Moray is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Tucked midway between Aberdeen and Inverness, it is sheltered from the prevailing weather by the Cairngorm Mountains. This allows the area to enjoy relatively low rainfall and high sunshine rates. It is also far enough north to enjoy endlessly long days during the summer months, greatly extending the hours when outdoor activities can be enjoyed.
The terrain is a wonderful mix of high peaks to the south, rolling hills and lush valleys in the centre and fabulous beaches and cliffs on the Moray Firth coast. Sprinkled throughout this largely rural area are the distinctive pagoda roofs of the malt whisky distilleries which are the backbone of the local economy.
The diversity of the landscape is reflected in the huge range of wildlife. From the red deer, ptarmigan, capercaillie and wild cats in the mountains and forests, to the whales, dolphins, ospreys and water fowl which regularly cruise the Moray Firth. Great salmon rivers such as the Spey, Findhorn, Livet and Avon rush from the mountains to the sea, many also lending their names to the whiskies (Glenfiddich, Glenlivet) for which the area is world famous.
Farming, too, is involved with the whisky industry, providing much locally grown barley to the distilleries, especially in the coastal area known as the Laich of Moray. Inland, the valleys are given over to mixed agriculture including crops, cattle and sheep, with sheep also ranging the higher hills. Much of local industry is based on quality food and drink – in addition to the many whisky distilleries, famous global brands such as Walker Shortbread and Baxters soups and jams have their home here.
Forestry is significant, too, with both Forestry Commission Scotland and The Crown Estate having holdings in the area. Both organisations provide a range of walking and other outdoor leisure activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Accommodation outside of the main town of Elgin is largely provided by small B&Bs and guest houses who pride themselves of providing a very personal service to their guests – along with great locally produced food and drink.
A significant number of footpaths throughout the area are waymarked. The three main routes being the Speyside Way long distance route, the Moray Coast Trail and the Dava Way . These combine together into a 95-mile long circular walking route called The Moray Way. Tourism is important to the area and there are a number of exciting events throughout the year. Many of villages host their Highland Games during the summer. Festivals are a prominant addition during the year including the internationally acclaimed Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival held in early May.
The midsummer Moray Walking Festival is a new addition to the local calendar and allows Moray to showcase its fantastic scenery and outdoor opportunities. There’s so much to see and do we are confident we will be welcoming you back again and again.
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