map of the Dava Way Trail from Forres to Grantown

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All you need to know about the Dava Way

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Why choose Morayshire for your walking or cycling holiday in Scotland?

Until 1975 the Dava Way lay entirely within the administrative county of Morayshire. Under local government reorganisation Grantown-on-Spey and its immediate surroundings became part of Highland Region, while the rest of Morayshire became part of Grampian Region. Many centuries ago these regions were part of the ancient Pictish kingdom of Alba, which under the rule of Kenneth MacAlpin in the ninth century became in turn part of the kingdom of Scotia, later to become Scotland.

To the west is Nairnshire and Inverness, to the South is Strathspey and the Cairngorm Mountains, to the East lies Banffshire. For years Morayshire has been overshadowed by its larger neighbours, yet this small area contains miles of glorious beaches, surfing, cliffs, fertile farmland, wild moorland, birdwatching, fishing villages, Scotland's greatest concentration of fine distilleries, historic Castles, etc. It also has its own microclimate and is one of the sunniest and driest places in Scotland. For high mountains - explore the Highlands. For a gentler family holiday with lots of outdoor variety and Scottish history visit Morayshire.

Walking the Dava Way

Is the Dava Way really the best walking holiday in Scotland?

That depends on the challenge and variety you are looking for, but it is fairly easy to build the Dava Way into a great Scottish walking experience. I have walked in most regions of the UK and in many countries across Europe. There is a gentleness and variety of experience in Morayshire that still surprises me. Combine the crossing of Dava Moor with an exploration of the Moray Coast and a return along Speyside for a wonderfully varied holiday with more than enough attractions for a rainy day.

Do I need walking boots for the Dava Way?

Most people prefer lightweight boots for the ankle support and cushioning, but others choose running shoes or trainers! It's down to personal choice

How high is Dava Moor?

The highest point on the trail as it passes over Dava Moor is 320 metres (1050 feet) above sea level.

Which direction should I walk the Dava Way?

The easiest way is to start at Grantown and finish by the sea, an overall descent of 236 metres (775 feet) - but the choice is yours.

What weather do I expect on the Dava Way?

I choose fine weather, but I do live locally! Morayshire is blessd with a generally dry sunny climate without the midge menace of the West. I have ski toured across Dava Moor in winter, having been caught in a blizzard, and thought I might die! Expect fine weather, but respect the moors, and if you are unlucky enough to catch the worst weather - turn back and 'phone a taxi. There is always tomorrow.

Cycling the Dava Way

Is the Dava Way really the best cycling route in Scotland?

Probably not, but I think it is one of the best off road rides. Unlike other routes I could mention it doesn't send you on endless detours up and down hillsides. Ok, there are two short sections, one at Dava and the other near Grantown where you use the road, but these are no more than ¾ mile in total.

What is the best type of bicycle for cycling along the Dava Way?

I use a hybrid bike with front suspension and obviously a mountain bike would be fine. The track is too rough for a road bike and heavy panniers. I have taken panniers but they did tend to bounce off on some of the faster, rough sections.

Can't you do something about the gates on the Dava Way

Not really, the trail goes through active farmland and gates are needed (and have to be shut!) to keep the livestock in. Just relax, this isn't a speed trial, enjoy the scenery, the lack of any steep hills, and remember that Simon Pride (on the official opening race) almost certainly ran it faster than you will cycle it!

Horse riding along the Dava Way

Can I take my horse along the Dava Way?

The route was planned as a walking route which could be used by off road cyclists. Horses do cause considerable damage to path surfaces and can undo hours of volunteer effort to improve the path. Horse riders are asked to ride at the side of the path wherever possible. Any horses should follow the cyclist diversion at Dava. Further information can be found on the Moray Equestrian Access Group website. They describe it as a lovely ride with some fatastic views, allow about 6 hours. Camping and grazing at Grantown-on-Spey can be arranged when riding out from Forres.