Rucksack Readers has long represented the gold standard for long distance walking guides. Their guides have always been bright, attractive, light, waterproof and comprehensive, containing between their covers pretty much everything you really need to tackle the walk in question: from excellent mapping to route descriptions to background features to sources of additional information. They are also large enough for the mapping and other information to be readily usable "in the field". Considerable effort is also made to ensure their guides are kept up to date, with new editions being published to reflect changes on the ground. Some may remember their older, ring-bound guides. Their newer guides, printed in the format of traditional books, show a strong family resemblance to what went before but in our view are even more usable. And they certainly sit more neatly together on the bookshelf than their predecessors!
The second edition of "Moray Coast Trail with Dava and Moray Ways" by Sandra Bardwell is an excellent guide to two (or perhaps three) contrasting and less well-known long distance walks. In her introduction the author says: "This book describes two strikingly different routes in north-east Scotland, the Dava Way (DW), an inland route from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres and the Moray Coast Trail (MCT) from Forres to Cullen. The DW crosses a relatively high plateau and makes use of an old railway trackbed, whereas the MCT never rises above 50 m and is rarely out of sight of the coast." She goes on to say that the "MCT consists of 44 miles/71 km of beach walking, coastal paths, quiet roads and old railways... The DW extends for 23 miles/38 km inland with vistas of mountain, moorland and farmland."
The book begins with an introductory section that helps those wanting to walk either or both paths to plan their expedition, setting out everything from facilities in different locations to bus routes. There are also nicely illustrated features about topics of relevance, such as beach walking and tides; geology and landscape; history and habitat and wildlife. The heart of the book comprises sections of route description and accompanying mapping at a scale large enough (1:40,000) to allow you to follow the paths in detail. This is a great guide for anyone looking to follow the route less travelled and explore an amazing part of Scotland that is all too easy to overlook.
The book also introduces the Moray Way, which combines the Dava Way with most of the Moray Coast Trail, then completes the triangle by following part of the Speyside Way back to the starting point. The complete circuit of the Moray Way is 96 miles/154 km long and to tackle it you will need both this book and Rucksack Readers' companion guide to the Speyside Way.