Biking Tour of Scottish Highlands Lochs and Glens
Single / Double
Start Any Day April to October
Bike Tour Glasgow Scottish Highlands Lochs Glens
An eight centre self-guided bike tour of central Scotland from Glasgow to Inverness. Includes 8 nights bed and breakfast in (ensuite wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, 7 days cycling, luggage transfers, hire of 21 speed all-terrain bikes, emergency back-up and daily route navigation.
This is one of Xplore Britain’s most popular Scotland tours, beginning in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city with many places of interest to visit. This tour offers some fantastic bike rides through a wide variety of beautiful Scottish scenery. The route follows the river Clyde out of the city centre and then heads north to Loch Lomond. Scotland’s lochs are one of her most famous features and on this tour you will experience many of them. A cycle path specially constructed from a disused railway line provides traffic-free cycling through Caledonian pine forests and the Cairngorm Mountains. Queen Victoria described this old Glen Ogle railway as “Scotland’s Khyber Pass”. The tour ends in Inverness, but should you be interested in extending the tour further it is possible to add two additional days to cycle the Great Glen route ending in Fort William. We also highly recommend adding additional night stays in any of the overnight locations to allow time to explore the area at your leisure. We can provide plenty of information on suggested two night stays and local walks.
START and FINISH of the TOUR: The tour begins in Glasgow in central Scotland, serviced by an international airport and numerous train lines. The tour ends in the city of Inverness in northern Scotland.
ARRIVAL DAY: Glasgow. Your 1st night’s accommodation is in Glasgow, the start of this tour. There are many sites to take in and places to eat in this vibrant city. Overnight: Glasgow, Scotland.
DAY ONE: Glasgow to Drymen. Distance approx. 30 miles (50 km). After breakfast you will be met at your accommodation and fitted to your bike before beginning the ride out of Glasgow on a cyclist friendly path alongside the river Clyde, providing you plenty of time to take in the sights. The route then heads north and the scenery becomes increasingly greener as you approach the beautiful and famous Loch Lomond. On the banks of the loch is the town of Balloch with a visitor centre and the Balloch castle and country park. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings before heading inland for the final 8.5 miles (with a few climbs) to your overnight destination of Drymen, home to one of the oldest pubs in Scotland. Overnight: Drymen, Scotland.
DAY TWO: Drymen to Callander. Distance approx. 24 miles (39 km). There are some hills to climb on today’s ride, but the overall mileage is lower and your efforts are rewarded by magnificent views of the Scottish Highlands. The route uses minor roads that pass through villages providing services for the traveler, making this a superb biking experience. A track zigzags through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and Achray Forest followed by a steep descent to Loch Venachar. Following the shoreline of the loch with stunning views you reach your destination for today, Callander. Overnight: Callander, Scotland.
DAY THREE: Callander to Killin. Distance approx. 25 miles (40 km). Today is a very enjoyable section of the tour, with 20 miles of purpose built traffic-free cycling using a disused railway line and an old military road. It is quite challenging in parts, but on the right day is a never to be forgotten bike ride through spectacular mountain scenery. There are opportunities to stop for lunch near the site of Rob Roy’s Grave before a stiff climb following a rail trail to Glen Ogle. You’ll admire some impressive Victorian viaducts before you gently descend to your destination for today, Killin. At the southern tip of Loch Tay, this pretty village has a hotel, restaurants, shops and sites to see including the impressive Falls of Dochart. Overnight: Killin, Scotland.
DAY FOUR: Killin to Pitlochry. Distance approx. 38 miles (61 km). Today you will cycle the full length of Loch Tay to Kenmore where there is a water sports and activities centre. This ride is the longest of the tour but with only a few small hills it provides you time to explore a bit. A short detour will take you to the old market town of Aberfeldy, with a whisky distillery. Continuing along the River Tay valley this very scenic area known as Strathtay leads to your destination today, Pitlochry. A very popular tourist town, Pitlochry has a busy main street with many souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants. Overnight: Pitlochry, Scotland.
DAY FIVE: Pitlochry to Dalwhinnie. Distance approx. 31 miles (50 km). Today is the most challenging section of the tour, but it is also the most rewarding. You’ll head north on a minor road to Blair Athol and the magnificent Blair Castle. Another traffic-free cycle trail then rises gently to the Pass of Drumochter, the surroundings becoming very remote as you reach the highest point of the tour at just over 450 meters. You will soon forget the climb as you absorb the breathtaking scenery across the Grampian Mountains, the most dramatic views of the tour. At Dalnacardoch Lodge the route joins a lovely section through Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie, where there is another whisky distillery. Overnight: Dalwhinnie, Scotland
DAY SIX: Dalwhinnie to Aviemore. Distance approx. 29 miles (47 km). This is the easiest day of the tour, predominantly downhill giving you plenty of time to explore this glen known as Strathspey. One of Scotland’s most popular tourist areas, there are many places of interest to visit at Newtonmore and Kingussie. The last leg of the day’s tour is a gently undulating backroad with beautiful wooded scenery all around you; ideal cycling country. Today’s destination is Aviemore, one of the main tourist centres in the Highlands. Aviemore has many attractions (including a steam train) plus there are a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafés, and pubs. Overnight: Aviemore, Scotland.
DAY SEVEN: Aviemore to Inverness. Distance approx. 37 miles (60 km). Your final cycling day to Inverness begins by choosing from two optional routes to Boat of Garten before heading through forested areas in a northeasterly direction. As you cycle once again through farmland settings, panoramic views will open up to the north. The bronze age cairns at Clava Cairns are well worth the stop. A short diversion just after Clava Cairns will take you directly under the longest railway viaduct in Scotland. You can also visit the Culloden Battlefield famous for the last battle of Jacobite Rising in 1746 before cycling the final 7.5 miles into Inverness. Your bikes will be picked up from your accommodation upon your arrival. Overnight: Inverness, Scotland.
DAY EIGHT: After breakfast your tour with us will end. Spend the day exploring Inverness before continuing your travels. Should you wish to continue cycle touring consider adding the two night Great Glen tour from Inverness to Fort William.
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.