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The route from Insch to Inverurie heads south and east and is 18.8 miles long. You will climb a total of 1,335 feet and this route has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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 fine architecture and some beautiful churches. There are also numerous examples of Neolithic and Pictish remains near Insch, including stone circles, moats and a fort and settlement. The town has a railway with good connections south to Aberdeen and northwest to Moray and Inverness.
This route (in the opinion of Ride the North) is one of the most enjoyable in Aberdeenshire. You will head south out of Insch, climbing for the first 1.6 miles before a flatter section. You then hit the toughest hill from mile 3 – 4, which peaks at the high point of 853 feet. You now have Bennachie on your left, which actually consists of 11 different hills and forests and offers superb panoramic views across the whole of Aberdeenshire. The next 3.4 miles are downhill (with a small rise in the middle), and from mile 7.4 to the finish the roads are rolling flat – if the prevailing wind is blowing then you’ll get some pace up! You then enter Inverurie on the south side, completing the cycle at Inverurie Bridge, which dates to 1920.
This is a route on which you might be happy to simply enjoy the countryside, which is exceptionally pretty. At mile 2.6 you pass Auchleven and near Lickleyhead Castle, a good example of an l-plan castle dating to around 1600. You then skirt the west side of Bennachie and start heading east at mile 6.2. The next section of road is called the Lord’s Throat, and you also go through Paradise Wood. This road may be quite gravely but it is stunning, surrounded by hilly woodland with the River Don at your side. You leave the Don after 11.5 miles, continuing through farm and woodland and passing near Kemnay. You are now in the parish of the Chapel of Garioch and in touching distance of Fetternear Bishop’s Palace, a ruined archaeological site that was one the medieval residences of the bishops of Aberdeen.
Inverurie is the largest town in Aberdeenshire with a population of around 14,000. The town was founded in 1308, though its first mention in royal charters isn’t until 1558. If outdoor history is your thing, then the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle dating back to the 3rd century BC is worth a visit, as is the Pictish stone symbol known as the Brandsbutt Stone. The largest livestock market in Scotland can be found just south of the town at Thainstone, and there is a train station. Inverurie offers a range of restaurants, cafes and supermarkets 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 Inverurie can be found here