Touring Scotland

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  • Has anyone ridden the Hebrides cycle route before from Barra to Lewis? Planning to do it in late May. It's only 185 miles, and so I was thinking I could do it over 4-5 days for a relaxed trip, but tinternet says 7 days which seems a lot... Any thoughts? Are ferries regular enough that I can just turn up with my bike and hop on, or is that something I need to plan around?

    Also, apparently everyone does it south to north due to the wind. Has anyone ridden it north to south? The trains work out better for me in that direction based on dates!


  • Ridden some of it, you would absolutely want some spare days in case of bad weather or wind. There's no shelter just about anywhere on the islands, and it's brutal when it's bad.

    You must stay at Berneray Hostel, the most wonderful spot at the end of the world. And Mangersta bothy, if you book ahead.

    All ferries information on the CalMac website. But be aware they are not infrequently cancelled due to bad weather.

  • You need to plan around the ferries, yeah. Some are quite regular, some are only a few per day.

    My friends and I did:

    • day 0 - travel to Barra
    • day 1 - Castlebay - Carinish, 94.68km, 4:58:48 moving time, 492m elevation
    • day 2 - Carinish - about 11km from Tarbert, 65.87km, 3:44:24, 532m

    then we went to Skye instead of on up to Stornoway. (Not sure if those distances include ferries)

    On that basis I reckon it'd be doable in 4-5 days but we were lucky with the weather and as @platypus says you might want to factor some time in for that. Last time I went to Rum we got stuck in a bothy for a whole day (i.e. 2 nights) as the remnants of some horrid tropical cyclone were blowing in. The weather's more extreme on the Outer Hebs...

  • Finally bothered to get the photos from our trip a few years back, man I want to go back as soon as the kiddos are old enough.

    First photos, Tarf Hotel bothy, what a day. Many rivers, a big antler found, lots of climbing, soft trails on 35mm tyres. Hard work.

    The following day we trekked up and over, I’m claiming a small mountain! Then rode down the other side, so fucking good.

    In all we rode Aberdeen to the end of loch rannoch, then got the train to fort William. Planning to write up the trip shortly.

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  • Absolute dream.

    One bothy we trekked for 2 hours and decided it was closing in so best to head back to ballater (or maybe braemar) - will check bothy name and town!


    Shielin of Mark - we could not reach
    Headed back to Ballater to sleep by the river and road detour to Braemar the next day

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  • Planning on riding Fort William to Inverness over a couple of days with kids. Has anyone taken the ‘South Loch Ness Trail’? Trying to work out how off-road it is, and whether to take trailer.

  • Is there any reason why you wouldn’t do the Badger Divide route from south to north (starting in Glasgow)? I was thinking the sleeper back from Inverness might work a little better logistically.

  • I met a guy doing it in that direction as I did it North to South. No reason why not at all.

  • The DH section through the woods just before Drumnadrochit is an absolute fucking hoot, you'd miss that going S-N.

  • So to answer the question that no-one else asked but I'l answer anyway (got a bit of time on my hands)..!

    Lochs and Glens was completely doable on a road bike. This was during summertime though and I travelled super-light. That said, it was really slow going as I had to be cautious not to puncture so definitely would have been more enjoyable (and probably faster) on of a gravel or CX bike which I stupidly decided not to take as I thought it would be too "slow and heavy." Ugh!

    Anyway, here are a few pics to get an idea of the ground conditions. This was the worst of it, which you can see isn't that bad....

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  • Anyone done the Great North Trail:­rth-trail-full-route-cape-wrath

    It starts in Eng and goes to Cape Wrath or JOG using this route:

    If I don't get to use my hols for Spain, Scotland has always been on the cards. I'm just trying to convince the missus we won't die taking gravel bikes up there...

  • Was thinking of trying to ride to Cape Wrath then back down and up to JOG.

    Then over to Thurso for a train back down?

  • Imo the best riding in North Scotland is the North West - Thurso area is a bit less inspiring. Ullapool, Loch Inver etc is top notch.

  • Yeah, I wasn't looking to Thurso for anything other than a train station and I want to get to JOG because, well, it's JOG and I never made it there last time.

  • If you want to do it properly go to Dunnet head as the most Northerly point on the british mainland. !!!
    Its vaguely on the way back to Thurso,

  • I mean, I'm more worried about surviving any of it right now to be honest but I guess I could add that to the list. #scopecreep

    EDIT: Oh it's like 24k away. Yeah, that could be done head JOG to Thurso if we make it that far.

  • Going to be in Edinburgh for 5 days in mid August. Other than some family stuff, pretty free to do as much cycling as I can. Looks like some local routes have been posted in the Edinburgh thread all doing loops south and/or a bit east/west of the city. I might check these out, but also am tempted to go north maybe towards Perthshire and do a few days proper touring staying in B&Bs if there's anywhere available.

    Quite tempted to do some offroad too and try some of these routes if I decide to take my Vagabond:

    But I guess probably safest option would be stick to road routes, due to weather and remoteness of those trails etc.

    Any thoughts/ recommendations? Would the midges be intolerable?

  • I'm doing the North Coast 500 on Thursday. Are resupply options ok?

  • My info is a bit out of date as it’s 2 years since I cycled there, but supplies are few and far between

  • I had no issues when I did it a few years back. If you're happy riding with your days food it's easily done.

  • Midges are worst on the West Coast. Still present elsewhere but if you're riding and not even camping then I doubt you'll have any issues. Watch out for clegs, who love to settle on you and bite when you slow down for a climb, haha

    If you can, get up to Glen lyon and over the Ben Lawers climb. Great roads round there.

  • I need to equip the missus with some waterproof/warm gear. She's got one of these (­lothing-mens/insulated-jacket/montbell-u­l-thermawrap-jacket) for warmth but I'm looking for a rain shell for her, maybe hooded, like my RAB Flashpoint and maybe some waterproof trousers? I have Goretex shorts but I've never cycled with waterproof trousers so wouldn't know where to start. Or maybe she'll just stick with the shorts like I do and use knee or leg warmers?


  • Cheers for the recommendation. Will take bug repellent etc.

  • Give us a shout if you want

    Happy to oblige with some routes or even company

    Can furnish you with Perthshire routes as well, having moved down from there last year

  • Kicking off a two week tour of the Islands from August 14th.


    Day 0:Cycle Aberdeen to Dundee to meet mate then cycle to Stirling for night.
    Day 1: Cycle from Stirling to Adrossan for evening Ferry to Arran

    2 days exploring Arran
    Morning of Day 4 Cycle to Lochranza and Ferry to Claonaig then pedal over to Kennacraig for Ferry to Islay.
    Day5+6: Explore Islay
    Day 6: Explore Islay more and ferry in afternoon back to Kennacraig. Head North
    Day 7: Get to Oban and catch Ferry to Barra
    Day7-14: Ride up the Hebrides
    Day 15: Ferry to Ullapool.
    Day 16: Cycle to Inverness and either train home or cycle the 200k depending on the bike booking options.

    Mix of B&B, campsites and wild camping. I'll be on my Surly Disc Trucker with a flat bar and panniers.

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Touring Scotland

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