We are delighted to launch two special cycling tours in partnership with The Carter Company. Both itineraries showcase some of the best bike routes in Scotland and of course, the perfect luxury hotels to stop and recharge at the end of each day.
Awesome landscapes and fascinating history make the Highlands the Scotland of your dreams. On this gentle self-guided cycling tour, discover for yourself the details that make this region so beloved by locals and visitors alike. There’s a wonderful variety of scenery to cycle through, from cultural cities to tiny fishing villages, and gorgeous stretches of countryside in between. Freewheel along the shores of Loch Ness, stopping as you please en route to catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie and for a hearty pub lunch at local favourite, The Dores Inn. Immerse yourself in history with a visit to Culloden battlefield, the site of the last full-scale battle to take place on British soil. Learn about the local legends at the castles of Cawdor and Brodie, stuffed to the turrets with antique furniture, paintings and ceramics. Ride your bike through pine forests, past sweeping sandy beaches, under a monumental viaduct, and amidst verdant rolling hills dotted with grazing sheep. Sample local whisky at a traditional Scottish distillery en route and explore a pioneering eco-village at Findhorn. It’s all part of the magic of a Highland fling!
Gentle Cycling Tour (4 nights)
Duration: 4 nights
Start & Finish: Starts daily and is circular from Inverness. Inverness has an airport and the station is 3.5 hours north of Edinburgh. We can also arrange private transfers to/from the airport or from Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Activity Level: Gentle cycling
Electric bikes: Available
Mileage: 3 days of cycling 16 to 27 miles (26 to 43 km) per day with optional additional cycling.
Terrain: Undulating on day 3, otherwise mostly downhill or flat
Traffic-free: 10 % with the rest on very quiet lanes
Price: £1320 per person based on 2 people sharing a room
Included: 4 nights accommodation and breakfast, hybrid bike hire, your Carter Company Adventure Handbook, route directions, OS maps, host meet and brief, luggage transfer and a return transfer from Nairn to Inverness.
1. DAY ONE
Arrive in Inverness, capital of the Scottish Highlands and settle into your hip hotel The Rocpool Reserve in the heart of the city. You stay 2 nights here, leaving plenty of time to enjoy their wonderful Roux restaurant. Close by is Inverness castle. There are walks along the riverside, and the city itself has many restaurants and shops, where you can get kitted out in traditional Highland dress.
2. DAY TWO
After breakfast our host will meet you with your bikes and brief you on the adventure of the next few days. We will then whisk you away to the shores of Loch Ness where your cycling begins. With most of the riding gently downhill, you have plenty of opportunity to take in the magical setting of this vast and beautiful lake. Ride along the waters edge passing one or two pretty villages and their harbours. Enjoy some forest pedalling and lunch at the delightful Dores Inn, located on a picturesque beach. You also have the option of extending your ride across the Ness islands and along the Caledonian Canal towpath and the banks of the River Ness, before heading back into Inverness.
Optional 21 or 30 miles (34 or 48 km)
3. DAY THREE
Today is a completely different scene as you head east to survey the battlefield of Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie fought in 1746. Pedal under a breath taking viaduct and then up a few
slopes, after which you’ll be rewarded with an idyllic scene of grazing sheep and gently folded hills. Beyond lies the most romantic castle in the Highlands – Cawdor Castle & Gardens, which Shakespeare chose for the setting of Macbeth. Stop awhile here and then let quiet roads and a pretty landscape lead you to the ancient fishing port and market town of Nairn with its harbour and expansive beach. In the countryside nearby is your hotel for the next two nights, Boath House. This Georgian mansion boasts a Michelin starred restaurant, art gallery and walled garden.
27 miles (43 km)
4. DAY FOUR
Heading to the remarkable community at Findhorn in a beautiful bay on the Moray coast, the riding is flat but always interesting. Tiny bridges lead over streams whilst 16th Century Brodie Castle is stuffed to the turrets with antique furniture. Spin past forests and stop at a distillery if you wish, before pedalling along the waters edge of the tidal bay, a haven for ornithologists. Findhorn village is cosy with a pub or two and is sandwiched between the bay and a stunning 7 mile beach. Here too is a spiritual community that is self sufficient, has its own currency and is also known for producing gigantic vegetables. Explore the village and unique marine setting before pedalling on to the town of Forres. From here you can take a short train hop back to
Nairn or ride a fresh route to return to the hotel.
Optional 16 or 32 miles (26 or 51 km)
5. DAY FIVE
After breakfast we will transfer you back to Inverness for your onward journey.
