The Pitfichie trails, managed by Forestry Commission Scotland and close to Monymusk in Aberdeenshire, are mainly for more adventurous bikers; in recent years Pitfichie has successfully hosted events in the Scottish Downhill Association (SDA) race series.
The downhill course starts from the top of Pitfichie Hill and plummets down the heather-clad hillside. The course is tight, twisty and very fast with big jumps and is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. The cross country trails use the hills, in the forest to good effect, though they leave Pitfichie Hill to the downhillers.
Known as Pitfichie Mountain Cycle Trails, they are graded 'forest road' and red. Both are accessible from the car park at Whitehills, which has a notice board containing information on the trails and a leaflet dispenser.
The forest road explores parts of the forest and the lower slopes of Green Hill, Cairn William and Pitfichie Hill and is mostly forest roads. It offers great views of the surrounding Aberdeenshire countryside, including the Vale of Alford and the prominent hill top pf Bennachie.
From the red route there are two red trail spurs, which add about four miles to the ride and are indicated by signs off the forest road trail. These involve some climbing up Green Hill and the adjacent Cairn William, with the first taking you up Green Hill on a muddy and rocky trail.
After rejoining the forest road route, the second red spur takes you up Cairn William. Much work has gone into this section, and it offers a classic single-track experience. A couple of miles long, it starts with a gradual ascent wih technical rocky sections, some granite slab riding and affords great views of the surrounding countryside. Once at the top of Cairn William the trail contours down the hill and includes rocky jumps, granite slab, a rocky staircase - known as the Devil's Staircase - are great bermed corners.
Blue - 14.5kms
Red - 6.5kms
Black - 1.6 km downhill for experienced bikers only
Huntly Nordic Ski Centre 01466 794428
Changing Gear 01467 670111
Pedalpower Cycle Centre 01467 624323
Head to Monymusk Village and then take the B993 towards Alford. Follow this road for 2 miles and look out for signposts for the Pitfichie Mountain Bike Trails car park.
Kemnay - 4 miles
Aberdeen - 19 miles
Inverness - 98 miles
Edinburgh - 144 miles