Tales of the Old Mannoch Road

 The Old Mannoch (or Monks Road) road in Moray is an ancient pilgrimage route that winds for 12 bleak miles from Knockando northwards past Green Hill and over Pikey Hill to Birnie and Elgin. Pilgrims from the south would be rowed over the River Spey by ferrymen employed by the monks from Elgin Cathedral who owned the ferry. From Knockando they were able to easily access the Holy sites of Pluscarden Priory, and Kinloss Abbey or Birnie Kirk and Elgin Cathedral ‘The Lantern of the North.’ Over the centuries the road has been used by drovers, travellers, bands of highland caterans and whisky smugglers. To emphasise the importance of this religious route even in pre Christian times, where the Mannoch Road meets the Cottage road behind Knockando Kirk we find Knock an Rioch – the hill of the Druids. It is truly a remarkable old walking route though seldom used today the area has many strange stories about it.