Aberdeen City Rides: Victory Lap
This ride celebrates our first weekend in Phase 1 with a full circuit of the city. Thank you to all those riding, liking and commenting on these rides. Take a lap of honour! I'm running mountain bike skills coaching next week. Sign-up on my website.
I've started the route description at Victoria Bridge in Torry but there are links into the circuit from routes in earlier blogs. Choose your own start and finish point, and also note it is is 10km longer than the other routes.
From the south end of Victoria Bridge take the riverside path upstream to the boat houses and cross the main road at the roundabout to Wellington Bridge. Cross the footbridge to the northside of the river and follow the riverside path. The route takes the riverside path now out to Cults. It is possible, with low water, to pass under the nearside arch of the Bridge of Dee. If not cross the road near the roundabout and rejoin the path behind the shops.
There is more great pump-track riding along the river bank, although it does get close to the edge in places so take care. Leave the river, through a thick gorse patch, at Inchgarth Reservoir. Come out of the gates and head straight across the road and up Primrose Avenue, all the way up the hill to the Cults Hotel. Your now on a route from an earlier blog post.
Follow the steep path to the left side of the hotel, cross Friarsfield Road, continue up Kirk Brae then take a path marked Foggieton Woods on a forestry commission sign. At the first crossroads in the woods turn right, cross Kirk Brae, and take the track past Cothill Farm. Turn right, and ride on the road, to the edge of the golf course and take narrow path along its edge. This brings you out on a main path in Hazlehead Park. Turn left and head round the park to the Crematorium. Take a path to the left across the road by some buildings, then left again to join the A944.
Riding around the city margins is a ancient practice. The royal forest, or hunting grounds, let to the city by the Robert the Bruce and later Mary Queen of Scots, known as the Freedom Lands, are marked by stones known as March Stones. Riding of the March was important for hundreds of years.
Carefully cross the A944 a follow the small lane, cross the main road, on to a farm track and turn right at a t-junction. Then left along a line of beech trees. I recommend doing this route clockwise just for this downhill stretch, despite the step climb. Its a great run all the way down to the Bucks Burn. Cross the Bucks Burn to join a main path. Turn right and follow the main track down hill. Keep heading north east, until you reach a t-juntion and turn right to a small mill pond at Bucks Burn Gorge. Go past the pond, then left on a single track through the golf course and continue on to the A96. There is a small footbridge across the railway 100m to your right, take this and the path through the houses to the Mugiemoss Road.
The route has reached the River Don. Join the Don Riverside Path behind the Persley Walled Gardens and follow it, keeping the river on your lefthand side as much as possible all the way to the Bridge of Don. Now your on the home straight, follow the beach esplanade down to Footdie and a well earn ice cream.
For the purists wanting to complete the lap, follow the quayside back to Victoria Bridge or take Miller and Hanover Streets, to cross the footbridge on to Castle Hill. Then Castlegate and Shiprow. Unfortunately, you still have a few hundread metres of busy road along Commercial Quay.
I will be running introduction to Mountain Biking course next week, using some of the rides in these blogs. If you would like improve your mountain biking skills and confidence, or just fancy a ride around the city, please sign up on my website.