The route from Turriff to Strichen is 17 miles long and has total climbing of 1,142 feet. The route is lumpy and has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Turriff is an ancient town, with links to the Knights Templar. Known locally as Turra, the town hosts a two-day agricultural show each August which is the largest in Scotland and has been running for 156 years. Somewhat strangely, the most famous former-resident is bovine rather than human. In 1913, sheriff officers confiscated a farmer’s cow after he (the farmer, not the cow!) refused to pay the newly introduced National Insurance. However, officers couldn’t sell the cow locally due to sympathy for the farmer, and the subsequent auction was disrupted by protesters and the cow escaped. Now an emblem of the town, a statue of the Turra Coo was erected in the town centre in 2010. There are plenty of café, restaurant and supermarket options for food and drink.
You head east out of Turriff from the High Street, reaching the edge of town after 1 mile. The route is fairly flat to mile 5.1, though there is a small hill at 1.8 miles. You then negotiate a short uphill section followed by a steep descent. You then hit the hardest section of the route, heading consistently uphill from mile 7.4 to the high point of 627 feet after 10.3 miles. The remainder of the route is largely downhill, but this is Aberdeenshire so obviously there are four more short hills to keep your legs warm! You briefly join the A950 at mile 13.4 so please take care. You descend into Strichen from the west, crossing the River Ugie and finishing in the town centre.
This is a typical Aberdeenshire route through farm and woodland, and there aren’t many tourist sites to enjoy. At mile 2.2 you pass close to Delgatie Castle, which has been occupied since 1030 though the earliest parts of the current castle date to 1570. The castle was stripped from the disgraced Earl of Buchan after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. You will then pass through Cuminestown at mile 5.5 which was designed by Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk in 1750 for his friend (and landowner) Joseph Cumine. And at mile 16.4 you join the Formartine and Buchan Way – 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 not a big place, so you might want to pack 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