Local tips: things to do in Findhorn and the Moray area

John Trueman is a nature & wildlife photographer who lives in Forres, Moray with Archie the Cocker spaniel and Oscar the Jackhuahua. He runs moraynature.com, a wildlife and nature photography business, and enjoys photography, cycling and walking. John shares his tips for things to do in Findhorn and the Moray area including some great ice cream recommendations. 

 

 

How long have you lived in Moray?

I’ve lived in the north of Scotland since 2002. I’m from Lanarkshire originally and moved to the Highlands to enjoy the great outdoors and to be near the beaches.

I’ve been taking vacations with my family in Nairn since 1989. When I first moved up I love in Nairn as I was familiar with the town. Having worked all over the Highlands after leaving school in places like the North Coast 500 before it was called the NC500, I was eager to leave the central belt and make my home in the Highlands as I’ve always loved the Highlands of Scotland.

Favourite beach

Findhorn beach and Nairn beach hold a special place in my heart. I have lived in Nairn and spent lots of time in Findhorn raising my children and making sure the beach and coast was an integral part of their life. This is also where I photograph and capture the Northern Lights.

Best walk in Moray

Hopeman beach with beach huts, Elgin

Findhorn to Hopeman (Moray Coastal Trail)

Starting off in Findhorn the coastal path to Roseisle is quiet and peaceful. It can be taken at a leisurely pace stopping off in Roseisle to check out the World War 2 coastal defence pillboxes and then for a food break at the picnic benches. Carry on along the forest exploring the old fisherman’s bothy and then off to Burghead to spend time at the harbour watching the seals. After a half-hour walk to Hopeman you can reward yourself with an ice cream at Stew n Drews.

Most special time of year in Moray

 

My favourite time of year is winter as this brings the dark nights and the Milky way galaxy becomes visible. It’s great for photography and stargazing enthusiasts and when the conditions are right the Northern Lights can be seen from most locations along the Moray coast.

The one thing every tourist should do in Moray

Macallan Distillery is one of the best tourist attractions in Moray and definitely has to be on the list of must see places in Moray.

 

Your best wildlife encounter

Crested Tit

Findhorn Bay offers wildlife and nature enthusiasts a chance to see over 10.000 geese leave and depart the bay. This is a wonder of nature and also a treat for the eyes and ears.

Favourite road or drive

Forres – Grantown – Elgin is a great route to drive with plenty of locations to stop off and explore. Rest breaks can be taken at many of the small villages which offer homebakes and refreshments.

 

Most loved view

Califer Viewpoint is offers a great chance to see all the way across the Moray Firth. With panoramic views to the north, east and west on a clear day, the site is popular with locals and visitors also a great location for spotting the Northern Lights.

 

Favourite place to eat and drink in Moray

The Mosset Tavern in Forres is my favourite place to eat. My favourite main course is the cajun cream chicken. This hearty meal is full of flavour and comes with corn on the cob, fries and I wash it down with an ice cold pint of cola.

I am always made to feel welcome and the staff do whatever they can to make sure you have the best experience possible. This is a must visit restaurant on The Moray Coast.

Have you any tips for exploring the rest of the Highlands and Islands?

The North Coast 500 is special to me. I have driven on it for work and for pleasure. You can definitely get lost on here and that is not a bad thing.

 

When I go on the route I always start on the eastern side heading up the A9 stopping in Helmsdale, Brora which is usually a great excuse to buy an ice cream.

 

Wick, Thurso is full of history and it’s worth visiting Thurso bay and Thurso beach. After you’ve finished exploring, Robin’s fish and chip bar has plenty on the menu to satisfy any hunger.

 

RSPB Dunnet Head has one of the most spectacular seabird colonies. You can get close to and watch thousands of birds diving off the cliffs and into the water below at great speed.

 

Further west is my favourite beach in the whole world at Talmine bay in Melness. This beach is secluded and extremely remote. Perfect for some peace and quiet and the water is crystal clear.

 

As you drive further down the NC500 you will visit ancient towns and villages on the route but I always look forward to visiting the Bealach na Ba in Wester Ross. This a winding single track road with a viewpoint at the top situated at a height of 626 meters with some of the best views of the west coast of Scotland.

Holiday Scottish Highlands & Islands says…

We always love to hear ice cream recommendations. Moray isn’t an area we know very well but John’s suggestions make us want to explore it more. Thanks.

Find out more about Moray Nature

To see more of John’s stunning Scottish Highlands nature and wildlife photography, visit  moraynature.com where you can also buy prints.

Photos © Moray Nature

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