Cycling Routes

Upper Deeside has a superb range of routes for both on and off-road cycling to suit all tastes and abilities. The array of minor tarmac roads offer exhilarating cycle touring through hidden glens, pinewoods, along the course of rivers and over mountain passes. For those wanting off-road, a network of partly- surfaced estate tracks provide some of the finest exploration into the heart of the hills and glens of Deeside. Many of the routes through the glens are fairly gentle and can be taken at a leisurely pace.

On Road Cycling Routes:

1. Loch Kinord
(12 miles, 19km) Time 1½ hours. Easy

From Aboyne Green (shops, cafes), cross River Dee and turn right. Follow South Deeside Road and turn Right at Dinnet bridge (8.0km). Cross the Dee, and straight across the A93 at Dinnet (Victoria Tea-rooms) and cycle north on B9119. Turn left (10.3km) on minor road, becoming track, alongside Loch Kinord, which is a National Nature Reserve. Note Crannog island in loch. Continue along track and turn right along A97. At cross roads (9 miles, 14.8km) at Milton of Logie, cross over and follow B9119. Turn Right (12 miles, 19.3km) onto B9094 signed Aboyne. Turn Left on A93 in Aboyne to return to the Green. Note: Loch Kinord may also be visited from Ballater via old railway path to Dinnet.

2. Braemar: Clunieside
(6 miles, 9.5km) Time 1½ hours. Easy.

A short easy cycle along a quiet tarmac road up Glen Clunie, as far as Fraser's Bridge. Watch out for traffic on the A93 return route. Leave Braemar village by the Clunie Bank road opposite the Fife Arms Hotel following the western bank of the Clunie Water. Pass the Golf Club and a pine plantation and 5km from the village you reach Fraser's Bridge. At this point you either retrace your route or cross the bridge, turn left and return along the A93 to the village.

3. Ballater: Deeside and Glen Gairn via Gairnshiel Pass
(21 miles, 34km) Time 2 hours. Hard

A challenging route with rewarding views across Deeside. Start in the car park Station Square, Ballater, turn right towards Braemar, passing Craigendarroch Wood and leisure complex on your right. Follow the A93 for 2 miles until you reach the Bridge of Gairn junction. Take the right turn onto A939 signed Tomintoul, and start to climb steadily through Glen Gairn. The river Gairn follows the road to the right. Continue on the road through the Glen for 6 miles passing Gairnshiel Lodge. At Gairnshiel Lodge turn left onto the B796(Old Military Road) signed Balmoral and continue for a further 5 miles to join the A93 just west of Crathie.

At the junction, turn left, and follow the A93 for 200m then turn right to cross over the river Dee. Over the bridge turn left (entrance to Balmoral is to the right). Follow the road past Easter Balmoral and continue on the South Deeside Road to Mains of Abergeldie, passing Littlemill, Knocks House and Dalliefour. Bear right at Bridge House before joining Bridge of Muick. (A right turn at this junction leads to Glen Muick). Keep left at Bridge of Muick and follow the B976 road for about 0.5 miles. Turn left back over the Royal Bridge, straight ahead at Bridge Street into Ballater and return to the car park.

4. Ballater: Old Railway Line to Dinnet
(14 miles, 22.5km) Time 2 hours. Moderate

An attractive circular tour following the old Deeside railway with fine views of the River Dee and surrounding hills. The route is suitable for touring bikes as far as Cambus O'May. Mountain bikes are recommended for the next section to Dinnet as the track becomes much rougher. Start from Ballater station platform follow the Old Railway Line to Cambus O'May suspension bridge, but do not cross it. Instead, continue past the old Cambus O'May station following the signs to Dinnet. Return to Ballater either back along the same route, or turn right (S) at the crossroads in Dinnet crossing the river Dee, and turn right again (SW) to return along the South Deeside Road (B976) to Ballater.

5. Dee and Don
(50 miles, 80km) Time 4 hours. Hard

From Aboyne Green (shops, cafes), cross River Dee and turn right. Follow South Deeside Road and turn Right at Dinnet bridge (8.0km). Cross the Dee, and straight across the A93 at Dinnet (Victoria Tea-rooms) and cycle north on B9119. After Big Foot Outdoor Centre (shown as Boultenstone Hotel on OS map) turn Right on minor road signed Glenkindie. At Glenkindie, turn Right on A97 to Mossat. Turn Right on A944 to Bridge of Alford. Turn Right on A980 signed Lumphanan. Cross B9119 at Crossroads Inn. Turn Right on minor road signed Aboyne.

6. The Lecht: Deeside to Grantown-on-Spey via the Lecht
(c.37 miles, c.60km) Time 4 hours. Hard

A route over the hills from Deeside to Speyside, via the highest town in Scotland. Ballater - Gairnshiel Lodge - Corgarff - Tomintoul - Bridge of Brown - Grantown-on-Spey

7. Dee and the Angus Glens
Time 8 hours. Long and hard!

A classic audax circular route over the mountains linking the Dee to Glen Isla and the Angus glens, with a number of ascents. From Ballater, take the B976 South Deeside Road to Crathie. Follow the A93 North Deeside Road to Braemar (cafes). Continue on the A93 over the Cairnwell pass to Spittal of Glenshee. At Clackavoid, turn left on the B951 to Kirriemuir. Turn left on the B959 to Tannadice. Turn left on minor roads to Edzell and the B966 to Fettercairn. Take the B974 road over the Cairn o' Mount to Strachan. Then follow the B976 South Deeside Road over the Corsedarder to Aboyne and back to Ballater. The circuit may be started at any other point on the route.

