks
A Walk Moray Health Walk is a short (up to an hour-long) low level, risk assessed walk led by trained walk leaders. Health Walks are aimed at inactive people who would benefit most from doing more physical activity. These can include people who haven’t been active for a while and would like to start again, people recovering from ill health or who are managing a long term health condition.

Long Distance Walkers Association
The North of Scotland Group of the LDWA holds group walks once a month. Our area covers a wide expanse of the North of Scotland, from Aberdeen northwards. Group walks are typically between 12 and 25 miles. We also hold ‘challenge’ events, including the 50 mile Laich O’Moray walk in early October. Details of our programme can be found at https://ldwa.org.uk/NorthWestGrampian/E/0/future-events-list.html

Moray Ramblers
Moray Ramblers have been running for over 25 years, and have over 100 members in the group. We have walk outings twice a month, alternating on Tuesday and weekend. Our walks are from 7 miles to 12 miles and range from easy, moderate and hard walks. However, we always walk to the slowest pace of the group. Walks can be found https://www.facebook.com/groups/438399116311261

Fochabers Hillwalking and Rambling Club
We run a summer programme which is mainly doing Munros and Corbetts. Our winter programme consists mainly of low level walks with a few Corbetts or Grahams mainly in November, March and April. The programme can be found https://www.facebook.com/Fochabers-Hill-Walking-Rambling-Club-181007335852356/

Forres 50+ Walking Group
We have two sections and walk alternate Fridays and aim to walk between 5 & 10 miles. Up until Covid we tried to use public transport so that we could start at one point and arrive at another but recently we have been doing circular walks with people using their cars – we hope to return to using public transport soon.

St John’s Church Walking Group
The informal walking group at St John’s started earlier this year and we are small in numbers and all retired members. Three to six miles is the usual distance we cover. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month and usually gather outside the church for a 10.30 start.

Moray Mountaineering Club
The Moray Mountaineering Club was established in 1931 with the declared aim to encourage mountaineering and serve as a bond of union amongst lovers of the Scottish hills. Club activities include monthly day and weekend meets, regular rock climbing sessions and social functions. A nominated committee member manages each activity. The main interests centre on summer and winter hillwalking, mountaineering, climbing, and ski touring. Details of the programme can be found https://moraymc.wordpress.com/

Forres Footpaths Trust
The Trust is not a walking group as such but has developed a network of paths around Forres for individuals and groups to enjoy.

Moray Field Club
The Moray Field Club is open to anyone who is interested in the geology, landscapes, flora and fauna, history and archaeology of Moray, and enjoys exploring the outdoors.

Each year we organise indoor meetings in the winter and early spring, and at least six local walks, or expeditions further afield, in the summer and early autumn.
For more information see: https://www.morayfieldclub.org.uk/

The Dava Way Association
The Dava Way Association manages and maintains the Dava Way, one of Scotland’s Great Trails. This follows the old Highland Railway Line for 24 Miles between the historic towns of Forres and Grantown-on-Spey. For more information see: https://davaway.org.uk/

LDWA Taster Walk -A Tour of Forres

This is a taster walk for people who are interested in joining the North of Scotland Long Distance Walkers Association. Come along and meet some of our regular members on a tour around Forres.

We are a local group of the Long Distance Walkers Association serving a large area in the north of Scotland, roughly everything north of a line between Aberdeen and the Isle of Mull, including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland

We not only welcome members and guests from our area but also visitors from further afield to this far-flung corner of the country which offers so much in the way of walking in areas steeped in whisky and wildlife, history and culture, geology, landscape and sport.

We offer our members at least one group walk each month advertised in Strider (the LDWA magazine), and aim to have some social walks in-between advertised on our local group page. Our walks are being specially planned to offer participants a range of walking experiences from coast to Corbett and from river to glen.

As well as social walks, we put on two challenge walks each year: Heldon Hill Sunset Walk and the Laich o’Moray 50-mile challenge in October.

St John’s Church Walking Group Taster Walk

This is a taster walk for people interested in joining the St John’s Church Walking Group.

The informal walking group at St John’s started earlier this year, and we are small in numbers. Three to six miles is the usual distance we cover. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month and gather outside the church at 10am.