- Essential Information
- Accommodation - levels vary
- Daily Breakfast
- Transport to/from Inverness to Ullapool
- GPX files
- Items not mentioned in the itinerary
- Items of a personal nature
- Baggage transfers (available at extra cost)
- Bike Hire (available at extra cost)
Assynt Circular Cycle Route, Scottish Highlands
Those longing for a long-distance adventure in the Scottish Highlands should look no further than Assynt Circular cycle route. One of Scotland’s Top 11 Most Spellbinding Cycle Routes, this loop will take cyclists across the wild countryside of Scotland’s northwest. Starting from the village of Achiltibuie, the route follows a road that will allow cyclists to whizz past stunning mountains such as Sula Bheinn, Cùl Mòr and Stac Pollaidh, as well as some unexpected beaches and dream-worthy lochs – a must for a bike lover’s bucket list!
Lying 130Km from Inverness, known as the capital of the Highlands, time spent exploring the area is a must for those wanting to experience Scotland’s rugged loch-strewn landscape.
The Assynt Circular Cycle route is also a great add-on the Hebridean Way Cycle Route
DAY 1 – Inverness to Ullapool
Arrive in Inverness at your own leisure. Get fitted for your Bikes (if hired from us), then you will make your way to Ullapool for the start of your adventure.
Overnight at Harbour House Ullapool or similar
DAY 2 – Ullapool- Stac Pollaidh- Achiltibuie
Enjoy this epic cycle journey in this beautiful unspoilt natural environment. Start by cycling along the coast of Loch Broom before moving inland. Then, squeeze through a narrow but gorgeous mountain pass that abuts a series of lochs before returning to the coast.
Your first stop on this route is Stac Pollaidh, over 2,000 ft. This iconic Graham (a Graham is a Scottish Hill between 2000 and 2499 feet high) is called Stac Pollaidh. Stac Pollaidh overlooks the entire Assynt area, which you will explore over the next few days.
Carry on to the village of Achilitibuie, where you can enjoy the breathtaking views over the bay and the Summer Isles. This area is home to many sea birds, dolphins, porpoises, seals, whales and eagles, so be sure to take your binoculars.
Overnight at Summer Isles Hotel
DAY 3 – Achiltibuie- Rubha Mor- Inverkirkaig- Lochinver
Today you will start in Achiltibuie and end in Assynt. During your cycle, you will have a fantastic view over The Minch, the water separating the Outer Hebrides from the mainland.
Leave Achilitbuie, cycle towards Atlandhu and follow the Atlandhu and Polbain circuit clockwise towards Achnahaird Beach. Achnahaird Beach is a golden beach stretching from the bay’s length and all the way inland. This area is called Rubha na Còigich, meaning ‘Big Headland’ and ‘Headland of the Five’ in Gaelic.
You may notice that every other picturesque village on your route seems to start with ‘Ach-’. That’s simply because ‘ach’ or ‘auch’ means ‘field’. So, Achiltibuie (or Achd Ille Bhuidhe) is Blonde Man’s Field. You will see many Gaelic placenames on your route.
Carry on north on a 9-mile cycle towards Inverkirkaig. On this part of the tour, you will cycle parallel to the coast and weave past many small lochs. On this part of the route, the terrain will be flat, but there are times that it can be very hilly.
Carry on along the small country road to Lochinver. Relax in some of the cafés, browse the craft and produce market or get a small handmade cup or decorative plate
Overnight in a Bed and Breakfast in Lochinver
DAY 4 – Lochinver- Achmelvich- Clachtoll- Drumbeg- Kylesku
Today we will turn west onto the North Coast 500 to the turquoise water of Achmelvich Bay. Enjoy the sun at the white sand beach or explore the surroundings to discover Hermits Castle.
Next, cycle to Clachtoll, where you can visit the impressive Clachtoll Broch. The Broach was last inhabited in A.D. 50 when its tower collapsed. But the over 10 ft walls still stand today, making it one of the most impressive Iron Age structures in North West Scotland.
Carry on this road with many ups and downs to Drumbeg, where you can see an incredible range of wildlife.
Make sure you stop at the Drumbeg Viewpoint, where you’ll have an amazing view over the Eddrachillis Bay down below.
Next on the route, Glenleraig. This village does not exist anymore due to the Highland Clearances. It is now a beautiful and wild landscape.
Once you pass Glenleraig, carry on to Kylesku Bridge. This is one of Scotland’s most iconic bridges, best admired from the car park on its north side.
From people being told to leave in the 19th century to make it easier for people to come back 100 years later, this bit of coast alone has a fascinating history. Its three billion years of history is so rich that the entire area you’ve been exploring is part of Scotland’s first UNESCO Global Geopark. History and geology buffs will easily find one of the park’s activities to be one of the highlights of their trip.
Overnight at Kylesku Hotel
DAY 5 Kylesku- Ardvreck Castle- Inchnadamph- Ullapool
Today you will cycle along the shores of Loch Assynt, where you can stop at Ardvreck Castle. The MacLeods of Assynt built the castle in the late fifteenth century.
A mile more down the road, and you are at Inchnadamph, where you could see the Traligill Caves. Go along the path by the river, where you can view the cave entrances safely. Just keep away from the openings to the caves and others. DO NOT ENTER THE CAVES AS THEY ARE TOO DANGEROUS TO ENTER.
Then you are on the final stretch back to Ullapool. There are two climbs on the first half of the route, but afterwards, it’s pretty much downhill.
What a journey it has been; you’ve explored bits of the North Coast 500, snagged a locally made souvenir or two, learned a bit of Gaelic, stared into the abyss of a cave and maybe even seen a dolphin or whale! Talk about a journey worth travelling!
Overnight Harbour Lights B&B or similar
DAY 6 Transfer to Inverness
Our representative will meet you in Ullapool and transport you back to Inverness
More about Scotland
Outside the ancient and beautiful UNESCO World heritage capital city, Edinburgh, and other urban centres like Glasgow, once home to the largest shipping industry in the world but now a lively city of art, culture, great dining and bars, the visitor is entranced by mountains glistening with the silver threads of icy rivers and waterfalls tumbling from highlands to lowlands. Here you’ll find villages with stations where you need to put your hand out to request that a train stops and then suddenly, around the next mountain corner, a landscape peppered with gleaming lochs and expansive vistas.
Scotland has some of the last significant wilderness areas left in Western Europe. Here you can see golden eagles soar above the lochs and mountains of the northern Highlands, watch minke whales off the coast of Mull and spot otters tumbling in the kelp along the shores of the Outer Hebrides.
Scotland is also an adventure playground: you can tramp the sub-arctic tundra plateau of the Cairngorms, sea kayak among the seal-haunted mystic isles of the Outer Hebrides, mountain bike on world-class trails near Scotland’s highest mountain, trek along the valley or mountain trails and balance along tightrope narrow ridges between the peaks of the great Cuillins on Skye or take a speedboat ride into the legendary white water of the Corryvreckan whirlpool.
Scotland is a land with a rich and multilayered history. A place where every corner of the landscape is steeped in the past. A deserted croft on an island shore is a testament to generations past.
More about this tour
Further details for Assynt Circular Cycle Route - Self Guided
Tour/Cruise including overnight stay
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