Start location: Grantown-on-Spey (NJ 024 270)
End location: Forres (NJ 036 576)
Geographical area: Moray, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Cairngorms National Park
Path Type: Railway Track
Path distance: 36.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes
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The Dava Way follows the dismantled railway line from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres. It has been designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as one of Scotland's Great Trails; a Dava Way leaflet is available. The Dava Way also forms part of the Moray Way, a 153km circular route.
OS Landranger 36 (Grantown, Aviemore & Cairngorm area) & 27 (Nairn & Forres)
The Dava Way was the Highland Railway's original link from Inverness to the south, enabling railway passengers to avoid changing at Aberdeen and saving almost 3 hours travel time. It opened in 1863 and at its highest point, crossing Dava Moor, this route reached 1052ft above sea level.
Although the station at Dunphail was located in an area of low population, its platforms were very long and it is said to have had the longest platform in Britain. This is because it was an important station for the transportation of cattle to the markets of the south. It is possible that the Loan Road which lies to the east of Dunphail was one of the feeder routes to the station.
Subsequently, locomotive technology improved further and it became possible to climb the Slochd and Drumossie Muir from Inverness, so a more direct line was built. Upon that route's completion in 1898, this route became a secondary line; it closed in the 1960s.
In 1997, the old railway line began to see a new lease of life - the Dava Way Association was formed to establish a cycling and walking route. In 2005, the Dava Way was officially opened; it continues to be upgraded and maintained by the Association's volunteers - support is welcomed. In celebration of the Dava Way's first decade since opening, the Autumn/Winter 2015/16 edition of Active Outdoors carries an excellent 10 page feature which, as well as being full of historical interest, provides useful information for anyone thinking of cycling the route.