Coast-to-Coast Mountain Biking in Scotland

Glasgow | Scotland
5.00
5 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to mountain bike in the Scottish Highlands

  • Trip Highlight

    235-mile coast-to-coast MTB traverse through the heart of Scotland

  • Trip Highlight

    World-famous Isle of Sky, Loch Ness, and Cairngorms National Park

  • Trip Highlight

    Varied and challenging route in one of Europe’s most scenic regions

Pedal your way through lands where fantasy meets countless adventure opportunities—the Scottish Highlands. Riding from coast to coast over 6 days, immerse yourself into the rugged wilderness with primeval conifer forests overlooked by medieval castles and countless lochs shrouded in mist(eries). Your 235-mile dive into the heart of the Highlands includes everything from laidback loch-side paths and ancient flower-strewn drove roads, to tantilizing forest tracks and meandering river banks. Don’t get completely buiguiled by the landscapes though—the trails here are epic, but never forgiving! Managing twisting swithcbacks, strenous climbs, and rough descents with the supervision of your expert guide, let the fairytale vistas of Scotland be the backdrop for your legendary MTB adventure.

Season

June through September

Nearest city

Glasgow, Scotland is 4 hours from Invershiel, your starting point

Duration

7 days (6 cycling days)

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Week-long Coast-to-Coast MTB Traverse through the Scottish Highlands

7 days

Traverse the Scottish Highlands from west to east coast over 6 days with your expert guide! Riding here presents a thrilling challenge even for experienced MTB enthusiasts, while magical vistas and great food and culture make you experience this unique country in an adrenaline-driven way and far from major urban centers. Enjoy full days of riding in a combination of demanding and laidback terrain and unwind in quality accommodations in picturesque villages, estates, or beside gorgeous lochs.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Glasgow, transfer to Loch Duich

Meet your guides at Glasgow International Airport (GLA). Make sure to book a flight or get to the airport before 11am. Your guides will take you to Invershiel, situated on the west coast of Scotland. Spend the first night scenically positioned by the shores of Loch Duich— the perfect base for the biking journey which starts the following day. The evening is reserved for a gear check, going over the final details of the itinerary, and getting to know your guides and fellow mountain bikers over dinner!
Meals: No meals included

lake-duich-first-stop-mtb-trip

Day 2: Corran to Fort Augustus

Following an early Scottish breakfast, the adventure starts with a short transfer to Corran where your biking journey begins. Relish the dramatic landscapes across the Isle of Skye and the jagged peaks of the Cullins. A strenuous track takes your group to Glen Arnisdale past Dubh Lochain, over the pass and then down towards a picturesque country road. This road will take you up to and along Loch Quoich, meandering your way into Glen Garry and taking a forest trail to the loch’s southern shore. Follow the path along the Caledonian Canal and you will end up in Fort Augustus, situated at the southern point of Loch Ness.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 47 miles / 74 km

Mountain bikers riding along a forest trail in the Scottish Highlands.

Day 3: Fort Augustus to Kingussie

Starting in Fort Augustus, get a few miles under your wheels before a face-off with the Corrieairack Pass (772m / 2500ft)—the highest point of the entire adventure. The climb up the Corrieairack is a tough and long climb, but you will be rewarded with an exhilarating descent, showcasing mountain biking in Scotland at its wildest. Once you have reached the pass, the route follows the River Spey at Melgrave. Continue downhill to Garva Bridge and then along a country road leading you to Laggan.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 36 miles / 58 km

Mountain bikers riding a trail cutting a field in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by small conifer woods and low mountains.

Day 4: Kingussie to Tomintoul

Begin another day with a ride through the Inshriach Forest. Later, you will follow the Spey Valley, before turning eastward through the Rothiemurchus Estate. Enjoy a proper Scottish lunch on the shores of Loch Morlich located in the heart of the magical Glenmore Forest Park. Later you will ride the elusive forest tracks and wild moorland singletracks crossing the Braes of Abernethy. After an afternoon snack at the Bridge of Avon, the riding continues with going up to Tomintoul—the highest village in the Highlands surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 43 miles / 69 km

A mountain biker riding uphill along a trail in the Scottish Highlands.

Day 5: Tomintoul to Ballater

Following the route through the east side of the Cairngorm Mountains, you will head south along the banks of the River Avon and into Glen Builg. With spectacular mountains to the west, the route soon takes your group up and over the side of Culardoch before descending to Invercauld House. Finally, you will bike along the River Dee and past the royal estate at Balmoral and on to Ballater, where you will overnight.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 36 miles / 58 km

A mountain biker riding a trail cutting across a filed of purple flowers (heathers) in Scotland.

Day 6: Ballater to Edzell

The morning of your last full biking day starts with a flat ride following the River Dee to Dinnet—the eastern gateway to both the Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park. Pass the towering Caledonian Pines of the Forest of Glen Tanar. The next objective is Mounth Road, a technical singletrack route meandering up and round the side of Mount Keen. From here it’s all downhill all the way to Glen Esk. Follow the banks of another river called Esk, along a section of fun woodland singletrack taking your group to the picturesque village of Edzell, where you will stay for your last night of the grand traverse. Celebrate your achievements with your group and sample one of the fine malts.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 40 miles / 65 km

A group of mountain bikers posing for a photo on a stone bridge in the Scottish Highlands.

