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The route from Huntly to Rhynie heads due south via a meandering route and is 13.9 miles long. There is climbing of 827 feet and this 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 northwest to Moray and Inverness.
You will head south out of Huntly before crossing 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. You are slowly rising for the first 4.9 miles but it is not particularly difficult. You are now in the area known as Strathbogie, and you leave the A97 at mile 3, crossing to the east side of the River Bogie. The roads are rolling until mile 9.4 and you then tackle a climb that takes you to the high point of 827 feet after 11.8 miles, Before this, you briefly re-join the A97 for 0.7 miles before leaving it at Gartly. You will cycle through Kennethmont at mile 9 which is very close to the Ardmore Distillery – this is worth a visit, and you might see your way to buying a dram to enjoy at the end of the day. You then head 2 miles south on rolling roads, before turning west for the final run in to Rhynie, finishing at the village square.
Rhynie is the spiritual home of Ride the North, having featured in every event since 2011. The village is most widely known for Rhynie Man, one of eight Pictish stones that were discovered in 1978. Rhynie Man is a 6 foot boulder carved with a bearded man carrying an axe, and might be a depiction of the Celtic god Esus. It is now on display at Woodhill House, the HQ of Aberdeenshire Council. A further archaeological dig started in 2011 near the site where Rhynie Man was found, uncovering substantial fortified settlements dating to the early medieval period.
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 Rhynie can be found here