With the meetup groups Cairngorm Explorers and Aberdeen Cycle Explorers having a trip to Stonehaven via the Causey Mounth, I thought I’d join them and make a day of it, repeating last year’s trip back via the Elsick Mounth, and perhaps add in some new exploration whilst at it.
They were setting off early, I ambitiously set off an hour or so later expecting to catch what I imagined to be slower progress with a few newish cyclists. I managed to more closely follow the Causey route outwards this time. Starting beside Tollohill woods, it now crosses the roaring traffic of the ring road before the path passes beside Portlethen golf course, the path here fizzles into gorse, but I continued along the edge of the golf course keeping an eye out for incoming ‘drives’
Another point of interest I didn’t see last time – Auld Bourtreebush stone circle
Near Berrytree house, I also found the path south that I missed last time.
Along the rough back roads of Cammachmore, no sign of the peloton ahead
As I got closer to Stonehaven, rather than taking the most direct route I thought I’d revisit the Den of Glithno as a scenic interlude.
I followed a track west along to near the Houff of Ury so thought might as well have another nosey.
Watched a buzzard enjoying the blue skies for a bit then, headed back down the den alongside Ury burn, then made my way down to the harbour to meet some of the others who were having a munch and a beer.
After enjoying a cold pint, the others were heading back by train or by the same route, so I headed off to explore.
First stop Cheynehill woods to the NW of town, followed a nice bit of trail down to the side of the Cowie water. It fizzled out to disuse and overgrowth and after a bit of hacking, I regained a track near the Findlayston bridge.
A bit of road bashing got me to the start of the Elsick Mounth, and I was soon past the Lang Stane of Auquhollie with it’s ogham inscriptions.
Heading up Bawdy Craig into Strathgyle wood the path began to grow rougher and I was glad I’d taken the full-sus bike as I chopped across ruts, tussocks n rocks, still climbing to the top. The downhill side would definitely be more comfortable, and with plenty daylight unlike the last time a bit safer.
Enjoyed the view of Bennachie before heading down.
At Craigie Daff wood, I took a quick detour round the perimeter, then crossed over to Brachmont wood, zapping along the fire road until just before the gate to the road on the east side, where I noticed an almost hidden sign: the mounth path continues through the wood, a nice if short piece of singletrack, blocked by some branch and tree falls (I suspect few use this path so not likely to be sorted any time soon – might need to take a saw next time).
Exiting the woods, I crossed over the road to the lumpy section along side the field through Currackstane wood, which is worth sticking with, as on entering Ashentilly adn Warren woods heading north west, it’s all lovely woodland sweeping downhill gathering speed until rudely interrupted by the car park not far from the south deeside road.
The Park bridge near Drumoak has been closed to traffic, but it’s still passable on bike fortunately, so I can get across to the Deeside way to make my way back to Aberdeen
The tower of Belskavie glows in the evening sun. Another few miles and I’m done, for a total of 74km and 885m ascent. Longest day in the saddle in quite a while.