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The route from Fettercairn runs north and east to Stonehaven and is 20 miles of length. There is climbing of 1,339 feet and this has been given a difficulty rating of 6.
Fettercairn, from the Scottish Gaelic meaning “slope by a thicket”, is a small village in the Mearns area of Aberdeenshire, and the most southerly town in the RTN153 (the Cairnwell Pass doesn’t count!) It is an ancient place that was granted free burgh status in 1504. The Church of St Martin’s is worth a visit, and you could take in a tour of Fettercairn Distillery.
You head north from the Mercat Cross in Fettercairn. The first few miles are slightly uphill, with a small climb at mile 2.1. You reach Clatterin’ Brig at mile 3.7 and verge right away from Cairn ‘o Mount (yay), though you are immediately faced with a nasty wee climb which lasts 1.6 miles and peaks at the high point of 636 feet. The road then rolls downhill to mile 8.2 when you hit a short, sharp up and down. After another short hill at mile 11.3, the route is broadly downhill to the coast at Stonehaven, though inevitably there are some lumps on the way. You enter Stonehaven from the west, crossing a bridge over the A90 at mile 18.6 and then navigating through the town for the final 1.4 miles, finishing in the market square.
This route is more about the scenery than the sights, and it provides another classic Aberdeenshire route dominated by farm and woodland. After Clatterin’ Brig you start heading in a more easterly direction, passing Loch Saugh at mile 4.5 and cycling through Drumochty Forest and Strath Finella. You come out of the forest at mile 7 and are now in an agricultural setting with Fetteresso Forest to the north. The views towards Stonehaven from mile 14 are super, with the town framed by the North Sea. You pass the remains of Fetteresso Castle at mile 17.4 and the remains of St Ciaran’s Church at mile 18.6.
Stonehaven lies in a nature harbour, and fishing was the chief commerce of the town into the early 20th century, with marine services and tourism being the dominant industries today. The most notable building in the town is the Tolbooth Museum, which was historically used as both a courthouse and a jail. Two miles to the south are the medieval ruins of Dunnotter Castle. The castle, which is open to the public, has a bloody history and played a prominent role in a number of important historical events, including the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745. Stonehaven is renowned for its Hogmanay fireball ceremony. The fish ‘n chips are some of the best in the country, and there are a number of cafes and restaurants in town to give you options.
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