Scotland’s Grand Cycling Tour (5 nights)
This road cycling tour is grand in every way. With 3,000 feet of climbing on each of the four days, it’s certainly a big physical challenge. The route traverses the full range of iconic Scottish landscapes, from epic mountains and lochs to forests and sweeping sand dunes. After a day on your bike the reward at the end of each day is well worth the effort, with stays in some of Scotland’s finest luxury hotels. With so much to see and do along the way, the option of staying two nights in each hotel comes highly recommended. Play on the world-famous golf courses, sample award-winning whisky at a local distillery, take a flight in a sea plane over the Trossachs’ glens, visit historic castles and unspoilt medieval villages, explore the historic and culturally vibrant city of St. Andrews, or spend the day in tranquillity with a spot of fishing on the lochs. Nothing could be grander!
Duration: 5 nights
Start & Finish: Starts daily from Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterader and finishes at Cameron House, Loch Lomond. Gleneagles station where we will meet you is 1 hour north of Glasgow and 1.5 hours from Edinburgh. Loch Lomond is 40 minutes by train to Glasgow. We can also arrange private transfers to/from the airport to the hotels or from Glasgow or Edinburgh stations
Mileage: 4 days of cycling 53 miles (85 km) per day with 3,000 – 3,500 feet of climbing per day. Additional 4 days of circular cycling routes available (2 nights stay in each hotel)
Price: £1630 per person based on 2 people sharing a room
Road Bike Hire: Carbon fibre Cervelo bikes including delivery and collection £280 per person, based on 2 people
Included: 5 nights accommodation and breakfast, one dinner, GPS unit and route directions, OS maps, your Carter Company Adventure Handbook, host meet and brief and luggage transfers
Options: Stay an additional night at each hotel, and choose to take one of our circular cycling routes, or take a break from the saddle and enjoy a round of golf, loch fishing, castle spotting and a sea plane flight over the Trossachs’ glens. Or simply take the day off and relax!
1. DAY ONE
Arrive at Gleneagles Hotel and relax in the setting of this world famous hotel. The day is yours to enjoy in the way you choose. The hotel offers a huge range of activities but the best known is golf
– with the Ryder Cup course and two further courses to choose from. Our host will meet you to brief you on the route and run through your itinerary. If you are hiring bikes from us, we will fit these too.
2. DAY TWO
This first day of the tour is stunning riding. With a serious climb across the Ochil Hills you are soon savouring the majestic Scottish landscape. Here are mighty views with wondrous sheep clad hills and a cosy landscape on the top. Skirt the shores of Loch Leven and the Lomond Hills before reaching charming Falkland with its palace, favoured by Mary Queen of Scots. Country lanes lead on to St Andrews – the home of golf that also boasts beaches, an ancient university and plenty more to explore. The Old Course Hotel, overlooking the famous 17th fairway with the sea beyond and the town close by, is your luxury stay for the night.
54 miles with 3,000 ft climbing
3. DAY THREE
Today is a different scene as the River Tay runs close by for much of the route which is peppered with some steep hills. Pass the Eden estuary where the vast tidal flats support a huge variety of birds before climbing up onto the hills overlooking the Tay. Ride leafy lanes and through woodland along the shores of the Firth of Tay to reach the bustling city of Perth. At Scone Palace, immerse yourself in history as you stand on the spot where many kings have been crowned. Then pedal northwards through peaceful fields of sheep, past the world’s tallest hedge, to reach the small town of Blairgowrie, gateway to the Glenshee mountains. Your country house hotel Kinloch House lies not far beyond with dinner included there tonight.
54 miles with 3,000 ft climbing
4. DAY FOUR
Enjoy panoramic views on this soaring route with spectacular scenery with some long stretches of quiet road unfurling in front of you and hills in the backdrop. Start the day riding through the wildlife reserve of Loch Lowes where ospreys nest. Take in Dunkeld village with its white washed cottages and cathedral and head south skirting Glen Almond and through forests and a series of authentic Scottish villages. Reach the holiday town of Crieff which nestles beneath thickly wooden hills and head on through pretty valleys and a string of climbs which make the day a special one. Cromlix, just outside Dunblane is your hotel for tonight. Recently remodelled, courtesy of Dunblane tennis star Andy Murray, this is a very special hotel.
53 miles with 3,500 ft climbing
5. DAY FIVE
The final leg of the trip leads west through the idyllic Trossachs National Park – an area of steep glens and tranquil lochs with some big climbs. Forests are usually in view with small traditional Scottish towns along the way. Pass the enchanting 14th Century Doune Castle and visit Deanston whisky distillery where they will show you how they hand craft their produce. Pedal beside Lochs Venachar and Achray before climbing Duke’s Pass, which affords incredible, to-die-for views. There are intimate landscapes too with cosy village pubs, stone farms and tiny valleys before you reach the tour end and Cameron House on the shores of majestic Loch Lomond.
53 miles with 3,600 ft climbing
6. DAY SIX
Depart at your leisure and we will collect your bikes. Balloch station is on the doorstep of Loch Lomond.
To book contact The Carter Company