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The route from Banchory to Aberdeen on the south side of the River Dee is 22 miles long. It is not an easy route, with 1,447 feet of climbing to a maximum elevation of 610 feet, though there is more descending than ascending overall. With some tough hills and generally rolling roads, this route has a difficulty rating of 7. It is mainly situated in Kincardineshire rather than Aberdeenshire.
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.
You will start in Banchory town centre and immediately head south over the River Dee. You will then cross the historic Bridge of Feugh, where the river joins the Dee. If you are there at the right time of year you will get to enjoy salmon swimming upstream to spawn and dramatic waterfalls. You immediately head uphill with probably the toughest climb on the route which lasts for 3.5 miles and finishes by the standing stones at Glenhead. You briefly join the brilliantly named Slug Road (which connects Banchory and Stonehaven) at mile 4.3 before turning left onto lovely, quiet agricultural roads (take care for gravel). On your right is Durris Forest and will be able to see the Durris Transmitting mast, the highest man-made structure in Scotland at 1,056 feet. You also get fantastic views west (towards the Cairngorms) and north (towards Bennachie and Aberdeenshire) on this section of the route.
After passing through Woodland of Durris you will hit another climb at 8 miles. This false flat is deceivingly tough and lasts 2 miles, taking you to the high point of the route. The road is downhill but undulating for the next few miles, and you can get some serious pace up, especially if the west wind is blowing. You twice cross the Aberdeen ring-road at miles 14.8 and 15.6, before continuing on rolling roads to Banchory Devenick where you will get to enjoy a steep 1.7 mile descent – its great fun, but the road gets busier and is quite narrow, so take care. You then turn right and cycle for half a mile before having to negotiate two very busy roundabouts. The final stretch takes you along the River Dee and you finish to the Duthie Park, where you can enjoy an ice-cream and a visit to the renowned winter gardens (and cactus house!) The park is only 1.5 miles from Aberdeen city centre where food and drink options are aplenty.
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