This route takes a spectacular ridge line from Westhill with a panorama from Bennachie in the north to Durris in the south. The riding surface is good, about half on country roads, so suitable for competent hybrid bikers.
Start from a carpark in Elrick, Westhill (AB32 6HE) and head north, turn left, towards the main road. Cross the roundabout, and turn left at the next roundabout on the Old Skene Road (cyclepaths available). From the centre of the Kirkton of Skene, leave the road when it turns sharp left and take a track beside a shop, shortly after this take a path on the left through woods. There is one rocky section, with a drop to one side, which is best walked.
Turn right at a road and start a steady climb up on to a ridge line. Relax into the climb and practice efficient pedalling technique. Hold your core body muscle firm, sit firmly in the saddle, and concentrate on sweeping the pedals back and up. This generates a flowing circular motion, giving the impression of winding the bike up the hill. Avoid rocking your body and stamping downward pressure, and do not rush.
After a small patch of woods, a view from the ridge line opens up to Bennachie. Turn left on to a farm track at an offset cross roads, with a house on the opposite corner. Take a right, then a left, to reach a t-junction and turn left. In a Lynne of Skene village take left after the main cross roads, and follow the track to buildings around Skene House. Take a right, past the impressive stable block and main house. Look out for a path in the woods on your right, that brings the route through the woods, and eventually on the main Alford Road.
Cross this in to the Dunecht Estate. The Dunecht Estate has many great stories associated with it. A favourite is of a previous owner, the 26th Earl of Crawford. Earl of Crawford is one of the most ancient extant titles in Great Britain, having been created in the Peerage of Scotland for Sir David Lindsay in 1398. However, the eighth Earl's son, commonly called the Wicked Master, frequently quarrelled with his father and even tried to murder him. The Wicked Master was sentenced to death for his disloyalty and his descendants excluded from the succession, and the title fell out of use. In 1843, James Ludovic Lindsay, who owned the estate then, made a case to the House of Lords that he was related to the old Earls of Crawford. They agreed to retrospectively back fill the lineage, of what were called the interpolated Earls. The 26th Earl also built an observatory on the estate.
Turn right on the estate road and follow tracks a roads to the main house. Follow a path around the house's wall and woods to the left, and down towards the ornamental lake. Turn left just before the South Lodge and follow a lochside path. At the end of the loch turn right on the road, but break off left, on the lefthand side of a stand of trees, along a field margin. Follow this track to a gate and a road. Turn right, down the hill to a t-junction and croft. Take a path beside the croft and follow it through woodland and fields, until it reaches a bridge across a burn.
Cross the bridge a turn left, through some cottages, past the dam to a road junction. Turn right to find a path into the woods then left through the woods. At a well made track turn right and follow this all the way back to Elrick, crossing one road, passing a farmhouse and turn left on to a grassy track. At the main road turn right, and make for Carnie Woods. Keep left through the woods to reach the playing field and carpark.
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