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The route from Aboyne to Banchory is 15.9 miles long, has climbing of 942 feet and has been given a difficulty rating of 5. You would think that a ride following the River Dee downstream would be flat, but this is the north east of Scotland!
Aboyne sits in the centre of Royal Deeside. The name was first recorded in 1260 and there is evidence of the Knights Templar in the immediate vicinity, though the town wasn’t formally founded until 1671. Aboyne and its inhabitants played a role in the Jacobite uprising of 1715. Because of its location it is a very popular tourist destination for those looking to explore Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms. It is a centre for outdoor activities including mountain biking, canoeing and gliding, and a full Highland Games is held annually in August.
You head south from the village square in Aboyne, crossing the River Dee at mile 0.5 before heading east. The first 3.2 miles are on flat, rolling roads before you hit the first hill which only lasts 0.8 miles. You will then enjoy 3 miles of downhill before the hardest climb of the day at mile 7, reaching the high point of 676 feet at mile 8.3. You then have a fast descent before the road flattens out at mile 10.3. The remainder of the route is fairly easy – you cycle through Strachan after 12 miles, with the River Feugh on your right. You enter Banchory from the south, re-crossing the River Dee before finishing in the town centre.
This route is much more about scenery than tourist sites, at least until you get close to Banchory. This is classic Royal Deeside, with large wooded sections and rolling farmland. Craigmore Wood at mile 4.3 is pretty, and you join the Old Military Road at mile 6, where you also re-join the Dee. You skirt Blackhall Wood from mile 8, and then hit more open land at Strachan (mile 12) and you should get a good pace going, especially if there is a tailwind. At mile 13 you pass close to Scolty Hill and the monument in honour of General William Burnett, who fought alongside the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars. Burnett is still a well-known family in Kincardineshire. You cross the Bridge of Feugh at mile 14.8, which was built in 1790. If you are there at the right time of year you will see salmon leaping upstream and crashing waterfalls.
Banchory is a pretty town known as the Gateway to Royal Deeside. The town was founded in the 6th century by St Ternan, a Pict who converted to Christianity. Banchory is home to Scotland’s first rum distillery, Dark Matters, and if you have the time then you should visit Crathes Castle and its stunning grounds just east of the town. Whilst there, take some time to pop in to Milton of Crathes which has some lovely craft shops and a café / restaurant. There is also a good range of eateries in Banchory so refuelling will not be a problem.
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 Banchory can be found here