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The route from Banff to Fraserburgh is 22.8 miles in length and has climbs totalling 1,883 feet. Most of the cycling is slightly inland from the north Aberdeenshire coast, but the route follows the coastal topography and is therefore extremely lumpy. There are some particularly challenging climbs and so this has a difficulty rating of 7. If the wind is blowing from the wrong direction, it will feel tougher!
Banff is an ancient place and 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. The estuary of the River Deveron is in the town, and it separates Banff from neighbouring Macduff. 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.
There is so much to say about this route! If the sun is shining and the wind benign, then this will be a simply stunning cycle. The coastline is dramatic, with cliffs and beaches and rock formations. You will pass close to Gardenstown, a fishing village founded in 1720 where you can see the ruins of the ancient church of St John as well as the remains of the Castle of Findon. Further east you will cycle through Pennan, another fishing village founded in the 18th century (and also a mecca for film buffs who come to see the red telephone box used in the film Local Hero). This entire area has evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements.
Heading east from the seafront at Banff, you will cross the magnificent seven arch bridge over the Deveron, built in 1779. You will then cycle through Macduff before hitting the countryside and farmland at mile 2.5 miles. But it is a difficult start – you will basically be going uphill for 8.6 miles when you reach the high point of 591 feet. You will get some respite with a 2.5 mile descent, but will then be faced by the hardest climb of the day at Pennan, going up 499 feet in just 1.8 miles. This is not for the fainthearted, but hopefully the views will make it worthwhile.
The route then gets easier, mainly downhill and rolling all the way to Fraserburgh. You will pass Aberdour Bay at 15 miles with its amazing coastline and cliffs, and at 17.4 miles you will pass close to Gallows Hill and the Hanging Stone – no explanation required! You will hit the coast at 21.1 miles, just west of Fraserburgh, the final leg of the journey taking you straight through the town to finish at the harbour.
Known locally as The Broch (an Iron Age, drystone structure and the old Scots word for fort), Fraserburgh is a major fishing port specialising in shellfish, white fish and pelagic. The town was founded in the early 16th century by the Fraser family, and the first harbour was built in 1590. If you have time, you could visit Kinnaird Head Lighthouse or the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. The town is also famous for its array of impressive 19th century churches. There are plenty of options for food and drink.
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 email@example.com
Onward rides from Fraserburgh can be found here