The route from Banff to Aberchirder is 11.6 miles long and entirely in Aberdeenshire, with total climbing of 1,033 feet and a maximum elevation of 577 feet. It is a relatively easy cycle on rolling roads, but since Banff is on the coast there is more climbing than the reverse route, so has been given a difficulty of 5.
Banff is an ancient town and was first mentioned in a royal charter in 1163 . It was considered a trading town for many centuries – despite its location, the harbour was only built in 1775. The estuary of the River Deveron is in the town and can be crossed via a magnificent seven arched bridge dating to 1779. The river separates Banff from neighbouring Macduff. Whilst the two towns are barely distinguishable to the average tourist, there is a fierce (but mainly friendly) rivalry between the two. Banff has a beautifully preserved townscape with many historic buildings, including a museum that was gifted by Andrew Carnegie. There are some lovely beach and cliff walks to both the east and west.
The namesake town in Canada was founded by a Scot who emigrated there in the 1880s, though why he moved from a coastal town in Scotland to one that is landlocked and sits at 5,000 feet is anyone’s guess!
Starting from Banff town centre, you will head south and start ascending immediately – in fact, you will slowly (but surely) be going uphill for the next 8.6 miles. None of it is particularly tough, but it’s enough to get some warmth in the legs. There are no notable attractions on the route, but the cycling is wonderfully tranquil, on underused roads through pretty farmland. There is a fair amount of agricultural traffic so some sections of road may be less than perfect.
The final 3 miles are mainly flat or slightly downhill, before coming in to Aberchirder from the north-west. 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. Due to the size of the village, you might want to take some provisions for the end of your cycle.
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
Onward rides from Aberchirder can be found here