Updated: Nov 23, 2020
This route is all about the River Dee. It has great views to Upper Deeside and a roller coaster ride along the river's north bank to Morrison's Suspension Bridge.
I have started this route description at the Cults Hotel on the North Deeside Road as an easy reference point. From here, follow the line of Cults Burn on the steep track to the left of the hotel up to Friarsfield Road and Kirk Brae (cycle track) and then take the path left into Foggieton Woods at the Forestry Commission sign, and follow it to across the Ladyhill Road. After the road, keep left to take a route through the silver birch trees to the carpark on the western edge of the woods.
Ride the steep section of road up to Blacktop, make a right then left in to the woods at a layby. Keep left on all the tracks through Countesswells Woods until you reach the southwest corner, at the bottom of the hill, and a view over the AWPR up Deeside. An alternative is to miss this section in the woods by riding along Blacktop road to the same point.
Go under the AWPR bridge and take the farm track to the 2nd left as the road swings right. Keep on the main track, heading over the western brow of the hill. A wide view along Deeside to Lochnagar opens up to the west; so keep your head up on the climb.
Its not a bad spot to have a snack. On short rides like these I carry a 10-15 litres rucksac. The equipment varies depending on the ride, riders, bikes and conditions but the constants are a jacket and longsleeved top, drink, snack, puncture repair kit (for all bikes on the ride), map and a phone.
While on equipment, any bike can do these rides.
After the cottage at the top of the hill take a sharp right, and then a sharp left on to Culter House Road. Take the nice single track cut through at the junction to the Tillyoch Equestrian Centre, then left on the track. Find your way southeastwards through the woods south of the road to the Kippie Lodge, and AWPR. Take the cycle path downhill, across the junction, and down to the river.
There is a layby on the northern side of the river, and a track which leads under the bridge. Take the path along the river back towards the city. The riverside path is temporarily closed at the Camphill School and Newton Dee Community, so take a detour on a steep track just west of the school (down the steps), on to the Deeside Way and then down Ferry Road. Ferry Road is a right after the second bridge along the Deeside Way. Join the river again at the edge of the golf course. The path rolls along the river's edge, and is great for practising pumping technique discussed in last week's post. Look out because the path is narrow and rutted in places, and you can catch pedals and feet; if in doubt stop.
The river path eventually re-joins the road at Cults Burn, and the site of the Morrison's Bridge, also known as the Shakin Briggie and St Devenick s Bridge. It was built to replace the ferry that took parishoners to Banchory-Devenick Kirk in 1836-7. It was an innovative design at the time and is one of the earliest surviving suspension bridges in Scotland. The south end of the bridge was destroyed in the great flood of 1920, but kept open for foot traffic until the path was destroyed in 1914. The river has changed its position, so the bridge only reached an island in the river, but the decking was removed in 1984 for safety reasons and the bridge was no longer used. Immediately opposite the bridge is the Den of Cults, follow this up hill back to the Cults Hotel.
If you fancy a guided ride after lockdown please drop me a line or book through the website.
Strava Route Profile : http://www.strava.com/routes/27010320
Viewranger Route Profile : https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzIwNTAzNQ==