Luxury Scotland's Ultimate Guide to exploring Scotland on Two Wheels
Scotland is the ultimate natural playground. Many of us have been discovering or re-discovering the pleasures of cycling in recent months and it’s a wonderful way to see and experience all that Scotland has to offer. You can cycle right from the door of the majority of Luxury Scotland’s properties. Many of the Members have their own range of bicycles and others will be happy to arrange bike hire for you. Below, find our user guide to some of Scotland’s great cycle routes, some suitable for all levels of fitness while others are more challenging.
Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Edinburgh – city centre to the shore
When staying at Fingal, The Sheraton Grand or The Dunstane Houses, why not try this gentle cycle of about 1.8 miles. Edinburgh boasts a huge range of continuous, traffic-free cycle paths, many following old railway lines. You can use the innertube map to follow paths such as the one from the New Town to the city centre to the Shore in Leith where you can enjoy a bite to eat before visiting The Royal Yacht Britannia.
Departure point: Scotland Street (EH3 6PS) Finish: Sandport Place (EH6 6PL)
4 Abbeys, Scottish Borders
When staying at Schloss Roxburghe why not enjoy a cycling tour of the Scottish Borders’ four famous abbeys – Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh, and St Boswells. This scenic, but fairly demanding cycle is approximately 55 miles long.
The Falkirk Wheel
The Union and Forth & Clyde Canals
When staying centrally at Cromlix, One Devonshire Gardens, Crossbasket Castle, Gleneagles Hotel, Fingal, The Sheraton Grand or The Dunstane Houses you can enjoy Route 754, The Union and Forth Clyde Canals, which is an entirely traffic-free cycle path from Edinburgh to Glasgow. At times it runs along the towpath of the Union Canal, a wonderful wildlife corridor and recreational space and you’ll also pass interesting sights on the canal such as the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift.
The route is 56 miles in total and is 99% traffic free.
Auchenlarie Cove, Galloway Forest Park
Dumfries & Galloway/Ayrshire
Scotland’s landscape was made for mountain biking, from purpose-built trails to natural, wild routes amongst the great landscapes. When staying at Knockinaam Lodge or Glenapp Castle, you can visit Kirroughtree, which is perfect for those new to mountain biking or for families, where there is a lot packed into this small section of trails. Alternatively, you can visit Glentrool, at the heart of Galloway Forest Park, with a range of trails from 3-36 miles.
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
From Rocpool Reserve or Boath House, you can enjoy some or all of a 26 mile circuit around the Beauly Firth, on the Loch Ness 360 Trail. This route has been a popular local ride since the Kessock Bridge was opened and includes one of the most pleasant cycles in the area on the north shore of the Firth. An alternative is a South Loch Ness circuit, which takes in many quiet roads to the south of Loch Ness.
When staying at Airds, Inverlochy Castle, Glencoe House or The Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island you can enjoy numerous wonderfully scenic west coast cycles. The National Cycle Network route 78 is on the doorstep of Aird’s and runs from Oban to Ballachulish then Fort William. You can take the small passenger ferry over to the island of Lismore, which is a quiet island with a population of only 100 people. Lismore is 10 miles long with a single track road. Fort William is the outdoor capital of the UK and the location of the World Mountain Bikes Championship. Further information can be found here.
Guided Mountain Bike Rides
When staying at The Torridon Resort or Kinloch Lodge on Skye, you can experience rides which take you into some of Scotland’s wild environment, real mountain biking in real mountains. With guided tours provided at The Torridon, choose the route that suits you, from easy-going trails through the forest or venturing into more technical terrain.
Fat bikes on Islay, The Machrie
Fat bikes are an exciting way of exploring and experiencing the coast with access to beaches and tracks looking for wildlife, exploring Islay’s natural wonders and historical sites. Due to their balloon tyres, they can float over sand and pebbles, giving wonderful access to this amazing environment. They are also simple to ride and no heavier than any normal bike.
Photo courtesy of Kayak Wild Islay
First published 21st August 2020. Information correct at time of going to press.
First published 26 August 2020. Information correct at time of going to press.