Huntly Cycle Route - Halt for a Malt
A scenic 45 mile circular cycle route starting in the historic market town of Huntly that takes in the whisky capital of the world; Dufftown, before returning via the charming village of Rhynie.
After leaving Huntly the route climbs as it follows the Deveron into remote moorland and hills. The first 8 or so miles is a steady climb followed by a 4 mile rolling descent before a last wee rise before dropping into Dufftown on the A94 from the north. This makes a good place to stop for a refreshment, but the question is "Will you stop for a malt?" In our opinion, a visit to a distillery is a must!
After leaving Dufftown you embark on one of the area's classic climbs - The Cabrach. The 18 miles from Dufftown to Rhynie has in excess of 1,600 feet of climbing so this is a tough section, though it finishes with a thrilling descent. From Rhynie you head north through rolling farmland back to Huntly.
Halt for a Malt Route Description
The start and finish point is Huntly Train Station. Check out our page on taking bikes on Scotrail trains if you are considering using the train. Car parking at the station is very limited, so if you decide to drive consider using the large Market Muir car park on George V Avenue. See our interactive map of the route below.
Leave the station and head into the town. Follow the one way system on to Gladstone Rd, then first right on to Provost St. Continue on this street to cross the main thoroughfare, Gordon St, and then take first right on to King St, then left onto Devron Road. At Huntly Motors take the road to the right to pass the cemetery. Look out for the turning on your left as you leave the town; take this turning to go under the A96 and onto the A920.
The road now starts to climbs as it follows the Deveron into remote moorland and hills. For the next 6 or so miles it is a steady climb, punctuated with a few short sharp descents that give you time to recover. At the 7.5 mile point, as you pass a ruined road side house take the narrow road on your right signed Drummuir. Follow this cracking wee road to the Tee junction at its end where you take a left to join the B9115. Continue on the B9115 until it joins the B9014. At 16 miles you pass under the Keith and Dufftown railway line; this is your cue to take the next right signed for the Glenfiddich Distillery. This road will take you onto the A94 and lets you cycle up Balvenie Street to the impressive clock tower in the centre of Dufftown.
It is worth taking some time to explore Dufftown. The town is part of the ancient parish of Mortlach, and the historic Mortlach Church is worth a visit. You may have glimpsed the remains of Balvenie Castle as you approached the town. The original building was completed in the 12th century and the modern day ruins are open to the public.
And of course there is whisky! Glenfiddich Distillery offers tours, and the Whisky Museum provides a unique opportunity to discover the secrets of whisky making in days gone by. Dufftown also has a selection of places to refuel - worth thinking about as the next 18 miles to Rhynie has in excess of 1,600 feet of climbing.
You drop out of Dufftown on the A94, taking a right at the 18 mile point (signposted Rhynie) to cross the River Fiddich. Then you start climbing. For 4 miles you ascend into the heart of The Cabrach - an exposed and hauntingly beautiful area of countryside. It is not surprising that The Cabrach has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Nowadays the Cabrach estate is largely depopulated, in part due to the heavy toll the first world war had on the community. At the end of the 1800s, the population was approximately 1,000. As of November 2018, the estimated population was 70.
Your previous climb is rewarded by a lovely 3 mile decent before, inevitably, climbing again this time for 5 miles. But from here it is more or less downhill all the way to Rhynie.
Along the way keep your eyes open for the the Cabrach Church, and the religous text on the gates to Auchmair Farm.
In Rhynie, take a left onto the A97 signed Huntly. Continue on this undulating road to the roundabout with the A96. Cross straight through, with care, to enter Huntly. At the first junction take a right and follow this road back to the station.
After returning to Huntly it is worth exploring the town. Huntly’s most popular attraction is the ruins of Huntly Castle. The town home is also home to two of the region’s most famous products, namely Rizza’s of Huntly ice cream and Dean’s of Huntly shortbreads. Dean's has a coffee shop and viewing gallery where you can see their famous shortbread being made.
Halt for a Malt Route Map, Profile & GPX
Facilities on the Route
Limited at Huntly station. Lots available in the town.
Toilets available in Huntly, Dufftown & Rhynie.
Refuelling avaialable at various cafes in Dufftown
Other Road Routes to Try
The Garioch Route
The 35 mile Garioch Loop leaves from Inverurie station and circumnavigates the areas most famous landmark - Bennachie. En route you pass castles, ancient standing stones and have fine views to the distant Harlaw Monument.
The Hatton Hoop
A 20 mile route starting and finishing at Dyce railway station and passes through the villages of Kinmuck and Hatton of Fintray. There is an option to cut the route short if need be.
The Slug Route
Departing the coastal town of Stonehaven this 29 mile circular route travels inland on National Cycle Route no.1 to meet the River Dee before returning via the challenging Slug Road climb.
Insch Leasure Loops
A series of three routes, all less than 10 miles, from Insch that can be tackled individually, or combined to form a more challenging route.
Create Your Own Route
The above route is a great introduction to the super cycling to be had in the area, however you can make it even more interesting by adding to the route or starting in a different place. The maps and guides below, available to order from Amazon, will help you create the perfect cycle route from Huntly, or Dufftown.