Day 7: Edzell to Montrose

Treat yourself to a final Scottish breakfast—the final section to Montrose is a laid back ride posing no challenges. Enjoy the 15-mile countryside ride from Edzell to Montrose, where your coast-to-coast escapade ends. Upon reaching your final destination, toast with your squad to celebrate the completion of this epic adventure. Visit a nearby leisure center for a warming shower. Afterwards, it’s back to the Glasgow International Airport. Say goodbye to your guide and Scotland or continue touring on your own.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: 15 miles / 24 km

A mountain biker riding along a loch-side path in Scotland.
Reviews

Reviews (5)

Simon about Saddle Skedaddle on Guide's Web

Really superb guides can’t fault them. Obviously very experienced cyclist’s so it was great to learn from them. Hope to ride with them again. Great fun to be with both during the riding and the evenings. Very knowledgable about the area. Nothing to much trouble. Up to the usual Skedaddle high standard. Tomintoul to Ballater had some superb technical single track and a great fast decent. Mount Keen also worth a mention for it’s challenging climb technical single track across the top and awesome decent. I would recommend this holiday to any keen mountain biker as a must do trip!

Malcolm about Saddle Skedaddle on Guide's Web

Every day was excellent but I’m still smiling from the downhill descent on day 6 (Ballator to Edzell) after lugging our bikes over the hill – quite spectacular! Hire bikes were excellent, would happily have taken it home with me. The guides were amazing! All had such a great sense of humour, were good fun and very encouraging – the perfect ambassadors for Skedaddle! A great escape from what has been a rough couple of years – the guides helped the whole experience feel very Covid safe.

Fred about Saddle Skedaddle on Guide's Web

Well designed tour, excellent group of guides. Excellent resourceful pick-up team. Comfortable vehicles. Expert guides with superb people skills. Steve is a superb leader, I will follow him blindly. Helen and Laura were excellent. Most agreeable people, expert cyclists who clearly knew what they were doing. Very good communication between the three professionals and the client group. Breakfasts as a rule lavish, good variety and plenty of volume of lunch goodies, ample snacks and drinks for underway.

Vicky about Saddle Skedaddle on Guide's Web

Faultless guides and trip and I absolutely loved the riding. Honestly was the best organised trip I have ever been on. Ran like clockwork! Steve was faultless even with a large group.

Martha about Saddle Skedaddle on Guide's Web

Excellent – Steve, Tony, and Alan were great. They took excellent care of both riders and the bikes.

The Skedaddle guides are what made this trip so fantastic. They are both amazing. I was particularly impressed with the way they provided information about the upcoming sections of the ride – in a way that did a good job of indicating obstacles and rough sections and where to pay particular attention. (This is really important because the scenery is so spectacular it’s tempting to spend time looking around instead of at the trail.) The river crossings were my favourite part!

Things to know

Things to know

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced MTB guide with extensive local knowledge of the area
    • Leader qualified in first aid
    • Transportation during the adventure
    • Support vehicle and luggage transfers
    • Accommodation (shared twin/double en suite rooms)
    • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
    • Transportation from and back to the Glasgow International Airport

What’s not included:

    • Flights and charges for traveling with your bike (if applicable)
    • Bike rental (available for an additional fee)
    • Meals not stated in the itinerary
    • Single room (available for an additional fee)
    • Personal equipment
    • Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
    • Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival/departure days and times

How fit do I need to be?

To embark on this epic MTB adventure through the Scottish Highlands, you need to be an experienced biker comfortable with riding sections of technical or exposed singletrack. You’ll need to be able to bike between 25 and 50 miles (40-80 km) each day for 6 consecutive days. The terrain in the Scottish Highlands features mixed trails, ranging from tough and gnarly singletrack and stalkers paths, to long winding Land Rover tracks. You need to be able to tackle some serious climbs, as well as long, rough descents. Keep in mind that you will frequently take breaks and receive extensive guidance on how to successfully cross any given section.

What if I’ve never mountain biked before?

For this adventure, you need to have extensive experience in mountain biking. The tour is suitable only to intermediate and advanced bikers because it involves 8-9 hours and up to 50 miles of riding (with breaks) per day in terrain which is often challenging, involving long climbs (1-2 hours at a time), technical switchbacks, rough descents, sections with large and loose rock, as well as obstacles such as drop-offs. Though you need to be an experienced biker, keep in mind that not all sections are challenging and that your guides will supervise your technique, make sure to adjust the tempo if needed, and make every obstacle safe and fun!

What do I need to bring?

Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Comfortable riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material 
    • Helmet (communicate with your guide if you want to rent one from them!)
    • Necessary spares (let your guide know in advance if you would like them to include them if you are renting your bike and helmet from them)
    • Sneakers or sport shoes
    • Breathable outside layer or jacket
    • Sunglasses
    • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
    • Daypack with snacks
    • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

What is the accommodation like?

During your epic coast-to-coast MTB traverse in the Scottish Highlands, you can expect good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and family-run guesthouses. All accommodations are cycle-friendly, located close to your routes and showcase the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting. Locally-owned businesses offering local delicacies are prioritized so that you get an authentic experience of each location and the Scottish Highlands as a whole. The price includes double en suite and twin rooms. If you want a room to yourself, it is available for an additional fee.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • The usual client-to-guide ratio for this group tour is 6:1.  
    • The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

Mountain biking in the Scottish Highlands can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • If you have a young rider strong enough to handle sustained climbs (either riding or walking their bike) of hundreds of feet, and rough terrain, then they may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis. 

If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A $230 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

    • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to one hundred twenty 60 days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, the deposit will be forfeited. 
    • For cancellations thirty (30) to sixty (60) days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Invershiel and the Loch Duich, most people fly into Glasgow International Airport, which is about 4 hours away. From the airport, your guide will transfer you to tour starting point. 

You are expected to meet up with your guide at the Glasgow international Airport by 11am, so make sure to book a flight which arrives in Glasgow before the expected meeting time.

Covid measures in the Scottish Highlands

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Scottish Highlands, please refer to the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 updates.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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