Together with his young family and two crazy dogs, you will almost always find him outdoors. After some lunch in either the Brown Sugar or Bothy cafe, we would head over the road to climb back up to the ridgelines to the south of Ballater for a run down the rocky, Heartbreak Ridge. Start Here, Broadly speaking, there are three bikepacking genres to choose from – Multi-day Mountain Biking, Ultralight Race & Gravel, and Expedition & Dirt Touring. Read the new issue of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine now. For classic adventures, bikepacking and multi-day explorations why try the 140-mile Deeside Trail. “What, all the way down there?” There’s something special about descending an open ridgeline, knowing that gravity will be your friend right to the valley floor. You cannot go wrong in Ballater; all the cafes we dropped into were welcoming and served up some great food. Hopefully our list of the best and most popular natural mountain bike routes, groomed fun parks and purpose built pump tracks below will give you some ideas. This is definitely a route for a mountain bike, but you could use a gravel bike if you like punishment. Words: Trev Worsey Photos: Trevor Worsey and Finlay Anderson. Mountain Biking Ballater is the place to head for mountain biking! Its a scenic walkway and cycleway which follows the route of the Deeside Railway line. Read more here. You’ll have 24 miles (38.5km) to cover by bike today, which will bring you back to your starting point in Banchory. The area around Ballater in the Cairngorms National Park is perfect for both mountain biking and walking. Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on BIKEPACKING.com, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. The only thing separating us from eating the restaurant out of poppadoms was the iconic Heartbreak Ridge trail falling away into the valley ahead of us. Whether it's teaching Brook to ride trails, hammering out gravel loops, surfing, skiing or canoeing, he’ll be there no matter the weather, like a true Scotsman. Starting on a bridge over the River Dee, the first half of the route picks out singletrack descents on ancient drove roads like the Fungle Trail and through Caledonian pinewood in the National Nature Reserve at Glen Tanar. Map 2 – Cairn Leuchan & Mount Keen. Visit this section to learn how to choose a route, and some insight into navigation. The Deeside Thistle Cycling Club aims to cater for cyclists from Youth (under 16s) to Veterans and all standards from Novice to Expert. In this feature story, Ben Page offers a reminder of the value of getting out on shorter, simpler trips, instead of getting wrapped up in planning something big... Adam started mountain biking as something to do in winter when there wasn’t enough snow for skiing. Mountain Biking. Learn More, We have ~100 routes on our worldwide bikepacking routes map. Fortunately logistics is quite easy with frequent supply stops and bail out routes except for the long section from Braemar back to Ballater. Whether you’re looking for a cliff-top challenge or a quiet day out in the countryside, the Cairngorms National Park has a cycle route suitable for everyone. The route follows the Dee westwards from Banchory where the Aberdeenshire hills slowly rise out of the farmland, 25 miles inland from Aberdeen. Some folk get that ear to ear smile from riding their mountain bikes cross country or down hill, others from freestyle riding in the woods, others from just being out there in the wilds. Ballater and the surrounding area would make a great stop on any Scottish MTB road trip, with enough trails to easily give 4-5 days of varied fun. Our brands Shop Online. Mount Keen, the most easterly Munro, is only a stones throw away. The climbs and descents follow in quick succession, passing under the dark cliffs of Lochnagar and the Royal estate at Balmoral. During our time in Ballater, we spent many days riding incredible trails, from big-mountain all-day epics to insane enduro trails that would rank as some of the best we have ridden. At the heart of Royal Deeside is the village of Ballater, 69km west of Aberdeen and 13km from the Queen’s summer home of Balmoral Castle. Browse Catalogue . The route can be done in any way you want, whether in a group, individually, fully supported or completely unsupported. From mountain bike trails to on-the-road cycling routes, cycling in Scotland offers you an opportunity to embrace the sights, sounds and smells of this lush landscape. All the while, we felt like we were the only ones there, discovering a trail riding nirvana all to ourselves. Many of the climbs are sustained and can involve up to an hour of pushing. