Cycling tour along the Western Islands of Scotland
Single / Double
Start Any Day February to November
A four centre self-guided cycling tour of Scotland’s Western Islands starting in Glasgow. Includes 4 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, 3 days cycling with route guide and maps. Hire of a 21 speed all-terrain bicycle would be extra. PLEASE NOTE: The only meal included in the tour price is breakfast.
This route offers the more adventurous cyclist a chance to explore the spectacular west coast of Scotland and have the opportunity to do some island-hopping of the western islands. Starting in Glasgow the route uses biker friendly minor roads, traffic-free cycle lanes and off-road bike trails. The tour gives you a diverse variety of scenery and culture from the remote Cowal Peninsula to the vibrant city night life of Glasgow. There are four short ferry crossings to the beautiful Kintyre peninsula and to the Isle of Arran, plus optional extra day trips to other islands or surrounding areas. There is an extensive network of exhilarating forest trails that provide you with extra challenging off-road excursions should you wish. The route also follows loch side and coastal roads from where you will experience breathtaking views across to other islands, including many pretty harbours, castles, abbeys and ancient stone circles to visit as you go.
START of the TOUR: Glasgow is in central Scotland.
ARRIVAL DAY: Your 1st night's accommodation is in Glasgow near to the start of the route. There are many places to eat in this vibrant city from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and a large variety of quality restaurants. Overnight: Glasgow Scotland.
DAY ONE: Glasgow to Gourock. Distance approx. 32 miles (51 km). Leaving Glasgow on a cyclist friendly route that is very flat gives you plenty of time to take in the sights as you go. Crossing the river Clyde over Bells Bridge you will pass the National Science Centre. This short section is a mixture of cycle ways and minor roads to the outskirts of Glasgow where you join the Paisley to Greenock Cycle Path. This old railway line provides traffic-free cycling right to the Firth of Clyde. There are plenty of opportunities for refreshments along the way in Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm making this a great warm-up day with no hills. Reaching the coast at Greenock you will see the Cowal Peninsula across the Firth of Clyde just before reaching Gourock, your next stop. There is a selection of pubs and hotel restaurants in the town for you to obtain an evening meal. Overnight: Gourock, Scotland.
DAY TWO: Gourock to Tarbet. Distance approx. 27 miles (43 km) Today starts with a very short ferry crossing to Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula (timetables will be provided). This challenging section of the tour is entirely on minor country roads (very remote in parts) with some moderate hills to climb. Your efforts are rewarded by spectacular views over this area of outstanding natural beauty. On the right day this is a never to be forgotten bike ride. Services are very scarce so sufficient supplies will be needed to last you until you reach the coast at Portavadie. Another short ferry crossing will then take you to your destination for today, Tarbert. This busy ferry port and yachting centre has many places to eat in the town, from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and restaurants. Overnight: Tarbert, Scotland.
DAY THREE: Tarbet to Brodick. Distance approx. 23 miles (37 km). Today you have the option of cycling to Cambeltown and further to the Mull of Kintyre, or cycling 9 miles to Claonaig to catch the ferry to Arran. A regular ferry service runs from Claonaig to Lochranza on the Isle of Arran, often referred to as 'Scotland in Miniature'. Only 10 miles wide and 19 miles long it captures many aspects of Scotland’s beauty in this small area. Once on the island there is a breathtaking coastal road to ride around while admiring the beautiful island views and the many standing stone circles. All roads lead to Brodick which will provide you with your final night’s accommodation. Brodick has a variety of places to eat in the town to enjoy the final evening of your tour. Overnight: Brodick, Arran.
FINAL DAY: The tour finishes after breakfast. You can spend the rest of the day on Arran or catch a ferry back to the mainland and continue your journey.
The nearest International airport is Glasgow and the local airport is Inverness. If travelling from London Heathrow or Gatwick there is a shuttle service to Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. Service bus 905 operates from Glasgow terminal to Glasgow station.
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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Discount rail tickets to Glasgow
GRADE B (cycling): Between 25 - 36miles (40 - 58kms) a day. The route is principally hilly with moderate climbs. We recommend that clients bring their own cycling equipment, clothing, helmet, shoes and peddles (if you use clip-in). We suggest starting cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.