The Deeside Way, also known as The Royal Deeside Line, currently runs from Aberdeen to Banchory with additional sections from Aboyne to Ballater and in the Blackhall Forest, on the outskirts of Banchory. Ultimately, the aim is to join these sections with a final uninterrupted route of approximately 45 miles from Aberdeen to Ballater. The Deeside Way starts at the Polmuir Road entrance to Duthie Park, just behind the David Welch Winter Gardens. The route runs through Aberdeen, Peterculter, Drumoak, Banchory, Kincardine O’Neil, Aboyne, Dinnet and Ballater and passes close to Crathes Castle and Drum Castle.
The track is now part of the National Cycle Network, as National Route 195.
The Deeside Railway Line opened in September 1853, running between Aberdeen and Banchory. This was extended in December 1859 to include Aboyne, and, in 1866, to Ballater.
“The line was planned originally to end at Braemar but Queen Victoria was afraid her privacy would be disturbed by hordes of tourists at Balmoral so she bought land along the route between Ballater and Braemar to prevent this.”(http://www.cyclegrampian.co.uk/trail/deeside.html)
Like so many other railways, the 1963 Beeching Report sealed the fate of the line and it closed to passengers and freight in 1966.
The D33 Ultramarathon
The D33 Ultramarathon was first run in 2010, from Duthie Park in Aberdeen to the outskirts of Banchory and back. This out and back race of 33 miles in duration is an increasingly popular event and is often the first ultramarathon that people run, myself included. At just 5 miles over the 26.2 miles of a marathon it is a great ultra for first timers and seasoned ultramarathoners alike.
The humorous race instructions from the D33 website:
“The concept is simple, turn up at the Duthie park car park in Aberdeen and register and run the first section of the Deeside way to Banchory, check in with marshall, turn round and run back. Total distance out and back is 33 miles. No entry conditions apply, if you think you can then enter and do it. If you get half way and find you can’t, phone registration with your race number, tell them you are a loser and take the bus home. Support, there is none required but if you want your mum to meet you half way with a jam sandwich then thats ok with us. Checkpoint at 1/4 way, half way and 3/4 way, roughly 8ish miles, 16 and a half miles and 25ish miles. Get to half way turn around point, then run back. You get water at the checkpoints, if drop bag needed at the checkpoints clearly mark your bag with your number or carry yourself or get from your Mum. Cut offs – This is a race for runners it’s not for walkers so lets be sensible, I want to be in the pub at a reasonable hour so run as fast as you can.”