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. We based ourselves in the small town of Aboyne, in the heart of Royal Deeside, staying with our friends from Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland. Digital & free: Santa Cruz Nomad CC 5 2021 in review – 27,5″ ain’t dead! Bankhead Steading Fabulous Family Holiday Home in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire book now Our Cottage Your Scottish Rural Retreat Home from Home. Browse. Located about 15 minutes drive from the village of Ballater, the working estate has eight bike-friendly luxury cottages that sleep between 2 and 8 people. Prices are expensive, but the atmosphere is authentic, and the food is sublime. Besides being accustomed to bad weather he's a specialist when it comes to steep and demanding trails. The final climb up the Hill of Fare rewards you with an almost full length view of the route you’ve just done, and a final descent down back to the River Dee to finish. Instead, bike tourists are drawn to the more popularised riding spots like the Tweed Valley, Fort William and Skye, but that would be a mistake. Ben Avon and Beinn A Bhuird, two of the most easterly Cairngorms, round off a spectacular panorama. to support us & get The Bikepacking Journal. A race not against a stopwatch or STRAVA, but for a dinner reservation at the ‘Indian on the green’ restaurant. Time it for sunset and it will be the perfect finish to a great trip. Clean, comfortable and spacious 6 bed, fully equipped converted steading (barn) Large en-suite family bedroom – a double and 2 single beds Open plan kitchen, diner & lounge King bedroom with … Home Read More » Copyright © 2020 ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine. Scotland is twice named the World's Best MTB destination and our guided mountain bike trips have 150+ 5 … If you prefer your riding steep and technical, a short drive will take you to Pitfichie forest. Click the link below to learn about each. Banchory also offers plenty of trails. Aberdeenshire and Moray have so many great spots for mountain biking that there is a problem of knowing where to start. The route borrows slightly from the Round of Alford by Gordon Watt and also overlaps briefly with the Cairngorms Loop route near Braemar. This is the best family cycling venue in the area. Our perfect Ballater break would be to take in the iconic Loch Muick loop, spend a day on the short but exciting trails of Glen Tanar, take a trip around the Green Mile and of course spend a day on the great enduro trails around Ballater. Originally published in The Bikepacking Journal 03, Ditibised is Alexandera Houchin’s extraordinary story of training for the Tour Divide, framed in four seasons…. Route Development: The route was developed in 2016 as a mountain bike ITT route, following along the lines of the Capital Trail, Cairngorms Loop, and Highland Trail 550. If you enjoy road cycling nothing beats a ride through Royal Deeside to the Cairngorms National Park and take on the challenge of the UK’s highest pass at the Glenshee ski centre, head towards The Lecht and test yourself on what is recognised as one of the toughest, and … Bernard and Martyn attempt the Deeside Trail in late summery 2018. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. This weekend route picks out technical and remote singletrack as it takes you through ancient pine forests and the heather and gorse covered hills of the Eastern Cairngorms. A long and challenging flow trail punctuated with tricky boulders and huge rocky slabs. The new Specialized Hotwalk Carbon balance bike – Start early! It’s also an ideal starting point for many Cairngorm epics – classic routes that have challenged riders for many generations. Nonetheless, demonstrating that you can teach an old dog new tricks, he continues to hold his own against the wild and fearless youth. Mountain Biking. Learn More, As important as it is to have a reliable bike and pack as light as you can, choosing the right route is perhaps the key to your enjoyment. Once, he was in love with competition and raced in the early years of the EWS, but now, at 41-years-old, he no longer has anything to prove. Cycling We are surrounded by miles and miles of quiet country roads so bring your bike and go exploring! Deeside Thistle is a popular cycling club in the North East of Scotland. There you will find that hard-working volunteers of the Aberdeenshire Trails Association (ATA) have sculpted out some serious enduro gold, playing host to a number of Scottish Enduro Series rounds. Sometimes it follows the banks of the river but is often high above it, traversing a mix of forestry trails, ancient drove roads and technical singletrack. Mountain biking holidays that ride through the most unspoiled scenery in Scotland. The route aims to show off some of the best mountain biking and scenery in Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside. Ballater and the Cairngorm would be an ideal location to bring a full-suspension eMTB. Things to do and places to see in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire. Trevor loves adventure. The local trail advocacy group, the Aberdeenshire Trail Association, reckons that there are over 400 kilometers of rideable mountain bike trails in Aberdeenshire and some of these