Updated: Nov 24, 2021
This ride has all the elements of a big Cairngorm Munro ride on the edge of the city. There are test pieces to practice technical climbing and hike-a-bike. All with a great view from the top.
Start out up the Denburn from King's Gate to Den of Maidencraig Nature Reserve. Follow the line of the burn, but take a high line away from the path if it's busy. At the head of the burn you'll see the ruin of the Newmill, built by the town council in 1616. At this point there is a steep climb back on to the main road. This is a chance to practice steep climbing technique. If this test proves too tough, I've added an alternative to miss out the tough climbing, but give it a go.
Climb efficiently while seated on the path. When the gradient really kicks up, stand-up, swing your hips forward to the handlebars, hold your back straight and weight firmly over your feet. Your weight over the centre of the bike keeps the traction through the rear tyre, and a dead-lift movement against your handlebars lets you get the power down. Keep a straight back and a stable body core.
At the main road, take a right on to the cycle path, and right again after a few yards on to narrow lane. Follow this and go straight across the main road, Langstracht, and continue on northwards. Langstracht, and near by Maastricht, were named by the Provost of Aberdeen in 1710. He engaged in the prolific trade between Northern Europe and Northeast Scotland, particularly Holland. He died in Amsterdam. We are back in cattle country here with a herringbone of dykes, similar to those in the Countesswells Post. At the T-junction turn left and follow the rough track to the west. You get the first view of the objective, Brimmond Hill (265m), to the north.
Follow the path around the field boundary and into Kingswells, eventually heading down Kingswells Drive. There are a few blind junctions through this section so watch your pace. Cross the main road and climb past Fairley House, practising climbing technique again. Head over the AWPR (the alternative leaves the route here), until you reach the woodland, at a tight lefthand bend on the farm track. Follow the path into the woods at the apex of the bend, then immediately left on an indistinct path through the woods. There are two options here. If you like a rooty challenge continue, straight on, on the wooded trail. If not turn right on the double track downhill to the edge of the woods.
When you come out of the woods, on either route, head up hill towards the summit. The trail is steep, and eventually you may have to push your bike. Pushing on a steep narrow trail is hardwork; hike-a-bike is more efficient. This is a great skill to practice for long carries in the Cairngorms which can be over an hour long. Take a look at the video on how to do it by Chris Gibbs from H+I Adventures. The only thing I'd add, if your not as strong as Chris, is to put your bike across the slope and stand below it first, and kneel on one knee to flip the bike on to your back more easily. The reverse applies for putting it down.
When you're stable, climb the rocky path to the top. Don't be tempted to put your bike down too early. From the top there is a fantastic panorama from the mountains to the sea.
Take a good look to the east where you might catch a glimpse of snow-topped Lochnagar and Ben Avon. Then head down eastwards. The descent is steep in parts and has, that other Cairngorms classic the water bar, so take your time (More on these another time). At the carpark, turn left on to the road and follow it along until the gate and farm track on the left (if you get to Borrowstone Mill on the right you've gone to far). Follow this, through the quarry, back to the bridge over the AWPR. For the hike-a-bike free option, turn down this track when you first cross the AWPR, and follow the road around the north of the hill and the road to the masts.
You're back on the outbound route now, so follow it back through Kingswells to the Skene Road. For a bit of variety, cross the main road into lane with an Except for Access Sign and follow it around to the path sign-posted for Hazlehead Park. From the park make your way back into town, or if you're still fresh try the Countesswells Loop in the last post.
If you fancy a guided ride after lockdown please drop me a line or book through the website.
Strava Route Profile - https://www.strava.com/routes/27156771
Viewranger Profile - https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzE0NDc0NA==