Moray is in no short supply of fantastic walks, but one of the best must be Randolph's Leap circuit walk on the west side of Moray. The half-mile walk follows dramatic sections of the River Findhorn and River Divie, through the Darnaway Forest. Randolph's Leap is the name given to the narrowest point of entry to the gorge.
Randolph's Leap is known for it's fast-flowing water and dramatic rock formations, but it is also a very important wildlife area, home to red squirrels, woodpeckers and black-backed gulls.
The river flows north and terminates in Findhorn Bay and finally at Findhorn Beach, both areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The namesake of Randolph's Leap is a bit of a misnomer as it wasn't Randolph that jumped! During the 14th century, Thomas Randolph was Earl of Moray and famous for taking Edinburgh Castle from the English in 1314.
Sir Alexander Cumming (or Comyn) and his sons resided on the east side of the river, and historically held the title of "Ranger of the Forest of Darnaway". The Cumming family fell out of favour with Earl Randolph and his uncle King Robert the Bruce... They were ordered to stay out of Darnaway.
Alastair the eldest Cumming son raised an army of 1000 men to attack Randolph on the west side of the river, unfortunately they were ambushed and tried to escape to their side of the river, with four men leaping the gorge to the other side. So really it should be called Alastair's leap or Cumming's/Comyn's leap!
The gap is fairly large so it's probably just a story, maybe it wasn't as wide back then and gradually changed over time... or maybe they leapt into the water. The tale has endured over the centuries so there could be some truth to it.
Visiting Randolph's Leap
The best place to start your visit to Randolph's Leap is from Logie Steading Visitor Centre, which is a lovely wee place that also has a children's play area, toilets, farm shop and cafe. There is also an excellent heritage centre here with information about Randolph's Leap and the great flood of 1829.
If coming from the Forres direction, head south down the A940 until you see the brown tourist sign for the right turn to Logie Steading Visitor Centre. Continue south along the B9007 until you see the signs for the centre on the right, continue north until you arrive there. Unfortunately, there is no public transport that can drop you off near Logie Steading. Sadly the route is also not suitable for wheelchairs or bicycles.
Access to the walk is via the children's play area. Follow the blue marker by turning left, do not take the Sluie Walk. The route is fairly easy but care should be taken, especially after a lot of rainfall. There have been many sad deaths in recent years with people being swept away by the strong current.
Alternatively, you can park closer to Randolph's Leap by parking at the small layby and path just south of Bridge of Logie, this makes the walk shorter as you don't have to walk from Logie Steading.
Floods of 1829 on the River Findhorn
The summer of 1829 recorded high temperatures in Moray and on August 2nd, a huge deluge of rain fell on the Monadhlaith Mountains and continued unabated for three days. The tributaries to the river swelled it to many times its usual height and caused mass devastation throughout the valley. In some sections of the River Findhorn, a height of 50ft over its normal level was recorded and marked by flood stones at two sections of the circuit walk. Huge boulders litter the river banks give testament to the power of the water that fateful year.
A trip out to Randolph's Leap and Logie Steading makes for a nice day out, it has everything from a little history, beautiful scenery, fast-flowing water and the excellent facilities at Logie Steading both for adults and kids.