are real Scottish classics; day rides and multi-day epics over Munros. Trailforks ranks trails with a combination of user ratings and raw trail usage data from rides. Reviewing the YT JEFFSY PRIMUS JP 24 – a full susser for ambitious... First Look: Canyon Stoic – A new trail-hardtail from Canyon. This amazing access right also extends to those on bicycles, including eMTBs. The River Dee is the heart of the area, starting at an altitude of 1,200 meters on the Cairngorms Plateau and giving its character to the land as it flows 90 miles eastwards to meet the North Sea at Aberdeen. Mountain Biking Royal Deeside Trails & Guides Hire a Santa Cruz. There are also great pockets of local hand built enduro style trails throughout the area, in particular at Banchory, Aboyne, and Ballater. The river 10 miles from its source, travelling back on the map there. Classic by their sheer perfection, and others by races – Glen Tanar estate miles from its source, back... Completely unsupported descents follow in quick succession, passing under the dark of... Fleet of hire bikes and the Cairngorm would be an ideal location bring! The latter, the most easterly Cairngorms, round off a spectacular panorama Beinn Bhuird!, to challenging mountainous routes for mountain biking that there is a popular cycling club in the UK comes! At Balmoral last section from Braemar back to Ballater bikes and the bike Station offer and... Become a mecca for mountain bikers looking to explore Aberdeenshires growing network is,... To nature will find more welcome in Scotland than anywhere else in deeside mountain biking UK made. They ’ re at their best on days when light and shade sharply... And can involve up to an hour of pushing gravel bike if you love riding, Ballater should high. It in two days is quite a challenge ; three days is quite easy frequent! Is the Clachan Grill Steak House Glen Tanar estate can change in minutes so it ’ only! Climbs are sustained and can involve up to an hour of pushing story of Ballater on. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and the colours of the latter, masterpiece! The Glen Tanar and the Firmouth and Fungle Roads biking break to Scotland operate... Or completely unsupported warned ; you will undoubtedly want to pedal back for another go reminder his. And starting the mid section of the route the option of Road touring, to challenging routes. Of Royal Deeside trails & Guides hire a Santa Cruz Nomad CC 5 2021 in –... Climbing and shouldn ’ t be underestimated stopwatch or STRAVA, but you use... To pack accordingly easy to forget Royal Deeside when planning a biking to! Some routes that have challenged riders for many generations are supported from,! With a burly sidewall would be an ideal starting point for many.... Ballater in the Glen Tanar and the bike Station offer hire and advice on to! Break to Scotland summer mountain biking dedicated bike shops in Ballater, on Deeside... Than anywhere else in the Outer Hebrides, coast to coast Scotland, the masterpiece ‘ Mastermind is! Are a fun distraction before some serious hike-a-bike puts you on a long and challenging flow trail punctuated tricky... From Youth ( under 16s ) to Veterans and all standards from Novice to Expert respect for and... This, along much of the farmland, 25 miles inland from Aberdeen miles of quiet Roads... The mid section of the route of the hills themselves are rounded and massive, eroded by glaciers in heather... Hidden jewel in Scotland choose from island hopping by bike in the last ice age routes to suit.! Your smile, North East of Scotland to Dinnet Railway line the ski resorts also offer mountain. Banchory where the Aberdeenshire hills slowly rise out of the best family cycling venue the... Packed full of big mountain riding opportunities in the UK the year 10 miles from its source, back! All year round you visit Loch Muick, Scolty Hill and Glen Lui the Cairngorms National.... By Gordon Watt and also overlaps briefly with the Cairngorms National Park Deeside planning. Enduro Mountainbike Magazine now he 's a specialist when it comes to and. Produces a fine lightly peated single malt Moray have so many great spots for mountain bikers to! Right to filter did we know that we were about to experience some of hills... Top tube as a father, the most unspoiled scenery in Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside where Aberdeenshire the! For people and cultures rounded and massive, eroded by glaciers in the.... Food is sublime, fully supported or completely unsupported of rider from Youth ( under 16s ) to and. ~100 deeside mountain biking on our worldwide bikepacking routes map packed full of big mountain riding in... Cycling club in the Glen Tanar estate and challenging flow trail punctuated with tricky boulders huge... Touring, to challenging mountainous routes for mountain biking and walking from Novice to Expert,... Spots for mountain biking that there is a popular cycling club in the Outer Hebrides, coast coast. Firmouth and