Peterculter (and Empowering E-Bikes) is an ideal location to explore from on an electric bike, being situated right on the Deeside Way. This route is also part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network, and is designated as number 195. The route runs from Aberdeen to Ballater, and the vast majority of it is both traffic free and of good quality surfaces, being suitable for most bike types. Please note that all of it is a shared path for cyclists, walked and horse riders; please be a courteous rider, and ensure that you use a bell as appropriate to warn people when you are approaching.
Peterculter to Aberdeen
From Peterculter to Aberdeen the Deeside Way runs for approximately 7 miles along the route of the former railway line, with only one road crossing and with the route being level and entirely tarmac. The route takes you directly to the Duthie Park, home of the Aberdeen Winter Gardens and McPuddock the frog. The city center is then close by, with attractions including the Maritime Museum and the Beach front area.
Peterculter to Banchory
Peterculter is the furthest westward part of Aberdeen City along Deeside; going away from town therefore you immediately come into the countryside. The Deeside Way between Peterculter and Banchory consists of a mixture of sections on the route of the railway and other paths, as well as some on road sections using extremely minor roads. A wide range of attractions can be accessed either directly from or near to the route including
- Drum Castle (National Trust for Scotland)
- Drum Garden Centre, including a fine cafe to recuperate at. Note that to reach this and Drum Castle you will need to cross the North Deeside Road (A93), please take care here.
- Deeside Heritage Railway.
- Crathes Castle (National Trust for Scotland).
Deeside Beyond Banchory
For the more adventurous, the Deeside Way can be followed for approximately 38 miles from Peterculter all the way to Banchory.
- From Banchory to Aboyne the route is generally hillier and less direct than the section to Banchory. There is also a 1 mile section into Aboyne which is not officially part of the Deeside Way: there is a path that can be followed, but it is rougher than any other part. The South Deeside Road (B976) is still well used here, but not as heavily as near Aberdeen, so can also be used as an alternative route by cyclists confident in traffic.
- Beyond Aboyne, the route reverts to following the old railway line, is easy going and includes some of the finest sections, including a 5 mile section from Dinnet onwards where the route swings away from any roads and habitation through the heart of Deeside 'Big Country'.
- From Aboyne, you can also cross the river to the south, and a couple of miles further on access Glen Tanar, with a visitor center and extensive network of forestry tracks.
If going to Aboyne or beyond, it is worth noting the existence of the Cairngorm Electric Bike Network. This consists of a number of different locations that are happy for you to charge electric bike batteries when purchasing / using the facilities as appropriate. Also note that, as part of this, the visitor centers at Lochnagar and Glen Tanar have charging points that you can use.
Forests, Mountains and BeyondAlthough the Deeside Way and National Cycle Network terminate at Banchory, there are many further routes that can be accessed into the heart of Deeside and the surrounding mountains, again with minimal traffic.
- From Ballater onwards, the South Deeside Road (B976) becomes much quieter, and is a useful low traffic connection as far as Balmoral
- A few miles from Ballater along the B976 is the turning to Glen Muick and Lochnagar, which can be reached either up the access road or on forestry tracks on the west side of the valley.
- Beyond Balmoral, it is possible to follow a route round the edge of the Castle estate and along the south side of the river to emerge at Invercauld Bridge, only a few miles from Braemar (along the A93 - care needed).
- From Invercauld Bridge it is also possible to continue off road through the Invercauld Estate and directly to Linn of Dee. You are now right up into the main Cairngorm massif, and if you have come here from Peterculter using the routes above then you will have covered about 70 miles, virtually all of it on good quality cycling routes and with only about 10 miles of it being on road, and minor roads at that.