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The route from Inverurie to Insch heads west and north and is 18.8 miles long. You will climb a total of 1,542 feet and this route has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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.
This route (in the opinion of Ride the North!) is one of the most enjoyable in Aberdeenshire. You will leave Inverurie on the south side and will follow the River Ury for the first 3.5 miles. The first 11.1 miles are basically rolling with a few minor hills thrown in, but if you have a head wind this section won’t be easy. You then hit the hardest part of the route, with a short sharp climb at 11.1 miles followed by a longer hill lasting 1.6 miles, taking you to the high point of 843 feet at mile 14.8. You then get to enjoy a nice descent and rolling roads before arriving in Insch from the south and finishing in the town centre.
This is one of those cycles where you might be content to just look at the scenery, though there are plenty of other sights to see. At mile 5 you pass near Kemnay in the parish of the Chapel of Garioch. Fetternear Bishops Palace is close, a ruined archaeological site that was one the medieval residences of the bishops of Aberdeen. You join the River Don at mile 7.5 and then cycle through Paradise Wood and the Lord’s Throat – this road may be quite gravely but it is stunning, surrounded by hilly woodland and the Don meandering at your side. You start heading north at mile 12.4 with Bennachie on your right, which actually consists of 11 different hills and forests and offers superb panoramic views across the whole of Aberdeenshire. At mile 15.8, just before reaching Auchleven, you pass near Lickleyhead Castle, a good example of an l-plan castle dating to around 1600.
Insch is a village in the Garioch area – the name comes from the Scottish Gaelic word innis, meaning island, or in this case, “firm ground in a marsh”. 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 nearby, including stone circles, moats and a fort and settlement. The town has a railway station and a range of cafes and supermarkets.
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 Insch can be found here