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The route from Stonehaven runs south and west to Fettercairn and is 20 miles in length. There is climbing of 1,552 feet and this has been given a difficulty rating of 7.
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.
Starting from the market square in Stonehaven, you head west through the town, crossing the A90 via a bridge and hit open countryside at mile 1.7. You are heading uphill from the beginning, and if the west wind is blowing this stage will feel quite difficult. You climb consistently to mile 2.9 before a short descent. You then go uphill all the way to mile 8.3, before a descent takes you to the hardest climb of the route at mile 10.2 – it is mercifully short at 0.5 miles. The next section is rolling downhill followed by an uphill that takes you to the high point of the day at 636 feet after 14.8 miles. The remainder of the route is downhill, with a very steep section at mile 15.9 which takes you to Clatterin’ Brig. There is a café here, and you might want to refuel. You should also take a moment to reveal in the fact that you don’t have to climb Cairn ‘o Mount, at least not yet! You enter Fettercairn from the north, finishing at the Mercat Cross in the village centre.
This route is more about the scenery than the sights and is a favourite of Ride the North. It provides another classic Aberdeenshire route dominated by farm and woodland on rolling roads. You pass the remains of St Ciaran’s Chuch at mile 1.4, and the remains of Fetteresso Castle at mile 2.6. The next section is open agricultural land with Fetteresso Forest to the north, and you then cycle through Drumochty Forest from mile 13, along Strath Finella and passing Loch Saugh at mile 15.
Fettercairn, from the Scottish Gaelic meaning “slope by a thicket”, is a small village in the Mearns area of Aberdeenshire. 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 and enjoy a dram at Fettercairn Distillery. It is a small place, so you might want to pack extra provisions.
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