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The route from Peterhead to Ellon is 18.9 miles long and has total climbing of 1,060 feet. Like most of Aberdeenshire, the roads are constantly rolling and so this route has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Peterhead is the most eastern point of mainland Scotland and is known as the Blue Toon. It was officially founded in 1593 and was immediately recognised for its natural harbour. The town has a dark history in relation to whaling, but from the early 19th century herring became the major catch. With the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1970s, Peterhead became a major services centre, but fishing is still the predominant industry – it is the largest port for fish landing in the UK, and the largest white-fish port in Europe. There is some wonderful architecture in Peterhead, mainly fanning out from the harbour. The grade A listed Buchan Ness lighthouse sits just south of the town, and the notorious Peterhead Prison has been converted into a museum. Slains Castle (supposedly the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula) is nearby, and to the north of the town is the RSPB reserve of Loch of Strathbeg.
You head south from the start point in Peterhead, and will have to negotiate a short section of the A90 after 0.7 miles before turning left onto quiet roads. You are basically heading slowly but surely uphill for the first 13.4 miles (with numerous lumps and bumps), where you reach the high point of 479 feet. This whole cycle is quite exposed so it will be difficult if there is a head wind. There are not any specific tourist attractions on route, but it will be a pleasant cycle in farm and woodland. At mile 10 you will join the A952 road, cycling for 1.1 miles before turning off. The road is busy and fast, so please take care. Once you reach the high point, there is 5.5 miles of downhill that will take you in to Ellon from the north. You will cycle through the town before finishing on the banks of the River Ythan.
If you have the chance, you should visit the ruins of Ellon Castle as well as the Auld Brig which dates back to 1793. Ellon is also home to the headquarters of Brewdog, which started from a garage in 2007 and has now become a global business with turnover in the hundreds of millions. You can tour the brewery, and enjoy a beer at the tap-room on site. There are plenty of café, restaurant and supermarket options as well.
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 Ellon can be found here