The route from Banchory to Aboyne is 15.9 miles long, has climbing of 1,129 feet and has been given a difficulty rating of 5. We could have sent you straight along the main A93, but where would be the fun in that?
Banchory is 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.
You start the cycle in the centre of Banchory, and cross the River Dee to the south after 0.6 miles. The first 5.6 miles are rolling flat, but the road is quite open so hope that there isn’t a westerly wind. You head southwest until Strachan at mile 3.5, with the River Feugh on your left, before gradually turning northwest. The hardest hill of the day starts at mile 5.7 and peaks at the high point of 676 feet after 7.6 miles. There is then a fast descent before rolling roads from mile 9.7 to the finish. However, you are following the route of the Dee as it heads upstream, which means you are going uphill! It is gradual, but the final section will feel quite tough, especially around 11.6 miles. You enter Aboyne from the south, recrossing the Dee and finishing in the town centre.
This route is much more about scenery than tourist sites, other than the area around Banchory. This is classic Royal Deeside, with large wooded sections and rolling farmland. You cross the Bridge of Feugh at mile 1, which was built in 1790. If you are there at the right time of year you will see salmon leaping upstream and crashing waterfalls. At mile 3 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 skirt Blackhall Wood at mile 7, join the Old Military Road at mile 9, and there is a lovely section through Craigmore Wood at mile 10.
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. There are a number of options for food and drink in the town, and an ice cream on the banks of the Dee is enticing
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 email@example.com
Onward rides from Aboyne can be found here