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The route from Aberdeen to Ellon heads due north out of the city. It is 15.4 miles long with 814 feet of ascending. This cycle is not particularly difficult, but there are some nasty lumps and so has a difficulty rating of 5. Based entirely in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the end of the route is situated in the historic Formartine area.
You will start at the University of Aberdeen. This area is the most ancient part of the city, and it is worth taking some time to look at King’s College Chapel (completed in 1510) and the Cathedral Church of St Machars (which has been a place of worship since 580, with the current cathedral built between 1380 and 1520). If you are looking for something more contemporary, then visit the university library which was opened in 2012 and won prestigious British and Scottish architecture awards.
After cycling through Seaton Park you will reach the historic Brig ‘o Balgownie which was completed in 1320. Now only open to pedestrians (and cyclists!) it has been used for everything from commerce to moving armies, before a new bridge over the River Don was completed in 1830. You will then join a cycle path on the main A92 road (care should be taken here, especially at roundabouts), and will gradually ascend for three miles.
At mile 3 you move off the main road and proceed into well populated agricultural countryside. The north east is renowned for its stone-circles and standing stones, and you will pass close to the remains of a stone circle at mile 3.6 (Munderno) and again at mile 11.3 (Hill of Fiddes). Continuing north, you pass through the village of Potterton, and you could stop at the Stead Inn if you are in need of refreshments. There follows a climb to the high point of 331 feet at mile 8, passing Belhelvie, the Rocks of Balmedie and Balmedie Quarry, which provided huge amounts of granite that were used in the streets of Aberdeen.
You remain in a rolling, farming landscape and will need to negotiate a short, sharp climb before descending in to the centre of Ellon and the end of the route. The town sits on the River Ythan and you can visit the ruins of Ellon Castle as well as the Auld Brig which dates back to 1793. Ellon is also home to the headquarters of Brewdog, which started from a garage in 2007 and has now become a global business with turnover in the hundreds of millions. You can tour the brewery, and enjoy a beer at the tap-room on site.
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 Ellon can be found here.