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The route from Dufftown to Huntly is 19.2 miles long and has climbing of 1,565 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6 – you may disagree!
Dufftown is part of the ancient parish of Mortlach, and you can visit the historic Mortlach Church on the south side of town. The remains of Balvenie Castle is open to the public – the original building was completed in the 12th century. The Dufftown Clock Tower is lovely and used to be the prison. The town is in Speyside and calls itself the Malt Whisky Capital of the World. The industry is hugely important to the area, from farming and general employment to tourism. There are also some world renowned whiskies made near Dufftown including the Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Mortlach and Dufftown itself. You should try to make a distillery tour (and perhaps a dram!) part of your day.
You head north and then east for the first mile, leaving Dufftown when you cross the bridge over the River Fiddich. The first section is slightly downhill and you hit the first climb of the day at mile 1.3, which lasts for 1.9 miles. After a descent you then cycle on rolling roads with an uphill trend and noticeable rises at miles 4.7 and 5.8. You will then negotiate the next challenge of the day at mile 7.4, which finishes at the high point of 981 feet after 8.9 miles. After a fast (though slightly lumpy) descent you hit the last significant climb of the day – it is also the steepest and lasts for 1.3 miles, peaking at mile 12.6. The road is mainly downhill from here, and you join the A96 at mile 17.7. You stay on this road for 0.9 miles so please take care. You enter Huntly from the south and finish in the town centre.
This is a beautiful cycle – there are not many tourist attractions on the route, but the scenery is great. It is classic Aberdeenshire and Moray with rolling roads in farm and woodland, but you also cycle through more remote areas surrounded by higher hills and moorland. You will cycle through a fairly barren area at mile 7 – you will be quite exposed so you might want to take some extra clothes. After passing through Haugh of Glass at mile 11 you will join the Deveron, one of north east Scotland’s great rivers, and broadly follow it all the way to Huntly.
Huntly has had settlements dating back to the Neolithic period. There is an excavated Iron-Age fort on the edge of town, as well as numerous Pictish remains and stones. The town is the historic home of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment, and the ruined castle is worth a visit. If you are looking for some sustenance, the shortbread maker Deans has its HQ (and a café) in the town, and there are various other café and supermarket options too. There is a train station in Huntly with good links south to Aberdeen and north west in to Moray and Inverness.
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