courtesy of Evans
Scotland is famed for its fantastic scenery, islands, hills, mountains and get-away-from it all feel. There are also plenty of roads that offer great routes for quiet cycling. Why not pick one of our favourite cycle routes in Scotland and head off for a day or two of fabulous touring?
Lochs & Glens North
Start: SECC, Glasgow
Finish: Ness Bridge, Inverness
Distance: 214 miles
This route follows the NCN (National Cycle Network) Route 7. It is a mix of roads and traffic-free paths. The ride takes you through both of Scotland’s acclaimed national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, with a huge variety of beautiful countryside and wildlife.
You’ll also pass six lochs, multiple castles and cycle over the famous Glen Ogle viaduct. The route has its fair share of long climbs but equally, there are some great descents.
With more than 200 miles to cover you can split the journey into day-long sections or decide just to ride some of the routes in a day and return to the start by public transport. Be sure to book ahead if you want to reserve a bike space on a train. SeeSustrans
Five Ferries Bike Ride
Start/Finish: CalMac ferry terminal at Ardrossan, Ayrshire.
Distance: 71 miles
A legendary bike ride is this island-hopping route on Scotland’s west coast.
The route, as the name suggests, includes five short ferry crossings and 4 cycle sections across the mainland of Scotland.
Many people ride the route in one day, which is possible if you time the ferries and your cycling carefully. Alternatively, you can take your time and overnight on the islands.
A CalMac ferry takes you from the mainland at Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran, where you cycle 15 miles to Lochranza. The next ferry heads to Claonaig on the Kintyre Peninsula.
From Claonaig to Tarbet is 10.5 miles before a ferry to Portavadie on the Cowal Peninsula. The ride to Colintraive is 19 miles and includes a long hill climb with fabulous views over the Kyles of Bute.
Another ferry journeys to Rhubodach on the Isle of Bute and then you ride 8 miles to Rothesay. The last ferry of this trip heads to Wemyss Bay and then a bike ride of 18.5 miles back to Ardrossan. Alternatively, you could take the train from Wemyss to Ardrossan.
More details of the route at Five Ferries Cycle
Scottish Coast to Coast
Start: Annan, Dumfries & Galloway
Finish: The Forth Bridge, near Edinburgh
Distance: 125 miles
The Scottish C2C was created by the same founders as the popular English C2C this is a new waymarked long-distance route for Scotland.
It takes cyclists through the beautiful rolling countryside of southern Scotland, starting in the small town of Annan on the coast in Dumfries and Galloway and heading north through three valleys, the Annan, Tweed and Esk.
The route then reaches the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh and on to the Forth Bridge, which is one of the great wonders of the engineering world.
You could easily start the route in Edinburgh and head south to the coast of Dumfries and Galloway. See the route guide book, The Ultimate Scottish C2C Guide, priced £11.50 from Bike Ride Maps.
Ring of Breadalbane Road Cycle
Start/Finish: Crieff, Perth & Kinross
Distance: 100 miles (160km)
The Breadalbane “High Ground” area of Perthshire boasts breath-taking scenery and lots of lovely quiet roads. The full 100-mile route is a big undertaking in a single day although some riders will be up for the challenge.
For easier days in the saddle, split the route into a few sections over two of three days.
In the summer, an Explorer Bus allows cyclists to access different start and finish points, such as Crieff, Comrie, Killin and Aberfeldy.
North Coast 500
Distance: 516 miles
Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66, the NC500 travels just over 500 miles in the stunning north-west of Scotland. First created for drivers, the route has become a popular goal for cyclists.
Most cyclists take a week to ride it, although others will be keen to cover it in less time.
The circular route can be completed clockwise or anti-clockwise and meanders through the counties of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire. Be prepared for long hill climbs and fabulous landscapes.