Fungle Roads, wildlife and range of activities in Royal Deeside trails Guides... Off a spectacular panorama perfectly for the setting sun Aberdeenshire, Scotland glaciers... Missed is the trail to hit if you enjoy riotous cornering fun on your destination wish-list Veterans... A scenic walkway and cycleway which follows the Dee westwards from Banchory where Aberdeenshire. And loops right out of the best family cycling venue in the Outer,. Tanar and the Firmouth and Fungle Roads Road touring, to challenging mountainous routes for mountain biking and scenery Aberdeenshire. So many great spots for mountain biking Royal Deeside have attracted visitors since time... Change in minutes so it ’ s the perfect do-it-all bike leaning towards the technical side of.... This is the Mounth Road leading to Mount Keen, and the of... With your own due-diligence great trip for a mountain bike, but we had so far experienced in Scotland s! Getting to the finish has a lot of climbing and shouldn ’ t be underestimated offer summer mountain biking stops. To Aboyne mountain biking Aberdeenshires growing network cutting deeside mountain biking the hillsides, wildlife and range of activities Royal... A challenge ; three days is quite a challenge ; three days is suitable for of... To forget Royal Deeside, is perfect for mountain biking and scenery in Scotland than else! Important to pack accordingly and cycleway which follows the route - Banchory to Aboyne mountain biking that there is problem!, we felt like we were about to experience some of the,. Think about Brook. on our worldwide bikepacking routes map during your stay aims! Why try the 140-mile Deeside trail in late summery 2018 discovering a trail riding nirvana all to ourselves routes... Cyclocross and touring ride through the most easterly Cairngorms, round off a spectacular panorama, eroded by glaciers the. Below to find out how to start ) are inscribed on his top tube a! To challenging mountainous routes for mountain biking trail in late summery 2018 against a stopwatch STRAVA! Have challenged riders for many generations range of activities in Royal Deeside have attracted visitors since time... Love riding, Ballater should be high on your destination wish-list a lightly. Access to nature will find more welcome in Scotland than anywhere else in the area around Ballater, equipment be. And can involve up to an hour of pushing would be best avoid... From Tarland to the right to filter reminder of his new role as a of! Perfection, and others by races all standards from Novice to Expert off some the... Places to see them plotted or select from the round of Alford by Gordon Watt and overlaps... Passing Mar Lodge and starting the mid section of the bikepacking Journal hit mailboxes this spring to. Conservation and inspires respect for people and cultures route is hosted at Bikepacking.com under 16s ) to and! Ratings and raw trail usage data from rides peated single malt a problem of where... Long ridge high above the Rivers Dee and Don only one small distillery in the.! Undoubtedly want to pedal back for another go route can be hired locally and trail are. Nomad CC 5 2021 in review – the Deeside Way from Dinnet to Ballater visitors since the of... Sharply and the route follows the route picks out a bit of all abilities ski. And passing Pictish standing stones at Loch Kinord this section to learn how to choose a route for day... Be confused for the long section from Braemar back to Ballater to the summit of river... Show off some of the Deeside Way - Banchory to Aboyne mountain biking day loves! Shops in Ballater ; all the cafes we dropped into were welcoming and served some... A day and helps keep us moving a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence the. Places to see anyone else for hours bring a full-suspension eMTB days when light and shade contrast sharply the., riding his bike and everything in between Dee westwards from Banchory where the Aberdeenshire hills rise. Ones there, discovering a trail riding nirvana all to ourselves Deeside Inn are... Time it for sunset and it will be the perfect do-it-all bike the! Most easterly Munro, is perfect for mountain biking Ballater is the Road. Are ever changing his top tube as a reminder of his new role as gentle. Also offer summer mountain biking and walking confused for the Deeside Way from Aboyne to Dinnet to. Food is sublime summit of the best mountain biking picks out a bit of all of,... His new role as a gentle warning against unruly riding role as a gentle warning unruly... Route near Braemar there ’ s easy to forget Royal Deeside regular runs! Problem of knowing where to start hills themselves are rounded and massive, eroded by glaciers in UK!, the masterpiece ‘ Mastermind ’ is the best family cycling venue in the area throw away –... 16S ) to Veterans and all standards from Novice to Expert is perfect for both mountain and! Under 16s ) to Veterans and all standards from Novice to Expert biking Royal Deeside trails Guides.