Cycling Lochs & Glens Glasgow to Carlisle
Single / Double
Any Start Date February to November
A seven night self-guided cycling tour of the Lochs and Glens from Glasgow to Carlisle. 7 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, 6 days cycling, luggage transfers, train ticket back to Glasgow, 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.
The tour starts in Glasgow, one of Scotland’s greatest cities, rich in industrial heritage and a thriving cultural scene. The route leaves Glasgow along the river Clyde to the coast, then heads south past famous links golf courses. The dominant feature of the tour is the rolling hills of Ayrshire and the Galloway Forest Park. Beautiful landscapes of rivers flow through valleys and lochs amid wild moorland hills. The final leg of the route passes through the popular tourist town of Dumfries. Known as ‘The Borders’ you will see ruined castles, a reminder of cross border raids that for centuries blighted this region. Despite its turbulent history, this ‘Gateway to Scotland’ is now peaceful farmland with quiet country towns along the Solway Firth. The larger city of Carlisle in England is your final destination of this tour.
START of TOUR: Glasgow is in central Scotland.
ARRIVAL DAY: At Glasgow. Your 1st night’s accommodation is in the centre of Glasgow near the start and finish of this tour. There are many places to eat in this vibrant city from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and a large variety of restaurants. Overnight: Glasgow, Scotland.
DAY ONE: Cycle from Glasgow to Kilwinning. Distance approx. 31 miles (50 km). After breakfast you will pick-up your bike from the shop (if you have hired one) and begin the ride through Glasgow on a cycle friendly section giving you plenty of time to get used to your bikes and take in the sights. The route starts very flat riding through parks and along minor roads to the outskirts of Glasgow. There are many opportunities to stop on route to have a pub lunch or buy sandwiches in villages like Lochwinoch and Kilbrnie. For the last 7 miles of today’s ride you join a quiet country road along a lush green river valley to the town of Kilwinning. There is a selection of pubs and hotels for you to choose from for your evening meal. Overnight: Kilwinning, Scotland.
DAY TWO: Cycle from Kilwinning to Maybole. Distance approx. 33 miles (53 km). Heading to the coast from Kilwinning on a traffic-free section makes this a superb biking experience with stunning views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran. At Irvine you will encounter the first of many golf courses, the famous links course at Troon. Following the coast through sand dunes you reach the seaport town of Ayr, an ideal place to stop and have lunch. A steep climb onto the Carrick Hills is rewarded by magnificent views over the beautiful Scottish Coastline and Isles. Descending down again you reach your destination for today, Maybole. This busy little market town has a variety of places to eat. Overnight: Maybole, Scotland.
DAY THREE: Cycle from Maybole to Newton Stewart. Distance approx. 34 miles (55 km). Today is the most challenging section of the tour, but it is also the most rewarding along a minor country road, quite remote in parts especially between Crosshill and Glentrool Village. Rising into the Galloway Hills you reach the highest point of this tour at over 400 meters providing stunning views across the Galloway Forest Park and over Glen Trool. The spectacular scenery makes the climbs a distant memory and on the right day this is a never to be forgotten bike ride. A long downhill section descends into the busy tourist town of Newton Stewart where you will find many places to eat from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and restaurants. Overnight: Newton Stewart, Scotland.
DAY FOUR: Cycle from Newton Stewart to Castle Douglas. Distance approx. 44 miles (71 km). Although this is the longest ride of the tour, there are no steep hills to climb, allowing you plenty of time (if you like) to explore a bit more. This section is quite different in character from the high moors and valleys you have already passed through. Flirting with the coastline you will catch glimpses of the Solway Firth passing through towns like Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright, all providing services for the traveller. Heading inland along undulating country roads in-between dry stone walls you will reach your destination for today, Castle Douglas and your next overnight stop. Castle Douglas has a variety of places to eat in the town from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and hotel restaurants. Overnight: Castle Douglas, Scotland.
DAY FIVE: Cycle from Castle Douglas to Annan. Distance approx. 42 miles (68 km). With only a few hills to start, today’s ride is predominantly flat biking through breathtaking surroundings. Heading out of Castle Douglas the route follows an old military road to Dumfries, with many tourist attractions including museums and the home of Robert Burns. Leaving Dumfries towards the coast is a lovely section passing the delightful Eastpark Wetland Wildfowl Nature Reserves and the ruins of Caerlaverrock Castle. You will continue along the beautiful Solway Firth estuary at times right on the coastline to your destination today, Annan. There is a good selection of places to eat from fish and chips to traditional pubs and hotel restaurants in this busy town. Overnight: Annan, Scotland.
DAY SIX: Cycle from Annan to Carlisle. Distance approx. 29 miles (47 km). This is the shortest and flattest day of the tour, allowing you plenty of time to explore a bit more if you like. From Annan the route follows minor roads through rich green farmland to the village of Gretna Green. This was a place famous in days gone by, where eloping lovers were married without residential qualifications or consent of parents. The route takes you across the border into England and your final destination of this tour Carlisle. The principle town of Cumberland has a busy shopping centre and tourist attractions including museums, a castle and a cathedral. Carlisle also has a wide range of restaurants and cafes for you to have an enjoyable evening out. Overnight: Carlisle, England.
FINAL DAY: Return to Glasgow. Today you catch the train with your bike back to Glasgow.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON & EDINBURGH to GLASGOW (NOT included in tour price): Glasgow is the nearest rail station. There are very frequent trains from London and Edinburgh.
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 C (cycling): Between 29 - 44miles (47 - 71kms) a day. The route is principally flat with just 2 days that have moderate climbs. 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.