Moray Walking festival showcases the great walks in the area

The Moray Walking Festival is returning for another year from Friday 14th June to Sunday 23rd June – but Moray’s great walks are here all year round.

The festival allows you to explore and discover Moray’s natural, historical and cultural landscapes.  With all sorts of activities including: walking, cycling, white water rafting, health walks, heritage events, bushcraft and more – there is something for everyone at Moray Walking Festival.

The main aim of the festival is to allow you to explore the stunning scenery that Moray has to offer.  Whether you opt for a gentle stroll or a challenging hike, the beautiful surroundings will help you on your way.

Prices vary based on individual events, information and tickets can be found on The Moray Way website.

If you can’t make it in time for the festival, don’t fret!  Incredible walking trails can be found in the Moray area all year round.  There are plenty to choose from, including coastal walks, hill climbing and woodland adventures.

In fact, there are many walking trails that are right on the doorstep of Carden Cottages that will help you explore the area.

Quarrelwood Ancestors Trail – 2.5 miles – 1 hour 30 minutes estimated walking time

The Ancestor’s trail is a woodland walk of around 2.5 miles, with a few short steep sections and various surfaces.  The beautiful woods was used in the Neolithic era for ceremonial purposes because of the Henge, where pottery and a Bronze Age axe mould were found.

Some fantastic wildlife can be found in this area, including roe deer, red squirrels and a large variety of bird life.

Millbuies Loch Trail – 1.5 miles – 1 hour estimated walking time

The beautiful loch, created by the damming of streams to provide angling facilities on the loch, makes for a beautiful, leisurely walk with picturesque views.  It is a generally flat and easy trail, with a distance of less than two miles.

The area also provides plenty activities, including a grass area for play with picnic tables and barbecue points.  Red squirrels, roe deer, badgers, rabbits and pine martins can also be spotted at Millbuies.

Brodie Castle Path – 2.5 miles – 1 hour 30 minutes estimated walking time

The Brodie Castle Trail is made up of many beautiful paths offering a wide variety of scenic and historic features along the way.

The paths around the pond and the woodland paths are suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, however the rough paths and slopes of the walk make it unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Culbin Forest (Route 99) – less than 2 miles – 2 hours estimated walking time

Located between the coastal sand dunes of Findhorn Bay and Nairn, this walk route has a wide network of paths, including the “all abilities trail”, known as Route 99.

This route winds through forest and mossy clearings, up hill 99, and offers a “squirrels-eye” viewpoint that makes the walk worth it.

River Findhorn – 8 miles – 5 hours estimated walking time

This circular walk through and around the town of Forres follows the banks of River Findhorn and showcases some of the less frequented beautiful countryside spots of the town.

With a 5 hours estimated walking time, this long, but relatively level, route allows you to take in some fantastic scenery along the way.

Clarkly Hill – 3.5 miles – 1 hour 45 minutes estimated walking time

A circular route beginning in the Pictish Fort town of Burghead, passing through farmland and Rocky shores.  This route offers spectacular views of the Moray Firth along the ridge of Clarkly Hill.

The route is generally level, with a gentle slope rising from the Burghead – Lossiemouth Road to Clarkly Hill.

The Moray Way – 95 miles – 6 to 9 days estimated walking time

Linking existing walking routes to form a circuit of 95 miles, The Moray Way can be walked comfortably in six to nine days.  The long route encompassed a wide variety of Scotland’s scenery into one walk including: beaches, clifftops, wide straths, farmlands, forests, open moorland and mountains.

The Moray Ways website has more information about fantastic walks in the area.

The route is circular and can be started from many points.  I would recommend starting from Forres when staying at Carden Cottages.

Walkers can experience history, beautiful scenery and interesting wildlife on this trail.

All of these walks are right on the doorstep of Carden.  With different routes to match different abilities it would be near impossible not to find a trail that suits you.

After your long relaxing walk, you can unwind in the comfort of your luxury cottage at Carden.

 

Tranquil Getaway at Roseisle

Roseisle beach, burghead, Moray, Scotland
The beach at Roseisle is the perfect place to relax and unwind

Moray is known for its beautiful coastal villages and incredible walking trails, but one of the most beautiful spots for relaxing has to be Roseisle beach.

Situated between Findhorn and Burghead, the beautiful sandy beach offers brilliant views of the seaside village and town to each side.

Due to its brilliant location, clear waters and clean sandy shores, Roseisle is always busy – but it amazingly never seems to get crowded.  This is probably because of its extensive size, which means you don’t have to walk very far to be in peaceful solitude.

The privacy that the beach offers allows a great opportunity to relax and reflect.  On even the most stressful of days, the sound of the ocean waves can always help wash my worries away.

Something I work very hard at is making sure that I take time out of my busy schedule to look after my mental well-being.  I have found that, apart from the pond beside Carden, nowhere helps me unwind like the beach at Roseisle.

Carden Cottages, Moray, Scotland
The pond by Carden is a great spot to be at peace

Studies have shown that the sounds of nature – including the ocean and birds chirping – can help you recover faster from a stressful event.  Therefore, if you’re looking for a break from the stress and business of everyday life, this is the ideal place for you to visit.

