Biking Tour of Scottish Highlands Lochs and Glens
Single / Double
Start Any Day April to October
An eight centre self-guided cycling tour from Glasgow to Inverness in the highlands of Scotland. Includes 8 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, 7 days cycling with luggage transfers, train ticket back to Glasgow, route guide and maps. Hire of a 21 speed all-terrain bike would be extra. PLEASE NOTE: The only meal included in the tour price is breakfast.
The tour starts in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city once famous for shipbuilding and heavy industry, now a city of culture with a vibrant atmosphere. This tour offers you a wide variety of history and stunning scenery, riding on mainly traffic-free cycle trails into the Scottish Highlands. The route passes many beautiful lochs as you ride through the glens of Perthshire and Stirlingshire before rising gently onto the Highlands. Here lie the ancient remains of the Caledonian pine forests with views of the snow capped Cairngorm Mountains in the distance. A specially constructed cycle path along an old railway track enables you to ride this immensely scenic route called the ‘Drumochter Pass’ while avoiding the busy roads. Queen Victoria described the old Glen Ogle railway as ‘Scotland’s Khyber Pass’. A long decent from the moors of Strathspey takes you to the very popular tourist towns of Kingussie and Aviemore, finishing in the historic city of Inverness.
START and FINISH of TOUR: Glasgow is in central Scotland.
ARRIVAL DAY: Glasgow. Your 1st night’s accommodation is in Glasgow near the start and finish of this tour. There are many places to eat in this vibrant city from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and a large variety of restaurants. Overnight: Glasgow, Scotland.
DAY ONE: Cycle Glasgow to Balloch. Distance approx. 20 miles (32 km). After breakfast you will begin the ride through Glasgow on a very flat traffic-free cycle trail. As you ride through the outskirts of the city there are plenty of opportunities to stop and have a pub lunch or buy sandwiches from the many services on the route. The surroundings become increasingly greener and more beautiful as you approach, as the song says “the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond”. Famous for its golf course there is also the Lomond Shores Visitors Attraction and Balloch Castle Country Park. There are a selection of pubs and hotel restaurants in Balloch or nearby Alexandria for you to choose from for your evening meal. Overnight: Balloch, Scotland.
DAY TWO: Cycle Balloch to Callander. Distance approx. 33 miles (53 km). There are some steep hills to climb today, but your efforts are rewarded by magnificent views over breathtaking countryside as you head towards the Scottish Highlands. Minor country roads link small towns, all offering services for the traveller, making this a superb cycling experience. A steep hill takes you to a particularly nice part of the tour, “The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park”. A challenging forest section zigzags through the wooded hillsides with a steep decent to Loch Venachar. Following the shoreline there are some stunning views across the loch before reaching your destination for today Callander. There are a variety of restaurants here for your evening meal. Overnight: Callander, Scotland.
DAY THREE: Cycle Callander to Killin. Distance approx. 25 miles (40 km). This very enjoyable section uses a purpose built cycle track specially constructed from a disused railway line and an old military road. It provides traffic-free cycling through spectacular mountains glens and on the right day it is a never to be forgotten bike ride. There are opportunities to stop for refreshments or lunch and you can visit the site of Rob Roy’s Grave before a stiff climb into Glen Ogle. You will see many impressive Victorian viaducts on this section before gently descending down to your destination for today, Killin. Set at the southern tip of Loch Tay this pretty village is where you will be staying tonight and you can have your evening meal at one of the hotels. Overnight: Killin, Scotland.
DAY FOUR: Cycle Killin to Pitlochry. Distance approx. 38 miles (61 km). Cycling the full length of Loch Tay, today’s ride is generally flat with only a few small hills at the start and finish of this section. This allows you plenty of time to explore a bit more or have a swim in the Loch (if you like cold water that is). A short detour off the route will take you to Aberfeldy where there is a whisky distillery. It would also be an opportunity for a lunch stop. Continuing along the River Tay valley this scenic area is known as Strathtay. The route then follows the River Tummel to your destination for today, Pitlochry. This very popular tourist town is your next overnight stop. It has a busy little shopping centre with quaint shops, cafes and restaurants. Overnight: Pitlochry, Scotland.
DAY FIVE: Cycle Pitlochry to Dalwhinnie. Distance approx. 31 miles (50 km). Today is the most challenging section of the tour, but it is also one of the most rewarding. A minor country road takes you to Blair Athol and the magnificent Blair Castle. This would be your last chance for a sit down lunch. Rising gently into the Pass of Drumochter the surroundings start to change as you reach the highest point of this tour at over 450 meters. You will soon forget the climb as you absorb the stunning views across the Grampian Mountains, quite remote, this section is breathtaking. At Dalnacardoch Lodge the route joins a lovely traffic free section through Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie where there is another whisky distillery. Dalwhinnie is your overnight stop for tonight and evening meals are available at the guesthouse. Overnight: Dalwhinnie, Scotland.
DAY SIX: Cycle Dalwhinnie to Aviemore. Distance approx. 29 miles (47 km). This is the shortest and easiest day of the tour. Predominantly the ride is downhill allowing you time to explore a bit more. Cycling through Strathspey, one of Scotland’s most popular tourist areas, there are many places of interest to visit, such as the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore and Kingussie. The last leg of this section is a very enjoyable ride on gently undulating back roads through beautiful wooded scenery making it ideal biking country. Your destination for today is the main tourist centre of the Highlands, Aviemore. There are many places of interest here plus a wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants. Overnight: Aviemore, Scotland.
DAY SEVEN: Cycle Aviemore to Inverness. Distance approx. 42 miles (67 km). Although a long ride this section is predominantly downhill with just a couple of climbs at the start of the day. There is an off-road alternative route out of Aviemore to Boat of Garten which is well worth doing if you feel up to it. The final leg of the route passes close to the atmospheric Clava Cains burial chamber and the site of the battle of Culloden. This is where in 1746 the Jacobite forces led by Bonnie Prince Charlie were defeated by the English royal army. Your final destination of this tour is Inverness, with many tourist attractions including a museum, an art gallery and a cathedral. There is also a large variety of places to eat in this vibrant city from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and restaurants. Overnight: Inverness, Scotland.
FINAL DAY: Return to Glasgow. Today you catch the train with your bike back to Glasgow.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to GLASGOW (NOT included in tour price): There is an hourly train service from London (Kings Cross) to Glasgow. The nearest international airport is Glasgow, just one-hour away.
RAIL TRAVEL from INVERNESS to GLASGOW (included in tour price): There is a train every two hours from Inverness to Glasgow.
ARRIVING and DEPARTING by EUROLINES or NATIONAL EXPRESS COACH: This is by far the cheapest option for long-distance travel in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are very convenient buses from each major airport. National Express carries over 16 million passengers to 1000 different places in the UK every year, and thousands more from destinations across Europe and Ireland. You can purchase an e-Ticket where you print your travel ticket online in a matter of minutes OR you can obtain an m-Ticket and have your travel ticket sent to your mobile phone - no paper ticket required. You then present this to the driver on arrival.
ARRIVING BY CAR: Please ask for details.
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GRADE B (cycling): Between 20 - 42miles (32 - 68kms) a day. The route is principally a hilly ride. We recommend that clients bring their own bicycle equipment helmets, clothing and shoes. If you have clip-on shoes we suggest that you bring your pedals too. We will start cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.