RtN153 is a challenge we are running from May to Sept – it will support the future of our event and will assist our tourism industry in difficult times. You can opt into that from 26 April when registration opens. » More Info «
The route from Banff to Cullen is 13.6 miles in length and has climbing of 896 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 4. If you look at the profile of the route then it looks tough, and it will feel tough if you have to battle a head wind.
Banff was first mentioned in royal charter in 1163 . It was considered a trading town for many centuries – despite its location, the harbour was only built in 1775. Banff has a beautifully preserved townscape with many historic buildings, including a museum that was gifted by Andrew Carnegie. The estuary of the River Deveron is crossed via a magnificent seven arch bridge built in 1779. There are some lovely beach and cliff walks to both the east and west. You might also want to visit the Macduff Distillery on the east side of the Deveron
You leave Banff from the seawall overlooking the bay and head due west along the coast before moving slightly inland at Inverboyndie. The first climb starts here and lasts for 2.5 miles – the very start of the climb is particularly steep. You then have a fast descent at mile 4 before another short, sharp climb and a descent at mile 6. The road rolls along before the next challenge at mile 7.9, a climb that lasts for 2.6 miles and peaks at the high point of 269 feet. There is another steep descent followed by a flat section. The final climb of the day arrives at mile 12.5 and you are now in Moray. You head into Cullen from the north, finishing in the town centre.
This is most definitely an Aberdeenshire route with rolling hills in an agricultural setting, but the coast dominates this cycle – it is a rugged setting and some of the views are spectacular. You will pass the remains of St Brendan’s Church just outside Banff, and the remains of Boyne Castle after 5 miles. At mile 6 you descent into the village of Portsoy, a pretty place with a natural harbour and fantastic coastal topography, and made famous by its two major exports, ice-cream and jewellery. At mile 9.3 you pass through Fordyce 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. 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. There 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