The route from Banchory to Westhill heads north and east and is 15.3 miles long. There is climbing of 909 feet and this has been given a rating of 5. However, it is very lumpy so it may feel more difficult.
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 head east from the start line in the centre of Banchory, along the main A93 before turning north after 1.7 miles. You are then straight in to a nasty wee climb lasting 1.2 miles, followed by rolling roads for the next 3.9 miles and a descent at mile 6.8. You are now in to the second half of the route, and it’s a bit tougher. There is a sharp ascent from mile 8.6 – 9.5 before a downhill and flat section takes you to the next challenge at 11.1 miles. The final 2.7 miles are consistently uphill, reaching the high point of 446 feet at 14.8 miles. You are heading east from mile 12.9, and will cycle through Kirkton of Skene before entering Westhill from the west and finishing in the town centre.
This route is typical Aberdeenshire with rolling hills in farm and woodland. You pass Woodend Burn Arts Centre at mile 2 and a hut circle at Drumfrennie after 2.9 miles. You then reach the Standing Stones of Echt at mile 10, which are a superb example of preserved stones dating to the second century BC. Also known as Cullerie, it consists of eight irregular granite stones forming a circle 33 feet in diameter, and enclosing eight small cairns. You pass through Garlogie at mile 10.7 (these are busier roads so please take care) before heading north on a lovely section of road that takes you past Garlogie Wood and the Loch of Skene.
Westhill is a fairly new town, having been “founded” in 1963. It has grown considerably since then and has a population of around 13,000. Before Covid, the population would swell considerably during the day due to the number of oil and gas and sub-sea companies that call Westhill home. The town actually falls within the City of Aberdeen – a decision to move the town beyond the city boundaries in the 1980s was loudly (and successfully) campaigned against by the residents. Just east of Westhill is the new Aberdeen Football Club training facilities, and a new stadium for the club is also earmarked for this site. There are lots of café and supermarket options in the town.
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