Updated: Nov 24, 2021
This route is an out and back to a high point above Portlethen, with views over the city, the sea and Deeside. It is a ride of two halves: tarmac and singletrack, so there are alternatives for each.
The objective is Clochandighter, a small, wooded hill between Portlethen and Peterculter. If it is renowned at all, its for a memorial stone erected by a company of Gordon Highlanders at their camp there just before the Second World War. It commemorates the camp of their founders, the Kincardineshire Rifles volunteer force, in 1869. Volunteer forces like these bolstered british forces at home, while regular units were stretched across the Empire. The 6th Company of Kincardineshire Rifles were volunteers from the shipbuilders and ironfounders, Blaikie Brothers in Aberdeen. This route may well follow their journey to that camp.
From Duthie Park, cross the river and head straight up the dual-carriageway through Kincorth (Provost Watt Drive). The both sides of the carriageway have a wide verge and path. At the top of the road, head in to Kincorth Nature Reserve on a path, off Tollohill Square, to the left of the houses ahead. Follow the path bearing southwest to keep going up hill, until the path reaches a stone bench. Branch off left on a singletrack path through the gorse towards the fields to the south. Cross a field, and turn right on a track. At a set of steps, and main road, turn left then carefully cross the main road into Redcraigs. Follow a road, turn left at a t-juntion, then right at the next junction, after the red water tank.
The mountain bike only section goes straight ahead here to the crossroads with the Causey Mounth Sign in the village, then picks up the return route from there (a longer route is to combine this with the Kincorth to the coast route from an earlier blog). The full route, takes a track on the left to Drumthwacket Farm. This turns into a narrow path after the farmhouse that runs to the bridge over the AWPR. Cross the bridge, and follow the Causey Mounth (straight on) to an industrial park, then turn right. The memorial stone to the camp is on the northwest corner of the next junction against a wall.
About 100m after the junction is a gate with wooden cladding. Climb this, or duck under the fence to the left, and start the climb up Clochandighter. Take in the view on the way up; south to Boswell's Monument, west to the Cairngorms and north back to the city.
Take the steep path running down the other side of the hill. This is steep in parts, so take your time. Descending steep, rough terrain is both the fun, and the fear, of off-road riding. If you are not sure, just get off and push a bit. Build your confidence and capability by making sure you weight is centred over the pedals (your hips rock backwards), hinge at your hips so you stay low to your bike, and keep your hands loose, and elbows and knees "baggy".
Join the road, re-cross the AWPR, take the next right and follow this for 2.5km to the cross roads with the Causey Mounth Sign. The mountain bike section rejoins the route here. An on-road alternative is to go on, and then retrace the route from the red water tank, or follow the Banchory-Devenick road back to Leggart Terrace.
Take a left, downhill at the crossroads, towards Aberdeen, to the next junction on the left. Take your time here; turn into the junction, then just after it, push your bike over a wall, through a gap in the hedge. Go left along the inside of the hedge, then pick an indistinct path, which contours on the right hand side, then left hand side of the hills. There is plenty of exploring to be done here if you are looking to fill time on the shorter mountain bike route. The path meets a field boundary at a gate in a wire fence, go through and follow the field boundary to another gate and a steep climb, then left. This leads to another gate in the fence, and a track. Turn left, then right, then left again. Go straight across the junction by the cottage, and follow the track around to the right. Do not follow the track in to the field, but instead take the path through a gate in a stone wall immediately on the right, it looks like a stream, into a line of trees. Follow a path keeping to the left, heading generally downhill.
Join a well made path that runs through a plantation forest. Do not go to the road. Take a left at the eastern edge of the plantation, through a broken wall section, diagonally across a gorsey field until the path reaches the South Deeside Road. From here take Leggart Terrace back into the city.
Strava Route Profile: https://www.strava.com/routes/28656739
Viewranger Route: https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzEwODUwNA==