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See More of Home | Top 5 Scottish Bike Routes

Scotland is covered in a network of long-distance cycling trails spanning from the Solway Firth to the Outer Hebrides and everywhere in between.

Long-distance cycling adventures are a brilliant way to experience this country’s breath-taking scenery, travel to less visited areas and they are also a superb way to push your comfort zone. With the potential promise of travelling outside of our local area this summer, why not explore a little bit more of Scotland?

With so many routes on offer, we are here to help. We have put together our top five multi-day cycle routes for you to get planning for!

Scotland Coast to Coast

Distance: 124 miles

Signposted: Mostly

Route type: Tarmac road, gravel bike paths, tarmac bike paths

The English coast to coast cycle route from Whitehaven to Sunderland has been steadily growing in popularity even before the pandemic came into our lives. 2014 heralded a Scottish contender with a bike route through the Southern Uplands from Annan on the Solway Firth to the iconic Forth Road Bridge. Finishing just outside the capital gives easy onward travel options, plenty of opportunities for a shower and great food, but also keeps the route at about 124 miles which is doable for most cyclists even if this is your first tour. Anything from a hybrid to a road bike would happily suit this route.

Click here to find out more and buy a map.

NCN7 - Carlisle to Inverness

Distance: 548 miles

Signposted: Yes

Route type: Tarmac road, tarmac bike paths, some gravel bike paths

OK so this one does start in England, but the majority of this route passes through some of the most outstanding areas Scotland has to offer. You’ll pass through two National Parks (Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and the Cairngorms), a few large towns and one big city (Glasgow). But don’t let that put you off; the NCN7 is one of Sustrans’ most developed and well thought out bike route and utilises some of the forgotten railway lines out of Glasgow to make navigation a breeze.

Of course, you don’t have to do the entire route – why not start in Glasgow and finish in Inverness to make onward travel convenient or extend your route north of Inverness up to John O’Groats by joining the NCN1.

There are so many options here for a challenging but incredible route across Scotland, it’s not one to miss.

Click here to find out more.

The Hebridean Way

Distance: 185 miles

Signposted: Yes

Route type: Tarmac road

Spanning the length of the Outer Hebrides islands, this fantastic route hops between 10 islands using 6 causeways and two ferries.

This road cycling route begins on the island of Vatersay which lies on the southern tip of the archipelago. The route then heads north navigating through this chain of islands to its northern most tip, 185 miles later at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse.

The Hebridean way is way-marked throughout and easy enough to navigate. The route can take anywhere from 4-7 days depending on the amount of sight-seeing stop offs!

Click here to find out more.

The Badger Divide

Distance: 210 miles

Signposted: Not even once

Route type: Gravel paths, occasional hike-a-bike, the odd tarmac road, farm track, singletrack. You get the idea.

The brainchild of Stuart Allen, who works for Shand Bikes, the Badger Divide links Inverness and Glasgow much like a couple of these other routes do. But ‘The Badger’ is one for those who want a bit of gravel.

Well, maybe not just a bit of gravel – a multi-day epic challenge which might require you to carry your bike and sleep in bothies. Sound like your thing?

Read a ride report here and see the original GPX route here

Above image credited to Outdoor Provisions (ride report)

The Cairngorms Loop

Distance: 185 miles

Signposted: Not even once

Route type: Gravel paths, and singletrack

Keeping with the off-road adventures, The Cairngorms Loop starts and finishes in Blair Atholl and takes in the central Cairngorm Mountains. Twice.

This route has been created as an independent time trial (ITT) and is based off the shorter Tour of the Cairngorms which just(!) does one loop. The ITT is an unofficial challenge and for some they’d aim to do it as fast as possible (in under 56 hours to be registered as completing it), but the route is also there for those that want to experience wilderness and sleep out in it for at least one night, if not more.

Click here to find out more.

Share your cycling adventures with us over on Instagram using #alpinebikes


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