The Moray Monster Trails are a result of collaboration between Forestry Enterprise (Moray), Moray Mountain Bike Club (http://www.moraymountainbikeclub.co.uk/ with associated discussion forum) and others and are a linked network covering 30km of trails, graded from green to black and including a freeride section. The network was officially opened in April 2006 and covers an extensive area on the east side of the River Spey, from just east of Fochabers to just north of Craigellachie. There is also a green graded trail by Elgin. Parts of the trails have been utilised for the “10 More in Moray” mountain bike enduro event, the Moray leg of the No Fuss Events “10” series.
The Moray trail network can be considered as three independent, but linked, areas of trail, with distinct character and access points. The Quarrelwood trail is about a dozen miles due west of the main trail network.
Whiteash (Winding Walks) – main access point the Winding Walks car park. This is the northerly section, encompassing an 8 km red route (The Fochabers Ring) with a definite natural character – gentle start, uncompromising ascent to the monument (an excellent vantage point and a fine excuse to draw breath), and then a variety of natural terrain to test your mettle. The (relatively short) Fochabers Freeride section is located adjacent to the Ring. From The Ring, the adjacent Ordiequish section can be reached.
Ordiequish – a broader range of trails here, main access point the Ordiequish car park.
- The Soup Dragon (with The Dragon’s Tail) – blue graded route, with a rather long draggy climb to start. It’s worth it, however, for the exhilaration of the long fall line descent with berms and swoops a-plenty. The Dragon’s Tail (at the highest point) is worth the extra pedal power investment at the start.
- Gordzilla – blue graded, the marked ascent is a brutal with a sapping fire road climb, but it opens out to an involving high level trail through the woods. Gordzilla is the link to/from the Whiteash trails.
- The Haggis – another blue graded trail, longer than the others and a greater variety of trail nature. Some long ascents, an endlessly varying trail with berms, tabletops and some exquisite narrow singletrack. From The Haggis, an extended link section will take you to the Ben Aigan trail area.
Ben Aigan - accessible from Craigellachie or from the Ben Aigan (Mulben) car park, these are a higher altitude set of trails, rougher in nature than Ordiequish.
- The Hammer – red graded, a reasonable length circuit of Ben Aigan with some stunning views of the Spey Valley).
- The Mast Blast – black graded, a challenging, very fast, descent from the transmitter mast.
- The (Pink Fluffy) Bunny – orange graded, a trail with definite natural leanings, rough and ready, with some big jumps, timberwork and drop offs; another fast descent.
Quarrelwood - access points are the Leggat (on NW side) or Brumley Brae (E side) car parks. This is a pleasantly wooded green trail promoted by Forest Enterprise as part of the Monster Trails network. It’s only 4km, but does give a taste of the trails within this and other Moray forests.
Food - Who needs food when you have numerous distilleries within several stones’ throw of the trails? At either end of the Monster Trails proper, are the small towns of Fochabers and Craigellachie. Both have a selection of small shops, grocers, cafes and local hostelries. Look out for: Christies Garden Centre – Teapots Restaurant (Fochabers) and Baxters of Speyside – Spey Restaurant (Mosstodloch). Further afield, there are a large range of facilities in Elgin.
Parking - Each section has an associated car park – Whiteash (Winding Walks), Ordiequish and Ben Aigan. All trails are moderately accessible from adjacent towns. For those inclined to use public transport, Elgin is serviced by train and a bike friendly bus service runs to Fochabers.
Accomodation - Fochabers and Craigellachie each have several hostelries with accommodation, and in addition a network of local B&Bs. The Speyside Way passes through the Trails, so outdoor friendly accommodation is unlikely to be a problem. There is a caravan and campsite at Fochabers.
Spares/Bike shops/Hire – Locally, spares – Speyside Bikes in Aberlour would be nearest to the trail network. Elgin has a Bikehut Halfords and a couple of small bike shops. The recommended bike shop is Stuarts Cycles in Forres – approx. 20 miles west of the trail network. Bike Hire – Speyside Bikes in Aberlour.
Fochabers – is on the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Winding Walks car park is about 1km east of Fochabers, along the A98 towards Buckie (head east at mini roundabout at east/Aberdeen end of Fochabers), signposted on right (south).
Ordiequish car park is south of Fochabers, on the minor towards Boat o’ Brig – turn off A96 (main street) by the chip shop; the (small) car park is on the left after about 1km.
Craigellachie – is on the A95 – about 20km SW of Keith.
Mulben car park is located (on west side) just off the A95 about 7km NE of Craigellachie.
FE directions – link – http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6mrlh4
- Whiteash (Winding Walks): NJ358586 : IV32 7PG
- Oridiequish: NJ343577 : IV32 7HA
- Ben Aigan: NJ333491 : AB55 6XN
- Leggat: NJ174634 : IV30 8XU
- Brumley Brae: NJ196633 : IV30 6AP
Forestry Link – http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-6MRFE5
Posted on: July 23, 2008