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The route from Ellon to Strichen is 20.9 miles long and has total climbing of 1,430 feet. This is a fairly difficult route with consistent ups and downs and has been given a rating of 7.
Before you set out you could 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. The Buchan and Formartine Way passes just west of the town, and you will cross it twice at Old Deer and Strichen. Opened in the early 1990s, it is classed as one of Scotland’s Great Trails and runs for 53 miles along the former railway. It is well used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
You will head north out of Ellon, cycling for 1.1 miles through the town before crossing the busy A948 and heading in to the country. You will be surrounded by lovely farm and woodland on this route, but initially you will be concentrating on the pedals as you cycle uphill for the first 5.7 miles to the high point of 541 feet. The next 7.1 miles are rolling but predominantly downhill before heading up again to mile 18.4 when you will have to negotiate a sharp but mercifully short hill. You then have a rolling finish, crossing over the river at Strichen from the south and finishing in the centre of the village.
There are a number of interesting features and places on this route. One particularly pretty section is from mile 6 to 8.5 as you meander through farmland and cross a few streams, including the Den of Whiteburn. At mile 13 you pass through Stuartfield, which is still known locally as New Crichie. You then reach the lovely town of Old Deer near Mintlaw. This is a good place to take a break, and you could pop in to Aden Country Park and enjoy the Victorian arboretum, Aberdeenshire Farming Museum and a well-deserved cup of tea. The remains of the Cistercian Deer Abbey (built in 1219) is nearby, and west of the village is the Aikey Brae Stone Circle.
Strichen sits on the River Ugie 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 and the Strichen White Stag.
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 Strichen can be found here