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The route from Keith to Aberchirder is 18.2 miles in length and has climbing of 1,194 feet. It has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Keith is a small town in Moray. The oldest part dates back to 1180 and developed around the bridge over the River Isla to the north. The Jacobites’ fought and won a skirmish near the town in 1746. There is an annual country show, and Keith is on the Malt Whisky trail. The town boasts three distilleries – Strathmill, Glenkeith and Strathisla – as well as housing the headquarters of Chivas Regal. The remains of Milton Tower, built in 1480, neighbour the railway station which connects Moray and Inverness to the northwest and Aberdeen to the south.
You head north out of Keith from the old town, crossing the River Isla after 1 mile before heading east. The road is flat to mile 3.7 and there is then a nasty wee climb that luckily only lasts 0.9 miles. The next stretch is rolling with an upwards trend and you cross from Moray into Aberdeenshire at the Shank of Barry at mile 11, You then hit the hardest hill of the day at mile 11.3. The first section is the toughest, and there is a double summit, the second of which is the high point iof 791 feet at mile 13.8. You then have a steep descent before a short hill at mile 16.8, arriving in Aberchirder from the north and finishing in the village centre.
The road heads east and if you have a fair wind then this stage will be fast. It is classic Moray and Aberdeenshire – rolling roads, a few chunkier hills, all in lovely farm and woodland. This is a cycle for the scenery more than the sights. You cycle along the River Isla for the first 4 miles, and you pass Knock Hill at mile 9, a stark moorland hill that seems to stand alone and dominates the landscape.
Aberchirder is a small village that was founded in 1764. It was a planned community and is built in a grid pattern, with houses having large, long gardens that were initially to allow residents to supplement their food supply. The village is known as Foggieloan or simply Foggie by the residents. It is thought there was a small farm town called Foggieloan to the north of the existing site, and when the Laird of Auchintoul built the village the residents refused to call it Aberchirder. This tradition has been maintained for over 250 years. It is a small place so you might 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