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The route from Alford to Inverurie heads broadly east for 17.8 miles and has 1,086 feet of climbing. The route is very lumpy and has been given a rating of 6 – you will be hoping for a west wind to give you a push!
Alford is a large village 23 miles west of Aberdeen. The name comes from the Scots auld fort, and it is the “home” of the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, which is celebrated by a life-size model of a bull on the edge of town. For a small place, there is a great deal to do here – the Alford Valley Railway; Grampian Transport Museum; and the Alford Heritage Centre. The wonderful Craigivar Castle is 6 miles south, with the pink harled castle allegedly being the inspiration for Walt Disney’s motif.
You head north out of Alford, crossing the river Don after mile 1. The road is rolling initially, but you have to tackle the hardest climb of the route at mile 3.5, taking you to the high point of 668 feet after 5.3 miles. You then have a sharp descent and the remainder of the route is rolling, with more noticeable lumps at miles 7.2, 9.0 and 12.2. You follow the River Ury for the final stretch, crossing the busy A96 at 16.8 miles (please take care). You enter Inverurie from the west before heading north and finishing in the town centre near the station.
This is one of those cycles where you might be content to just look at the scenery, though there are plenty of other sights to see. At mile 0.5 you pass Haughton Country Park, with pretty woodland and meadows set in 40 hectares. There are standing stones at Montgarrie (mile 1.2) and Castle Forbes at Keig (mile 4). You then cycle a section of road called the Lord’s Throat and pass through Paradise Wood. This section will be gravely but is simply stunning, surrounded by hilly woodland and the Don meandering at your side. And at mile 12.3 you pass Fetternear Bishops Palace in the parish of the Chapel of Garioch, a ruined archaeological site that was one the medieval residences of the bishops of Aberdeen.
Inverurie is the largest town in Aberdeenshire with a population of around 14,000, and is known as the Centre of the Garioch (pronounced “Geery”). The town was founded in 1308, though its first mention in royal charters isn’t until 1558. If outdoor history is your thing, then the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle dating back to the 3rd century BC is worth a visit, as is the Pictish stone symbol known as the Brandsbutt Stone. The largest livestock market in Scotland can be found just south of the town at Thainstone, and there is a train station with good links south to Aberdeen and northwest to Moray and Inverness. There are plenty of different option for food and drink so refuelling won’t 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 Inverurie can be found here