Aberdeen City Rides: Peterculter, Drum Castle, Gormack and Culter Burns

This route starts in Peterculter and leads into open Aberdeenshire countryside with big skies, a castle, Scots Pine woods and views of the Hill of Fare. This may be the last weekend that National Trust for Scotland (NTS) properties are closed, so it takes the opportunity to ride some of their single track while it is relatively quiet.

The route description starts at the small Millside Car Park in Peterculter. However, this might be busy so I have pointed out car parking spots around the loop for easier parking, or better still join the route by bike from town on routes posted earlier - Den of Cults and Leuchars Moss.

From the carpark head west on the main road, over a bridge crossing the Culter Burn. Pass a path to the war memorial, and take the first opportunity to enter woods, Newmillhill Plantation, on the right from a small layby (parking). There is a steep climb through high bracken to the crest of the hill, then follow the path around the perimeter of the woods.

The riding here is fun and straight forward, although there are fallen branches across the path and raised roots. A front wheel lift will maintain flow over these obstacles. On a full suspension mountain bike, simply bouncing down then up on your suspension (called unweighting) is often enough to skim over these obstacles. For hardtails, or larger obstacles, as well as up and down, move your weight quickly down and then back to raise the frontwheel, then up and forward to unweight the back wheel. Timing is everything - don't try to jump it just roll over it gently. Pulling on the handlebars may lift the frontwheel, but your full weight is on the wheels and you will hit the obstacle hard.

The trail leads back to the road, at a small car park (parking), follow the road left past a small gate house, then take a right at the end of the gatehouse's garden on to an overgrown drive way. Follow this to the entrance to Drum Castle. Take a path to the right of the drive, and follow this past the castle, take a right immediately after the play area (this are may be busy, even if the castle is closed). Head north through the woods, taking a left at every fork, walk across a stream, and a bar-gate to the main deer gate on the road (some parking in the area).