Cycle Routes in Scotland
‘Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike’ – John F Kennedy.
On a cycle tour in Scotland you are engine and passenger combined, travelling at your own pace, on your own schedule. With no walls between you and nature, experience the scenery and landscape with breathtaking intimacy. Fresh air and daily exercise will lead to deep, satisfying rest. And you can stop whenever you want to sightsee, spot wildlife or take photographs!
At Spirit Journeys, we’ve created two very special cycle routes in Scotland. Let’s dive in and find out more …
Starting and finishing in Inverness, much of this 8-day self-guided cycling tour follows the River Spey, which is famed for salmon fishing and whisky production. This cycle route takes you through a wide range of landscapes with the opportunity for many historical, natural and cultural experiences along the way. One of the first is south of Inverness, Tomatin Distillery, where you can book ahead for a distillery tour, bottle your own whisky, or just pop into the visitor centre for a quick dram!
After a night in Aviemore, you’ll enjoy a day looping down to Newtonmore and back. Stop off at the wonderful open-air Highland Folk Museum, where you can step back in time and experience life in the Highlands from the 1700s to the 1950s. With a cafe and picnic benches, it makes an excellent pit stop! The return route to Aviemore passes the remains of Ruthven Barracks, which was built following the first Jacobite Rebellion in 1715.
A shorter ride the next day, from Aviemore to Grantown-on-Spey, so there’s ample time to explore! Experience an aerial adventure at TreeZone, enjoy a refreshing dip at beautiful Loch Morlich beach and visit the RSPB visitor centre at Loch Garten.
On your way from Grantown-on-Spey towards Dufftown, don’t miss the amazing Whisky Castle shop in Tomintoul. Dufftown itself is often called the ‘malt whisky capital of the world’ and is home to the famous Glenfiddich Distillery. The next day’s cycle to Elgin offers even more whisky-themed delights! Visit Speyside Cooperage to find out all about whisky barrels. The world-famous Macallan Distillery and visitor centre is also well-worth a visit. As you reach the beautiful Moray coast, there’s a great chance to spot seals, ospreys, coastal birds and dolphins at the Spey Bay coastal reserve and Scottish Dolphin Centre.
On the way towards Nairn, enjoy beautiful sandy beaches, visit the former air force base at Kinloss or the eco-village of Findhorn, and spend some time in the beautiful surroundings at National Trust property Brodie Castle & Estate.
Your final day offers the historic (and current) army base at Fort George, the fabulous Cawdor Castle, and the prehistoric Clava Cairns which have long been a source of wonder and have gained international fame recently having featured in Outlander. You’ll need to cycle fast or plan your time carefully to fit it all in, but the longer daylight hours help over the summer months! Your final stop before returning to Inverness could be Culloden Battlefield, site of the last battle fought on British soil in 1746. It’s certainly an 8-day trip you’ll remember forever! See the full itinerary and information here.
This stunning off-road ride combines the South Loch Ness Trail and The Great Glen Way, to create a circuit of Scotland’s most famous loch. By mountain bike you’ll cover a distance of 85 miles/135km with plenty of time to explore and relax. Beginning and ending in Inverness, you’ll ride along quiet country roads and off-road trails by the shore of Loch Ness and into the hills and forests that rise above it. First you’ll head south of Inverness on cycle route 78. At Dores, the immense Loch Ness appears for the first time. The north of Scotland is divided from coast to coast by the Great Glen, a geological fault line which has been further eroded by successive ice ages. Loch Ness occupies roughly half of this Great Glen. It fills a stretch 23 miles/37km long and nearly 2 miles/3km wide with up to 750ft/230m of very cold, dark water. See if you can spot the Loch Ness Monster! Further on, take a wee walk to find the Falls of Foyers, which are very impressive when it’s just rained. A delicious afternoon tea at Cameron’s Tea Room & Farm Shop is just the ticket to refuel after your exertions.
The next day you’ll head south down the east side of the loch and climbs up to the magnificent Suidhe (‘soo-ee’) Viewpoint. The views are truly panoramic, with a chance to spot deer and local birdlife. A long descent takes you past Loch Tarff to Fort Augustus. This village was initially called Kiliwhimin but became known as Fort Augustus after the 1715 Jacobite uprising.
Fuel up at breakfast for the hills on the west side of the loch on day 4! At the end of the day, your reward will be time to explore the ancient Urquhart Castle.
The final day of riding offers the chance to duck off the main route. Play on some blue and green graded mountain bike trails at Abriachan Forest, a community-owned woodland situated between Drumnadrochit and Inverness. The route finishes by returning to the Caledonian Canal and stopping at Inverness Castle.
What a trip! Take a look at the full itinerary here.