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The route from Aberchirder to Keith is 18.2 miles in length and has climbing of 1,165 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
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 head north out of Aberchirder (or Foggie!), before turning west at mile 2.6. By this point you are already on the hardest climb of the day which runs from mile 1.5 to 4.4, which is the high point at 791 feet. The second half of this climb is very steep and a real test. You then enjoy a short descent at mile 5.8 before rolling roads for the next few miles. You cross in to Moray at the Shank of Barry at mile 7. There is a sharp wee climb at mile 13, and after the subsequent downhill the roads are rolling, other than a short lump after crossing the River Isla. You are now in Keith, and you head south for half a mile, finishing in the old centre of the town.
This route heads broadly west and is quite exposed in places, so hope for a favourable wind. It is classic Aberdeenshire and Moray, rolling roads in farm and woodland. This ride is more enjoyable for the scenery that the tourist sights. You pass Knock Hill at mile 8, a stark moorland hill that seems to stand alone and dominates the landscape. You join the River Isla at mile 14 and follow it in to the finish.
Keith is a small town in Moray. The oldest part dates back to 1180 and developed around the bridge over the River Isla to the north. The Jacobites’ fought and won a skirmish near the town in 1746. There is an annual country show, and Keith is on the Malt Whisky trail. The town boasts three distilleries – Strathmill, Glenkeith and Strathisla – as well as housing the headquarters of Chivas Regal. The remains of Milton Tower, built in 1480, neighbour the railway station which connects Moray and Inverness to the northwest and Aberdeen to the south. There are plenty of café and supermarkets option in the town.
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