Cycling The Lecht
📷 by "Where The Bike Takes Me"
The iconic Lecht climb from the south has been described as a "true monster of a climb", and justifiably so.
Starting from Cockbridge, close to the star shaped Corgarff Castle, this stunning 2.5 mile climb leads to a ski centre on the council border between Aberdeenshire and Moray.
The road is very open and exposed so choose the day carefully when you decide to tick this climb off your must do list. Wind, and in winter snow, could easily lead to you not making it to the top.
📷 by "Where The Bike Takes Me"
If you get a chance to look around and enjoy the scenery then you will be well rewarded. Indeed, the views from the summit are simply unrivaled by any other cycling route in Scotland, if not Britain.
The Lecht - Vital Statistics
Overall Distance: 2.583 miles
Climbing Distance: 1.9 miles
Descent Distance: 0.62 miles
Flat: 0.06 miles
Total Ascent: 931ft
Longest Ascent: 0.95 miles
Longest Descent: 0.34 miles
Highest Point: 2112ft at 1.9 miles
Total Descent: 160ft
Steepest Ascent: 20% at 0.06 miles
Steepest Descent: -7.8% at 0.73 miles
Ave Gradient: 5.6%
The Lecht Route Description
You start your ascent from the bridge over the River Don, just after the turn off for the beautiful Corgarff castle. Straight away you hit the steepest section which greets you with a 20% ramp. This assault to your lungs and legs continues as you pass through the snow gates and past the art sculptures on your left. These are used by many as a good excuse to dismount and grab a rest! Continuing on, the road banks right and plateaus before a quarter mile long descent giving you a chance to recover and prepare for the next 0.8 mile ascent at an average of 8%. The second descent of the climb (if that makes sense) for 0.4 miles again allows some recovery before the final 4.5% push to the ski station.
Points of Interest
The art sculptures just after the first ramp are worth a quick look.
A Moment in Time
The Moment in Time sculpture, by Louise Gardiner, is an inscribed standing stone which provides telescopic views of the distant Corgarff Castle.
The Watchers by John Kennedy are four hand-crafted sculptural iron seats providing shelter from the wind, and stunning views over the Cairngorms.
Facilities near The Lecht
Free parking in Ballater and Tomintoul.
Toilets at the Ski Centre.
Nearest shops, bars etc in Tomintoul and Ballater.
Mobile phone signal good all over.
Nearest cycle repair shops are in Ballater.
Getting to the Lecht
Although the Lecht is in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park it is still relatively easy to get to.
From Aberdeen follow the Dee on the A93 to Ballater. As you leave Ballater take the A939 to its junction with the A944 where head left. Corgraff, the start of the climb is 3 mile up the road.
From Huntly or Alford head to Mossat on the A944. Turn at Mossat and follow this road for approximately 20 miles to Corgraff.
From Aviemore or Inverness head to Speybridge. From there take the A939 and follow this through Tomintoul to the ski centre.
Other Classic Climbs
Cairn O’Mount (South)
Distance: 2.07 miles Ascent: 1049 ft
Gradient: 9.8%Ave 18.6%Max
On the B974 this category 3 road climb starts from Clatterin Brig and continues without respite until reaching the viewpoint at the top.
Books and Maps
Cycling Climbs of Scotland (British Climbing Guides)
Coast and Castles North
Sustrans Cycle Routes Map
All available from Amazon