• Macdui Bike Adventures

Aberdeen City Rides: Hatton of Fintray, Foresterseat and Fawells

This route explores rolling countryside north of the River Don. It is a longer loop, that uses the Formatine and Buchan way to leave the city through Dyce. Three quarters (too much) of the route is on tarmac. I'm focusing on routes in the Cairngorms for now, but will be back to increase the off road content in the autumn.

Leave the Formatine and Buchan Way through a narrow gap in the lefthand bank to reach a road. This is the road after a small bridge, about a 1 km after Aberdeen Concrete. Head west on the road, through cottages to reach a main road, and turn left then right towards Newmachar Golf Course. Pass the golf course, make a left-right on the main road towards Monykebbucke, Lairshill and Disblair. Follow this road through open fields, pass the standing stone on the left, and through a wooded area to a cross roads and turn left. There is a short run of single track just inside the woods (enter at the small lay-by) but be sure to exit the woods before the road takes a right.

To plan a route use all the information you can from maps at different scales, satellite images and mapping sites and applications. In rural areas like this, with low foot fall, and limit woodland to provide linked off-road trails, it is important to plan and then check rides. The draft route for this ride passed through Oschie Woods, but the marked trail was blocked by fallen trees, and paths between farms have fallen in to disuse, as later on the route.

I'll focus route scoping further up Deeside now the restrictions have lifted, but will keep working on this one when the vegetation has died down. In the meantime, take a long road loop around Oschie Woods, by taking a right at the t-junction, over the hill, until there is a signpost, left, to Kinmuick. Just after a sharp right hand bend, turn left (if you reach Kinmuck you have gone to far). Take the track through the farmyard, to join a road at some derelict buidlings, and eventually a t-junction on a main road.

Turn left on the main road. At a patch of woodland on your right, take a track in to the woods, then bear left on a forest track. This brings the route in to Hatton of Fintray. Turn right then left at the main road, Laird's Park, and follow the muddy track across the hilliside all the way until it joins the main road again. There is a track to the left, about 100m along the road, that leads in to woodland. Follow a rooty, muudy path, keeping to the southern edge of the woods, until a driveway is reached.

These woods are predominantly Silver Birch, which is one of Britain’s hardiest trees, and favours the light, dry soils in eastern Scotland. It is a natural pioneer species, is able to colonise open land, because it seeds freely. However, once established these woodlands need managing, and the difference made by Rona, the woodland manager here, can be seen by the difference in diversity between either side of the track.

At the driveway turn left in to the woods, and keep left around the golf course. Press on through a rough mown section, until a gap between to walls runs up to your right. This is one of those disused paths. Plough to the top, through long grass, clear your derailleur and turn right to re-join the out outbound route, north of the golf course. Re-trace your track to the Formatine and Buchan Way.

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