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The route from Strichen to Ellon is 20.9 miles long and has total climbing of 1,335 feet. This is a fairly difficult route with consistent ups and downs and has been given a rating of 7.
Strichen sits on the River Ugie 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. The Buchan and Formartine Way is a companion on this route – you cross it at Strichen and Old Deer, and it passes just west of Ellon. Opened in the early 1990s, it is classed as one of Scotland’s Great Trails and runs for 53 miles along the former railway. It is well used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
You will head south from Strichen and straight in to a difficult 3.2 miles with a couple of steepish hills. You then roll mainly downhill until mile 7.8 before encountering a short hill and then more rolling roads. The toughest section is between miles 12.6 and 15.3, which is also the high point at 541 feet. It is then downhill all the way (with some lumps!), crossing the busy A948 on the edge of Ellon before the final 1.1 miles to your finish point in town on the banks of the Ythan.
There are a number of interesting features and places on this route. You pass through Old Deer near Mintlaw at mile 6.4. A visit to Aden Country Park is recommended – enjoy the Victorian arboretum, Aberdeenshire Farming Museum and a well-deserved cup of tea. The remains of the Cistercian Deer Abbey (built in 1219) is nearby, and west of the village is the Aikey Brae Stone Circle. You pass through Stuartfield at mile 8, which is still known locally as New Crichie. And you encounter a pretty section from mile 12.6 to mile 15, meandering through farmland and crossing a few streams, including the Den of Whiteburn.
Ellon is decent sized town and you will have your pick of cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. If you have time you could visit the ruins of Ellon Castle as well as the Auld Brig which spans the Rover Ythan and 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.
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