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The route from Huntly to Insch heads south and east and is 14.8 miles long. Total climbing is 840 feet and this route has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
Huntly has had settlements dating back to the Neolithic period. There is an excavated Iron-Age fort on the edge of town, as well as numerous Pictish remains and stones. The town is the historic home of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment, and the ruined castle is worth a visit. If you are looking for some pre-cycle sustenance, the shortbread maker Deans has its HQ (and a café) in the town. There is a train station in Huntly with good links south to Aberdeen and north west in to Moray and Inverness.
You will head south out of Huntly before having to cross a roundabout on the A90 after half a mile – please take care. You then join the Old Military Road (A97), which can be quite busy and fast, so again please use caution. The first 6.7 miles are quite flat (other than a wee bump at mile 1.7), and you will be cycling in an area called Strathbogie, with the River Bogie on your left. You then start heading slowly uphill, before the first “proper” climb at 10.2 miles, which is also the high point at 722 feet. After a fast descent and flat section you will hit the only other hill of note on the route at mile 12.2. You then descend in to Insch from the west, with an easy navigation through the town to your finishing point in the centre.
Since you are in Aberdeenshire, you will mainly be in farm and woodland! You pass Ardmore Distillery at mile 8.5, and whilst we cannot condone drinking and cycling, it is well worth a visit. You then hit a section steeped in Neolithic history – a hut circle (mile 10.3); the remains of a moat and the Castle of Wardhouse (mile 12.2); another stone circle (mile 12.7); and a fort and settlement on the Hill of Dunnideer (mile 13.6).
Insch is a village in the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire (pronounced “Geery”). The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic word innis, meaning island, or in this case, “firm ground in a marsh”. Bennachie and the Mither Tap dominate the landscape in this part of the world. Insch is not a big place but has some good architecture and some beautiful churches. There are a number of different café and supermarket option for food, and the town also has a railway.
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 Insch can be found here