Aberdeenshire Ascents take cycle tourism to new heights

Cycle tourism in the north-east will shift up a gear with the launch of a new initiative that recognises ten of the region’s most iconic ascents.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:52 am
Members of local cycling clubs complete the Causey Mounth ascent on Saturday.
Members of local cycling clubs complete the Causey Mounth ascent on Saturday.

Aberdeenshire Ascents is a partnership project involving VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeenshire Council, the North East Adventure Tourism (NEAT) project supported by Opportunity North East and Scottish Cycling, and local cycling groups.

Following consultation with the local cycling community, ten road ascents have been identified for their combination of challenge, length and gradient, and each highlights an aspect of the region’s breathtaking scenery. The ascents in Deeside are:

Cairnwell (Ballater)

Gairnshiel (Ballater)

Lecht (Strathdon)

My Lord’s Throat (Alford)

Queen’s View (Aboyne)

Other ascents can be found in Huntly, Aberdeen, Fraserburgh and Laurencekirk. Aberdeenshire Council has installed signage at the start and finish of each ascent.

Chris Foy, CEO VisitAberdeenshire, said: “This exciting project further underlines the north-east as a go-to destination for the keen cyclist and highlights that we are home to some of the country’s most challenging and rewarding cycle routes. We are confident that this initiative will provide a major boost to the local visitor economy especially as the return of the prestigious Tour of Britain race this September, includes one of the ascents, Cairnwell, as its finish.”

Jim Savege, chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Aberdeenshire Ascents will provide both local riders and those from further afield with a tremendous opportunity to experience for themselves these superb climbs which are at the same time beautifully scenic yet hugely challenging.

“As was clearly demonstrated when we hosted the final stage of last year’s Tour of Britain, there is massive local support for cycling here in the north-east of Scotland and I am convinced the ten routes will become a ‘must-do’ activity for many riders in the months ahead.”

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East said: “North east Scotland has the ambition and amazing natural assets to be a leading adventure tourism destination. Aberdeenshire Ascents is the latest example of the North East Adventure Tourism project partners, including ONE, investing in facilities, infrastructure and marketing to attract more visitors and spending, and support jobs in businesses across rural communities and the city.”

Colin Allanach, chair of Scottish Cycling Grampian said: “This is a great initiative to promote cycle tourism in the North east. This will bring in many people, from all over, to sample some of the fantastic climbs local cyclists know and love.”

To mark the launch, representatives from cycling clubs across the area were encouraged to ride the routes on April 30. Prizes of limited-edition Aberdeenshire Ascents jerseys will be on offer for the best photography posted throughout May using the hashtag #rideabdn

Information on the ascents can be found at www.visitabdn.com/ascents