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The route from Westhill to Banchory heads south and west and is 15.3 miles long. There is climbing of 656 feet and this has been given a difficulty rating of 5.
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.
You head west from the start point in Westhill, cycling for two miles through the town before heading south at Kirkton of Skene. The road is lumpy but more down than up, and you actually reach the high point of 446 feet in Westhill itself. Initially rolling downhill, you reach your first climb at mile 3.2 before a flatter section takes you to a short, shape climb after 5.5 miles. The route continues in a similar vein before another hill at mile 7.8. The roads continue to roll to the final climb at mile 11.4, before a steep descent which takes you to the east side of Banchory at mile 13.5. You then turn west and cycle through Banchory on the main A93, finishing in the town centre close to the River Dee.
This route is typical Aberdeenshire with rolling hills in farm and woodland. You will cycle along a lovely section of road at mile 3 which takes you past the Loch of Skene and Garlogie Woods. You reach the village of Garlogie at mile 4.4, and you should use caution as these roads are fairly busy. You then pass the Standing Stones of Echt at mile 5.3, 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 a hut circle at Drumfrennie after 12.2 miles and the Woodend Barn Arts Centre at mile 13.3.
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. There are lots of good café, restaurant and supermarket options in Banchory so you won’t go hungry.
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
Onward rides from Banchory can be found here