The route from Peterhead to Strichen heads northwest and is 15.9 miles long. The roads are consistently lumpy, but with climbing of 682 feet this has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
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.
Starting from the south side overlooking Peterhead Bay, you head northwest through residential areas, reaching the edge of town at mile 2 and then heading in to farm and woodland. The first few miles are up and down, with a short sharp hill at mile 4.2. After the subsequent descent you start heading up again on an easy gradient from mile 6 to 11. This is not difficult, but it will feel like a slog if the wind is in your face. At mile 11.5 you cycle a few hundred yards on the A952 – this is a busy, fast road so please take care. The toughest section starts at mile 12.9, with three hills spread over the next 2.9 miles, with the high point of 266 feet being reached at mile 14.2. There is then a sharp descent into Strichen, entering the town from the west and finishing in the centre.
Truthfully, there is not much to see on route. You will pass the remains of Inverugie Catle at mile 3.5, and the motte at Castle Hill at mile 3.9. You also join the Formartine and Buchan way twice (just after leaving Peterhead, and when you are coming in to Strichen). Opened in the early 1990s, it is classed as one of Scotland’s Great Trails and runs for 53 miles along a former railway.
Strichen in an interesting place and there is considerable evidence of ancient settlements nearby, including the Strichen Stone Circle and the Catto Long Barrow south of the town. The most significant building is the Town House, a superb example of early 19th century architecture. Nearby Mormond Hill is fascinating for its historical mix. The hill is littered with disused satellites and masts which are the remnants of US communications posts from the Cold War, and you can also see the Strichen White Horse and the Strichen White Stag. It is a small place, so you may want to carry extra provisions.
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 Strichen can be found here