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The route from Aberchirder to Cullen heads broadly north and west and is 16.3 miles in length. With climbing of 945 feet, this has been given a difficulty of 5.
Aberchirder is a small village that was founded in 1764. It was a planned community and is built in a grid pattern, with houses having large, long gardens that were initially to allow residents to supplement their food supply. The village is known as Foggieloan or simply Foggie by the residents. It is thought there was a small farm town called Foggieloan to the north of the existing site, and when the Laird of Auchintoul built the village the residents refused to call it Aberchirder. This tradition has been maintained for over 250 years.
You heads north out of Aberchirder from the village centre and straight into a classic north east Scotland stage of rolling roads in farm and woodland. After an easy start you climb a hill with shallow gradients from mile 1.5, reaching the high point of 636 feet after 3.7 miles. After descending you have a lumpy section for the next few miles, before another descent at mile 9.5. You’ll be enjoying views of the Moray Firth now, and the final 7 miles are mainly downhill, other than a small climb from mile 12.2 – 13.2 and a wee rise before you enter Cullen at mile 15.2. You come in to the town from the south, and finish in the town centre, a stone throw from the harbour.
This route is more about scenery than tourist sights, and it is very pretty, made more so by the coastal views. You pass Knock Hill at mile 6, a stark moorland hill that stands alone and dominates the landscape. You pass through Fordyce at mile 12, with its Baronial style castle in the centre.
Cullen is an ancient village, first mentioned in Scots history in 952 and receiving royal burgh status in 1153. The organs of the wife of Robert the Bruce are said to be buried in the Auld Kirk, which is well worth a visit. It is a fishing community which overlooks a natural harbour and a wonderful, clean beach, with brightly coloured residences. It also sits on the Moray Coast Trail, and used to be a stop on the Great North Scotland Railway – now, the spectacular 8-arch viaduct is a cycle path and walkway, and a favourite photograph for the numerous tourists who visit the town. It is the home of Cullen Skink, a haddock based soup. The are a number of café options in town, so try the authentic experience!
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 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