The incredible beach is not all that Roseisle has to offer offer – it also boasts a woodland area that is equally picturesque, and just as relaxing when trying to escape.

The sweet smelling pine trees add to the relaxing atmosphere – making all of your senses completely at peace.

The fantastic woodland at Roseisle is the perfect escape from reality

There really is something for every member of the family in the area – a beach, woods and even a play park.  Every part of the area is just as beautiful during cold days as it is during the summer.

There is also a lot of military history to the beach – with the remnants of anti-tank blocks and pillboxes still standing on the shore.   Therefore, regardless if you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere or an adventure full of hiking ad history, you can find it here.

Our whole family loves Roseisle beach so much that it is where we spend our Boxing Day every year. We usually set up in the afternoon and have drinks and barbecues all day, with a big roaring fire to keep us all warm.  We have even had years where we stayed on the beach having a grand time until one in the morning!

One year there were couples setting off lanterns, making the landscape look like something out of a painting and making our evening even more special.

The area offers lots of public amenities which helps it stand out from other beaches and hiking trails in the area – including public toilets and a vast amount of parking, costing only £2 for the whole day.

This idyllic location, where you can relax and unwind, is only just over 10 minutes away from Carden Cottages by car.

Spirit of Speyside returns for 20th anniversary

The largest whisky festival of its kind in the world, Spirit of Speyside, is set to return for another successful run next week.

Spirit of speyside scottish whisky
Scotland is home to some amazing whisky distilleries – the Spirit of Speyside festival offers an opportunity like no other to check them out | Credit: Wikimedia

Starting on Wednesday the 1st of May and ending on Monday 6th May, the festival boasts a programme of over 500 whisky-inspired events.

The whisky festival allows you to tour old and new distilleries, village halls, local whisky bars, historic castles, old steadings, much loved local shops as well as the great outdoors!  What better way to explore the Speyside area than with a nip or two of some of Scotland’s most popular whiskies?

There are events all over the Moray area to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival, from Aviemore in the South, following the river Spey to central Speyside and the historic towns in the coastal North.

Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown Speyside Spirit of Speyside
Speyside boasts excellent distilleries, including the brilliant Glenfiddich distillery | Credit: Wikimedia

Scotland has a long history with uisge beatha (the water of life), with the fiery drink, with the first recorded account of whisky going back to Friar John Cor in around 1495.  However, most believe that the manufacturing of whisky in Scotland stems back much further than that.

Spirit of Speyside is run by a board of directors from different industries including whisky, culture and heritage, tourism and hospitality.  They work on a voluntary basis along with the festival manager, finance manager and event development graduate.

There are a number of distilleries that open their doors for the festival, with the events programme changing every year.  This year distilleries hosting events include Craigellachie, Ballindalloch, Glenlivet and GlenAllachie, to name just a few.

The festival also delivers an opening dinner, opening and closing ceilidhs, the Whisky Awards and the Whisky School.  However, the majority of events are delivered by partners and members, making every event unique.

Spirit of Speyside Glen Moray whisky
Glen Moray landed lots of prizes at the 2018 Whisky Awards | Credit: Shirokazan

You can book tickets now for the many events by visiting the Spirit of Speyside website.  Events include distillery tours, whisky tastings, walks, afternoon teas and much more.  The prices for these events range from free, to £30 – £60, to £500.  There are activities to suit every budget.

Although the festival is spectacular, visitors can expect a friendly welcome at Speyside all year round.

Make Moray your destination for your next whisky tasting experience by booking your stay at Carden Cottages now.  You can also subscribe to our mailing list for updates on last minute bargains.

Take some Time Out at one of Forres’ best cafes

One of my favourite spots for a spot of coffee and some cake in Forres is Time Out Café.

Outside Time Out Cafe Forres High Street
Time Out Cafe is located in the centre of Forres | Credit: Maria W

My most recent visit to the café, which is conveniently located on the High Street, was for business rather than pleasure – but that didn’t stop me thoroughly enjoying my time there.

Time Out is a great place to visit when you want to get some work done, but in a relaxed and informal setting.  The combination of tables and booths creates a laid back atmosphere to the café, which can really help when you’re having a mental block.

Hard work can build up quite the appetite, which is probably part of the reason my bacon roll went down so quickly, but this was also largely due to the fact that it was so delicious.  The bacon was juicy yet crisp, cooked exactly how I like it.

 I washed my food down with a mug of delicious white coffee, the perfect drink to compliment a bacon roll and to keep my brain functioning properly while doing work.

The café also offers fresh home bakes, including mouth-watering Danishes which are always my go-to at Time Out when I am there for a light snack.

Time Out Café have Delicious Home Bakes | Credit: Time Out Café

Time Out also offer a full lunch menu including everything from soups, sandwiches and toasties to burgers and macaroni cheese.

Aside from the great food, one of the main reasons I enjoy my trips to Time Out is the great customer service from the lovely workers.  They are always there to lend a helping hand, even when the café is packed full – which it often is as it is a very popular spot.

To top it all off, the prices are more than reasonable, but make sure you bring your cash with you as they do not accept card!

The café is only a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages and I would definitely recommend giving it a visit if you find yourself visiting any of the sites in Forres, such as Sueno’s Stone.