Aberdeen City Ride: Kirkhill, St Fergus Chapel, Craibstone Park and Ride
This route has something for everyone - natural trails, a few berms and a Pictish Chapel. Carparks will be busy this weekend, so the route starts at the Craibstone Park and Ride in Dyce, and takes a backdoor route in to Kirkhill Forest.
From the Park and Ride in Dyce, off the Airport Road, start towards the north on a cut through between the Emerson building and a building site. Go straight on to join the cycle path on Dyce Drive and head left. Take the next left, follow the track around the industrial estate, to the right, and a trail uphill to the AWPR. Just before the track crosses the bridge, turn right on a poorly defined path that takes a gap in the trees. This opens out in to doubletrack and reaches a main road at Overton. Turn left, and take the busy road for 300m, to the turning signposted for Chapel of St. Fergus.
It is worth a loop here to take in the ruin of St Fergus Chapel, some Pictish decorated stones and a beautiful stretch of the River Don. Follow the signs to the chapel on the left-hand fork to a carpark. To complete a loop, take the stairs from a layby to river level, then follow the path to the right. There are some places where you need to carry your bike. Rejoin the road at the silver gate.
The Pictish Stones are typical examples of those found in Pictland, modern northeast Scotland. The Picts is a name given by the Romans to people that lived here in the first millenium AD, we do not know what they called themselves. The picts were defeated by the Romans in 86 AD, and converted to Christianity between 500 and 800 AD. After invasion and occupation by the Vikings, the Pictish kingdoms were know as Scotland by the 10th century.
The road brings the route back over the railway, past the pill box, then turn right. Follow the road for about 3km to reach a carpark at The Slacks. Take the path through the woodlands, up hill, and then the path through a felled area to a main track.
This is the northern limit of Kirkhill Forest. There is some great riding here. The recommended route is to follow the path to the right, along the western edge of the forest. Take the opportunity to go to the Tappie Tower at the high point. After the turning for the tower, take a sharp right steeply downhill to continue around the western edge. This will eventually bring you to a sign for the Bike Fun Park. Follow the sign, but stay right of the fence for short cut to the start. Go up and down the hollow then turn left for a few metres.
The bike park has some great banked corners, or berms, which are fun and easy to ride. To ride the berms well, keep your bike and body perpendicular to the banked track. The banking means the corner is like a dip or hollow on its side, therefore by pumping (taking your weight off your bike, then loading your bike, then off again) through the corner can give you free speed and develop a sling shot effect.
From the bottom of the Bike Park track, turn left out of the carpark and climb a hill. Take a right turn at the first avenue through the trees and head downhill. Follow the track, out of the forest, on to the new tarmac path and through the new road bridge. Follow this path to the end then take an overgrown path to the right, down to a blue gate, and turn left. This leads back to the track around the industrial estate, retrace your steps back from there to the Park and Ride.
Strava Route Profile - https://www.strava.com/routes/2711670455007791884
Viewranger Profile - https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzE0OTUxNg==