Off Road Cycling Routes:

1. Ballater: Glen Muick
(19 miles, 30.6km) Time 2.5 hours. Moderate

Taking in spectacular forest scenery, the falls of Glen Muick and views of Lochnagar, this is a great circuit to enjoy the wild beauty of Glen Muick. Cross the Dee at Ballater Bridge and turn right on to the B976 South Deeside road for 1km turning left after the plaque to the Gordon Highlanders and before crossing the bridge over the River Muick onto a single-track road. Follow this road up the left-hand side of the glen for 13km passing the Falls of Muick and out into the wilder open moorland of the upper glen to the Spittal of Glen Muick and the visitor centre (No vehicle access). Follow the un-made forest track to the right across the glen to Allt-na-giubhsaich. Turn right returning down the glen where you rejoin the tarmac road, keeping a careful eye for traffic, follow the road straight on to Ardmeanach, turning right back to Ballater.

2. Braemar: Linn of Dee
(17 miles, 27.4km) Time 4 hours. Moderate

A beautiful scenic tour through the upper Strath Dee by road and rough track. From Braemar village follow the road to the Linn of Dee, passing the Victoria Bridge entrance to Mar Lodge and the stone cottages at Inverey. (An alternative shorter route is to cross Victoria Bridge and cycle past Mar Lodge using the estate tracks provided.) Cross the stone bridge at the Linn of Dee and follow the road along the north bank of the river eastwards passing Mar Lodge on the right, until you come to a wooden bridge and informal car park at the Linn of Quoich. Here the tarmac road ends but cyclists can continue along the north side of the river following the estate road past old farm buildings. Once you enter the dense pine woodland you should follow the green Scottish Rights of Way bicycle signs, which will eventually bring you past Invercauld House and down to the A93 opposite the Old Bridge of Dee. Turn right on to the main road, cross the Invercauld Bridge and continue for a further 5km back to Braemar.

3. Pitfichie and Durris Forests.
Easy to Hard

There are several mountain bike trails designated by Forest Enterprise in Durris Forest (by Banchory) and Pitfichie Forest (by Monymusk). Some single track has been constructed, and there are plans to create more single track in the near future.

4. Shiel of Glen Tanar
(14 miles, 23km; 250m ascent) Time 2-3 hours. Moderate

From the Glen Tanar visitor centre, follow the trail past the church, keeping along the south bank of the river. Pass Glen Tanar House, cross over the bridge and continue through pinewoods to the sound of the river on your left. After Half Way- Hut (7km) the track is more level, and the views open out toward Mount Keen. Cycle as far as you choose. Vary the return by crossing the river at another bridge.

5. Glen Tanar. Other routes.
Moderate - Hard

There are many other routes in the Glen Tanar estate using the network of surfaced tracks through the forest.

6. Glen Callater
(12 miles, 20km) Time 2 hours. Moderate

An exploration of a beautiful highland glen, along an old drive road - Jock's Road - to Loch Callater. Leave Braemar along Clunieside [as on-road route 2 link]. Cross Clunie Water on bridge at Auchallater, cross A93 and follow estate track alongside Callater Burn to Loch Callater Lodge and alongside Loch Callater. Return by same route or down A93. Braemar - Clunieside - footbridge - cross A93 - track up Glen Callater - return

7. Glen Derry - Glen Quoich
(17 miles, 27km) Time 4 hours. Moderate

Glen Lui and Glen Quoich are two delightful glens, and they may be explored in a variety of ways. From Braemar, follow the road through the village to Linn of Dee.

a. Continue 0.5 km past the car park and turn sharp left on estate road, to follow the Lui Water. After a further 2.5km, turn left on path through Clais Fhearnaig (push bike here) to reach Glen Quoich. Return along Glen Quoich to Linn of Quoich. Return via Mar Lodge (bikes and walkers only) to Braemar.

b. Glen Quoich - the glen can be cycled on estate roads on either side of the burn. Note that the 2 river crossings that link the east and west routes may be difficult.

8. Glen Gairn - Donside
(52km) Time 6 hours. Hard

A route into the remote area around Loch Builg and the Linn of Avon. From Braemar, follow the road to Crathie, and turn left (7km) on the old military road B976 toward Gairnshiel. After climbing the hill out of Crathie, turn left and leave the public road at Braenaloin (12km). Follow the estate road up Glen Gairn, past Corndavon Lodge to Loch Builg (23km). Cycle or push for 11/2 km on the east side of Loch Builg to regain the estate road, with some fine descents down Glen Builg to the river Avon. Cross the Builg on the bridge to visit the spectacular falls of the Linn of Avon only ½ km from the route. The turn left at Inchrory Lodge (28km) and after a short sharp climb past the source of the Don, follow Glen Feardar to Cock Bridge (37km). Return along the A939 via Corgarff, or take the old military road along the south bank of the Don, to Gairnshiel and Crathie (46km). The route may be shortened using a car to reach Braenaloin.

9. Upper Glen Gairn
Glen Feardar (38km) Time 5 hours. Hard

From Braemar, follow the road to Crathie, and turn left (7km) on the old military road B976 toward Gairnshiel. After climbing the hill out of Crathie, turn left and leave the public road at Braenaloin (12km) [as in Off Road Route 8 link]. Follow the estate road up Glen Gairn, past Corndavon Lodge to Loch Builg (23km). Fork left between the lochans before Loch Builg, cross the bridge over the river Gairn, and follow the estate road round the side of Culardoch, to descend to Invercauld House (33km). Regain the A93 at Invercauld Bridge and return to Braemar.

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