Coast and Castles North (Edinburgh to Aberdeen)

The Coast and Castles North takes long-distance cyclists on an adventure that start in Edinburgh, crosses the Kingdom of Fife and end in the ‘granite city’ of Aberdeen. As you cycle you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of sweeping beaches and romantic ruined castles.

The Coast and Castles North route begins in Edinburgh and then crosses the Firth of Forth into the Kingdom of Fife where you will enjoy views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. The route then follows the coast north as it passes through fishing villages and historic sites, such as Dunnottar Castle, on its way to Aberdeen.

The route is 172 mile (277Km) and takes adventurous cyclists on a journey across the Kingdom of Fife and up the North Sea coast to Aberdeen, the ‘granite city’. Along the way, there are stunning views of sweeping beaches and romantic ruined castles.

As you leave Edinburgh you can enjoy great views of the spectacular Forth Railway Bridge, a great engineering achievement. After crossing the Forth Road bridge, it's on to Fife where there is a choice of the route heading towards Dundee. Route 1 heads inland through Dunfermline and over the Cleish Hills which have a very steep gradient on the north side.

An alternative is to follow Route 76 from Inverkeithing along the coast to Kirkcaldy and then Route 766 to Glenrothes. Shortly after here, you can join Route 1 to St Andrews. 

Both routes take you through the Kingdom of Fife with its low-lying countryside, pretty villages and historical sites. There are many 'links' golf courses around the coastline of Fife. One of the most famous is at St. Andrews. This famous university town is full of life and character. While there you can also visit the ruins of the once magnificent cathedral.

The route hugs the North Sea coastline as it heads north, with the occasional foray inland. From Dundee, there is a 17-mile stretch to Arbroath which is almost entirely traffic-free and flat. Arbroath is famous for its smoked fish (smokies).  Beyond Arbroath, the route mainly follows minor roads between the coastal fishing villages and towns.

Montrose is known for its tidal basin and wildlife, while near Stonehaven the route goes close to the cliff top ruins of Dunnottar Castle. This dramatic ruined fortress is perched on the edge of the cliffs and is an unforgettable sight.

You’ll end your trip in the 'granite city' of Aberdeen. There is a wonderful view across the city and its golden sands as you round the headland at Girdle Ness. Aberdeen is a wonderful city, with the harbour and the beaches close by. If you take a stroll along the water keep your eyes out for the resident pod of dolphins.

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Please note

We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness.

However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes.

Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces.

Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.

To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.

Please help us protect this route

The Coast and Castles North route is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

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