The route from Huntly to Turriff is 23.5 miles long with climbing of 1,608 feet. This is a difficult track, extremely lumpy with some very steep climbs. It has been given a rating of 7 but will feel harder, though hopefully you will benefit from a kind prevailing wind. It is also particularly beautiful, roughly following the path of the Deveron as it meanders downstream, through ubiquitous farm and woodland.
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 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.
Starting in the centre of Huntly, you head north out of the town, crossing the Deveron after 0.5 miles with the castle on your right. It’s a lumpy start, and you reach the high point of the route (502 feet) after only 2.7 miles. You then have a 4.4 mile descent before a very difficult but short climb at mile 7.1. The next few miles are constantly up and down and you won’t get much time for a breather. Most of this route is through farmland and you will have to take care on the uneven, gravely surfaces. You hit a steep descent at mile 15.1 and then the hardest section of road is upon you – a difficult ascent at 16.7 miles, followed by numerous peaks and troughs, and finally the steepest uphill of the route at mile 18.3 (mercifully, it only lasts for 0.7 miles). It is then mostly downhill, entering Turriff from the southwest and finishing at Coo Corner on the High Street.
There is much to see and do on this route, but the best bit (in the opinion of Ride the North) is the scenery – some of the views over Aberdeenshire and the River Deveron are simply stunning. After 2 miles you cycle through the Bin Forest, and then recross the River Deveron at the pretty town of Milltown of Rothiemay (7 miles), which sits on the border between Aberdeenshire and Moray. At mile 16.5, just after Inverkeithny, you cycle up what feels likes a cliff edge, with the Deveron shimmering below you. And at mile 19 you pass the stone circle and standing stones at Drach Law .
Turriff is an ancient place, with links to the Knights Templar. Known locally as Turra, the town hosts a two-day agricultural show each August which is the largest in Scotland and has been running for 156 years. Somewhat strangely, the most famous former-resident is bovine rather than human. In 1913, sheriff officers confiscated a farmer’s cow after he (the farmer, not the cow!) refused to pay the newly introduced National Insurance. However, officers couldn’t sell the cow locally due to sympathy for the farmer, and the subsequent auction was disrupted by protesters and the cow escaped. Now an emblem of the town, a statue of the Turra Coo was erected in the town centre in 2010. There are a number of options in town for food and drink
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 Turriff can be found here