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The route from Inverurie to Westhill is 11.7 miles in length and has climbing of 804 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 4.
Inverurie is the largest town in Aberdeenshire with a population of around 14,000, and is known as the Centre of the Garioch (pronounced “Geery”). 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 with good links south to Aberdeen and northwest to Moray and Inverness.
Starting in the centre of Inverurie, you head south, crossing the River Ury at mile 0.7. This is not the most picturesque of routes (sorry) and the road options are quite limited. You join a new cycle path alongside the A96 at mile 1.6 and follow it south, skirting Kintore to the east. You then briefly join the River Don before leaving the cycle path at mile 5. The whole ride up to this point has been rolling flat, and you now hit the first hill of the day which lasts for 1.9 miles. You cross a bridge over the A96 west of Blackburn and then descend before the next climb, which is really two hills in one and lasts 2.8 miles. It peaks at the high point of 548 feet at mile 10.9. You are now on the northern edge of Westhill and you descend to the finishing point in the centre of town.
The area is littered with Neolithic and Pictish remains. Somewhat incongruously, there is a stretch of land beside the A96 (miles 1 to 3) which has the remains of standing stones, a stone circle, a henge and a motte and bailey. You pass more standing stones at mile 6.4 and another example at Achinleach at mile 10.
Westhill is a fairly new town, having been “founded” in 1963. It has grown considerably since then and has a population of around 13,000. Before Covid, the population would swell considerably during the day due to the number of oil and gas and sub-sea companies that call Westhill home. The town actually falls within the City of Aberdeen – a decision to move the town beyond the city boundaries in the 1980s was loudly (and successfully) campaigned against by the residents. Just east of Westhill is the new Aberdeen Football Club training facilities, and a new stadium for the club is also earmarked for this site. There are plenty of café and supermarket options if you need an energy boost.
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