Along the North Sea coast and over the mountain




May 2001
110 km





I did not bring a camera with me, I am afraid. So no pictures. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Stonehaven" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures





I moved to Aberdeen in April 2001 for a job which did not work out at all. But at least I managed to get in around 1000 km of cycling up there. Some really good tours, too. This tour was pretty high on my wishlist and probably my third bikeride from my Aberdeen base. The mixture of coast and mountains appealed to me.

It was a sunny morning when I took the first train from Aberdeen down to Stonehaven where I disembarked and climbed up the hill from this small harbour to the road taking me down the coast towards Montrose.
The road started with a long climb and then a long descent down to Inverbervie. Unfortunate, the sun had given way to pretty cold sea fog and I was freezing cold. But a new climb up again from Inverbervie did me a lot of good. The road was more gentle, but still undulating during the final parts of this coastal road past Gourdon and Johnshaven down to Montrose.
I did not enter this small town because I took the B967 road towards Fettercairn and Cairn O Mount. But I enjoyed the coastal road from Stonehaven and I hope one day to do Stonehaven to Edinburgh along this designated coastal road and cycle path over Arbroath, Dundee and St. Andrews. This tour has a very good reputation and is on my radar.

I turned my back to the ocean and went up this small road which climbed up a valley with a lot of farms and farmfields to a plateau where it crossed the main Aberdeen to Dundee road, the A 90. I did not like this dangerous crossing at all and I hope they have fixed this by now by making an underpass. The view towards the big wall in the background on my way over and slightly hilly plateau towards Fettercairn was scary. I knew I had to climb this wall somehow. The sun had now re-appeared again and I was already warmed up by all this climbing from Montrose. I arrived at Fettercairn where I had a small break. Fettercairn is a very pretty village indeed. On the outskirts of the village, I went past the Old Fettercairn whisky distillery. At that time, I very much enjoyed their 10 years old single malt. It is a good whisky by all standards.

The road up to Cairn O Mount beckoned. It was pretty gentle with a couple of nasty hills alongside a big hill until I arrived at a cafeteria at the foot of the mountain. It is called the Clatterin Brig tea room and is highly recommended. I reckoned I needed all the energy I could get before climbing the mountain. I was right. The two main hills up to the top of Cairn O Mount is absolute vertical and some of the steepest I have ever done. I pushed the bike and even that was a massive effort. Don't go there with a heavy bike and unprepared. The two big hills were separated by a flat part in the middle with a frightening view to the second and final hill. The hill topped out on just above 400 meters above sea level. My lungs was finished and so were my legs. In this baking hot sun, this climb took everything out of me.

I still had a long way to go back to Aberdeen though. The first part down the hill to Strachan and a valley leading down to the main Dee Valley. The road was mostly a descent, but the road past Strachan had some testing hills too. The scenery was brilliant so no complaints. I was soon down in Banchory where I joined the main road down the final ten miles to Aberdeen again. I was pretty exhausted and sunburnt when I returned back to my flat in Aberdeen.


Conclusion



This is actually a great tour in the Aberdeen area. The road down to Montrose a bit too hilly for my liking, but still a great road. I very much want to repeat this tour. The road over the plateau to Fettercairn is also great. The road over Cairn O Mount is sheer brutallity. The road back to Aberdeen is not that interesting with the exception of the road past Strachan. But the scenery is great throughout and that makes this a very interesting bikeride.
This bikeride is recommended.