Around 850 cyclists have taken to the the streets, the back roads and the country lanes around Grampian this weekend in a cycling challenge which is both scenic and gruelling.
Participants in this year’s Ride the North travelled 173 miles in a two-day sporting quest, with all the participants leaving Castle Fraser on Saturday morning and making the journey north to Elgin for the night.
Yesterday, in glorious late summer conditions, they ventured from the Moray town all the way back to the castle grounds.
With last year’s event plagued by horrific weather, organiser Neil Innes was pleased to welcome cyclists at the finish line in resplendent sunshine.
He said: “Clearly, we’ve been really lucky with the weather this year.
“People taking part again will remember last year was really unlucky, so this is payback and it has been great.
“It has gone really well. For us as organisers, it is about getting people over the line safely. We had a lot of good comments from day one about the beautiful scenery.”
Ride the North supports 15 local charities every year with the Sandpiper Trust, Charlie’s House, Kayleigh’s Stars, and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland among the organisations who carry out invaluable work across the region.
The community aspects also bring great joy to those who back Ride the North.
Mr Innes said: “I think a big part of the event is the community engagement and the people who help the riders on their way.
“The villages which have been part of it this year have shown magnificent hospitality.
“Our stops were Rothienorman, Aberchirder and Clochan. The second day there were stops at Edinvillie near Aberlour, Rhynie and Craigievar.
“We give the communities some funds if they support the riders, so it’s really great to see all of their involvement.”
Brenda King, chairwoman of the Aberchirder and District Community Association, praised the businesses and locals who pulled together to provide Saturday’s lunch.
She said: “It went very well. The cyclists were all happy to be getting burgers which we had been hesitant about beforehand, but they loved it.
“A few people who came said they had never been to Foggie before. Our community pulled together to give them a warm welcome and cheer them on.”