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Pitfichie Forest
Pitfichie MTB Trail Sign Pitfichie Forest mountain bike trails, or as they used to be known - Whitehills Cycle Trails, covering the flanks of Pitfichie Hill and the adjacent Cairn William are another Forestry Commission success.
Lots of imagination, hard work, and sweat have gone in to make the Pitfichie mtb trails some of the best mountain bike trails in Aberdeenshire, especially the red routes.
There are two way marked cross country trails, a suicidal downhill course and a host of unofficial trails and routes to explore. Testament to the challenge of the downhill course, if any were needed, is its frequent inclusion in the Scottish Downhill Association's championship series - only one of the half dozen or so that they use.
The way marked trails offer two grades of riding, both challenging but one that wee bit harder than the other.
 

 
Pitfichie Forest MTB Trails
The car park at Whitehills is the best start point for the cross country routes. A notice board provides a last minute reminder of the routes before you head up Tillyfourie Hill on a fire break road. As the hill flattens out the road forks right. Take this and continue to you meet the blue route at a Tee junction.
 
Aboyne, Alford and Strathdon (OS Explorer Map Active)The Forestry Commission provide a handy map of the Pitfichie trails - print one off here.
 
Alternatively, consider buying one of the new active OS maps, recommended if you want to get off the way marked trails and explore a bit more of the surrounding forests including nearby Bennachie.
 
 
 
 
 
Cairn William Trail 
The Cairn William trail (classed as a white route) is a long (approx. 11 mile) waymarked trail around the lower edges of Cairn William and Pitfichie Hill. The route climbs from the car park, passing the Whitehills recumbent stone circle and offers great views of Bennachie, the Vale of Alford to the east, and the Don Valley to the west. Expect wide firebreak roads, long steep slopes - both up and down, a few grassy sections that can get muddy in wet weather, and some exposed tree routes in places.
The Whitehills Recumbent Stone Circle, about a mile from the carpark is a convenient stopping point for a breather. It's not too easy to spot as it is not manicured like many of the other stone circles in the north east. The circle is about 20m in diameter, however only the grey granite recumbent, its West flanker and 2 other stones are in their original positions, although a number of fallen stones remain.
 
Red Routes 
There are 3 red routes: the Granite Top Trail which is the main XC route, the unnamed trail that passes between Pitfichie Hill and Cairn William Hill, and the short climb up Pitfichie Hill.
The Granite Top Trail branches off the Cairn William trail at marker number 16, close to the King's Stane - it's a one way route, so don't try it the other way! You are immediately on to a long, steady, strenuous climb with some rocky obstacles and slabs to negotiate. The man made descent, known as the Devil's staircase, is a great reward for the climb. Expect fast free flowing sections, tight switchbacks, and a few wee drops. At the bottom you are spat out onto the unnamed red trail. All in, the Granite Top Trail is about 4 miles long.
The Unnamed Red Trail passes between Pitfichie Hill and Cairn William Hill. It branches off the Cairn william Trail at marker numbers 10 and 13 and serves as access to the Pitfichie Hill trail, and a way to return to the carpark after riding the Devil's Staircase.
The Pitfichie Hill Trail is a short sharp climb taking you to the start of the downhill course.
 
Downhill Course
pitfichie downhill notice board The recently improved course is worth the hard climb to the top. The first section is fast, following an old 4WD track over several sections of granite slab and purpose built jumps. It then plunges into the forest via an awesome step down, continuing through a selection of roots, rocks and berms before reaching the new bottom section. This is smoother than the top, boasting several small man made drops before another massive step down brings you to the finish some two hundred meters in elevation below the start.
The downhill trail starts from the summit of Pitfichie Hill, see above for directions.

 
Getting to the Pitfichie X-Country Trails
Pitfichie Forest (grid reference NJ656133) see OS Map 37 Strathdon & Alford is situated on the B993 between Monymusk and Alford, about 20 miles west of Aberdeen. A couple of miles out of Monymusk there is a right turn sign posted Cycle Trails. Follow this road for about half a mile to the Whitehills car park. Don't expect any facilities at the car park, because there are none.
AB51 7SS is the nearest postcode if you are using Sat Nav.
 
To get to Monymusk from Aberdeen, follow signs for Aberdeen Airport (Dyce) and Inverness. This will lead you on to the A96. Continue on the A96 for about 8 miles to the Broomhills roundabout. Turn right here - signposted for Kintore and Kemnay - go straight over the next small roundabout and then almost immediately take the first left onto the B994 to Kemnay. Just keep going, straight through Kemnay on the B993 to Monymusk.
 
To get to Monymusk from the north, get on to the A96 and head for Aberdeen. After passing Inverurie and Kintore, look out for the Broomhills roundabout. Turn left here - signposted for Kintore and Kemnay - go straight over the next small roundabout and then take the first left onto the B994 to Kemnay. Just keep going, straight through Kemnay on the B993 to Monymusk.

 

 
Getting to the Pitfichie Downhill Course
Pitfichie downhill is at the opposite end of the forest from the Whitehills carpark.
Turn off the B993 into Monymusk and continue through the village to the crossroads about half a mile out. Go straight through the cross roads, continue past Pitfichie Castle to find the car park on your left.
 
To get to Monymusk from Aberdeen, follow signs for Aberdeen Airport (Dyce) and Inverness. This will lead you on to the A96. Continue on the A96 for about 8 miles to the Broomhills roundabout. Turn right here - signposted for Kintore and Kemnay - go straight over the next small roundabout and then take the first left onto the B994 to Kemnay. Just keep going, straight through Kemnay on the B993 to Monymusk.
 
To get to Monymusk from the north, get on to the A96 and head for Aberdeen. After passing Inverurie and Kintore, look out for the Broomhills roundabout. Turn left here - signposted for Kintore and Kemnay - go straight over the next small roundabout and then take the first left onto the B994 to Kemnay. Just keep going, straight through Kemnay on the B993 to Monymusk.

 
Facilities
Parking - Free, choice of two. See above.
Toilets - None
Showers - None
Bike Wash - No
Cafe - No. Nearby Monymusk has a shop and a hotel which serves good food.
Bike Hire - No
Mobile Reception - reasonable. Good in Monymusk.
Repairs - The nearest cycle repair shop is in Inverurie. See our page on cycle shops in Aberdeenshire for more details.

 
Nearby Mountain Bike Trails
Other trails to explore in the area include:
Durris Wood between Stonehaven and Banchory
Kirkhill Forest between Aberdeen and Blackburn
Scolty Hill near Banchory
The Bennachie Turnpike Trail located half way between Inverurie and Monymusk.

 

 
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