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The route from Ellon to Aberdeen heads due south. It is 15.4 miles long with 853 feet of ascending. This cycle is not particularly difficult, but there are some nasty lumps and so has a difficulty rating of 5. Based entirely in Aberdeenshire and the City of Aberdeen, the end of the route is situated at the city’s historic university.
Your start point is in the centre of Ellon. The town sits on the River Ythan and you can visit the ruins of Ellon Castle as well as the Auld Brig which dates back to 1793. Ellon is also home to the headquarters of Brewdog, which started from a garage in 2007 and has now become a global business with turnover in the hundreds of millions. You can tour the brewery, and enjoy a beer at the tap-room on site.
Heading south, you will have to negotiate a short, sharp climb out of the town, before a small descent where you encounter a rolling, farming landscape. The north east is renowned for its stone-circles and standing-stones, and you will pass close to a stone circle at mile 4.1 (Hill of Fiddes) and again at mile 11.8 (Mundurno). There is a gradual climb up to the high point 331 feet at mile 7.4, before descending past Balmedie Quarry (which provided huge amounts of granite to help in the building of Aberdeen), the Rocks of Balmedie and Belhelvie. You will then pass through the village of Potterton where you can take a break at the Stead Inn.
Whilst the route is mainly agricultural in nature, the area is well populated. After Potterton, you head gradually downhill and you will hit the outer limits of north Aberdeen at mile 12.4. Here you join the a cycle path alongside the main A92 road, and care should be taken here, especially at roundabouts. You stay on the main road for about 1.5 miles, before veering right over the Brig ‘o Balgownie which was completed in 1320. Now only open to pedestrians and cyclists, the bridge has been crossed by traders and armies over the years, before a new bridge over the River Don was opened in 1830. Just to the east is the Don estuary and nature reserve.
You then cycle through Seaton Park and finish the route at the University of Aberdeen. This is the oldest part of the city and it is worth taking some time to look at King’s College Chapel (completed in 1510) and the Cathedral Church of St Machars (which has been a place of worship since 580, with the current cathedral built between 1380 and 1520). If you are looking for something more contemporary, then visit the university library which was opened in 2012 and won prestigious British and Scottish architecture awards. You are only a mile from the city centre which provides all the fayre you would expect from a large city.
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 a 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 Aberdeen can be found here