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The route from Aberdeen to Banchory on the north side of the River Dee is 20.5 miles in length and has 1,089 feet of climbing. Whilst there are no large hills, the route is consistently uphill and has more than a few lumps and bumps, and so gets a difficulty rating of 6.
Starting from the Duthie Park in central Aberdeen, you immediately join the old Deeside Railway line, which originally ran all the way to Ballater. You will stay on the railway line for 7.4 miles, but this will not be a fast section of cycling as you will share the space with pedestrians, commuting cyclists and dog waters. This is a lovely way to travel west from Aberdeen because you feel detached from city life despite it being all around you. You will pass through the Cults / Bieldside / Milltimber areas of Aberdeen, which have some of the most desirable addresses in the city.
With the River Dee a constant feature on your left, you will leave the old railway line at Peterculter at 7.4 miles. Now on quiet roads going through agricultural areas and woodland, you will pass close to the site of the old Roman camp at Normandykes. This is where the route start to get lumpier with short but sharp climbs at 8 miles (Kennerty Farm) and 9.8 miles (mains of Drum). The countryside here is lovely, and after crossing the main A93 road you will pass close to Drum Castle, a National Trust site with over 700 hundred years of history. This is a good place for a wee detour if you feel the need for some cake and coffee! And if you are in no rush, then a visit to both the castle and the grounds is recommended.
Drum Castle sits at around 11 miles, and from there you will continue through farm and woodland. The roads here are quiet and undulating and you may encounter areas of gravel due to the agricultural traffic. After another short but testing climb at 16.9 miles, you start to descent towards Banchory, rejoining the main A93 road on the east side of the town. By this point you have bypassed the other National Trust property in the area, Crathes Castle, and if castles are on your mind then it too is well worth visiting, as in Milton of Crathes which has some lovely craft shops and an excellent café and restaurant. But if you don’t feel like adding extra miles to the route, then the ancient town of Banchory offers excellent hospitality. You finish in the town centre, only a stone’s throw from the River Dee.
By clicking on the ‘play’ symbol on the graphic below you can see route map. The elevation profile of the ride can be seen via the Hills tab with files for use with a GPS a device also available for download. If you take any photos of the route that you’d like to share, please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
Onward rides from Banchory can be found here