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The route from Banff to Strichen is 21.4 miles in length and has total climbing of 1,913 feet. The first two thirds of the cycle follows the topography of the north Aberdeenshire coast and there are some particularly challenging climbs, so this route has a difficulty rating of 7.
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 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! 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). The entire area has evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements.
You will start at the magnificent seven arch bridge over the Deveron in Banff which was built in 1779. You will then cycle through Macduff before hitting farmland at mile 2. But it is a difficult start – you will be going uphill for 7.9 miles, reaching 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. You then have another descent before heading uphill again through the village of New Aberdour, now heading south and east away from the coast. The final section is relatively easy but there are still lumps as you cycle through the lovely agricultural setting. You pass the Allans Hill radar station at 16.3 miles before trundling downhill for the remaining 4.1 miles to your finishing point in the middle of the village of Strichen.
Strichen sits on the River Urie and there is considerable evidence of ancient settlements nearby, including the Strichen Stone Circle and the Catto Long Barrow south of the town. The most significant building is the Town House, a superb example of early 19th century architecture. Nearby Mormond Hill is fascinating for its historical mix. The hill is littered with disused satellites and masts which are the remnants of US communications posts from the Cold War; and you can also see the Strichen White Horse (one of only 16 in the UK) as well as the White Stag, the only known example of a manmade stag hill figure in the UK. Strichen itself is quite small, so you might want to take some provisions with you.
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 Strichen can be found here