The route from Banchory North to Aberdeen is 20.5 miles in length and has 922 feet of climbing. Whilst there are no large hills, the route has more than a few lumps and bumps, and so gets a difficulty rating of 6.
Banchory is a pretty town known as the Gateway to Royal Deeside and sits on the River Dee where it meets the River Feugh. The town was founded in the 6th century by St Ternan, a Pict who converted to Christianity. Surrounded by agricultural land and forest, these still provide the main employment in the town, along with tourism. Banchory is home to Scotland’s first rum distillery, Dark Matters, and if you are acting the tourist 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 will head east out of Banchory on the main A93, before turning left and going straight uphill! This is the toughest climb (and the highest point) of the route but only lasts for 1.1 miles. You are now in farm and woodland, and whilst these roads might be lovely and quiet, they are likely to be gravely, so take care. With the prevailing wind behind, you will make good progress on this undulating road, before passing close to Drum Castle at mile 9. This National Trust site is well worth a detour, especially if you feel the need for cake and coffee.
After crossing the A93 at 10.3 miles, you will head into beautiful woodland before a nasty but mercifully short hill at Cairnton. You then pass close to the old Roman camp at Normandykes before joining the old Aberdeen to Ballater railway line at Kennerty Farm (mile 13.1). You are now at the westerly edge of Aberdeen, and the remaining 7.4 miles will all be on the railway line. This will not be a fast section though, as you will share the route with pedestrians, commuting cyclists and dog-walkers – it’s a lovely way to travel in to the Aberdeen as you feel detached from city life. You will pass through the affluent areas of Milltimber, Bieldside and Cults and its worth looking (enviously!) at some of the gorgeous houses surrounding the route.
You finish the cycle in the Duthie Park, which is only 1.5 miles from the centre of Aberdeen. The park is very bonnie, so treat yourself to an ice-cream and then visit the renowned Winter Gardens (and the cactus house!)
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 a 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 Aberdeen can be found here