Route News

Sustrans is constantly reviewing the status of the National Cycle Network and is working with local authorities and other partners to bring all sections of the Network up to standard.

The following information summarises our current progress on developing the Network. Under each route heading, the first section explains changes to the routes since the most recent Sustrans map of that route was published, while 'Other Developments' gives information on recent works.

All featured maps are available from the Sustrans online shop.

Route 1 Edinburgh to Newcastle (Coast and Castles South)

Most recent map: 4th edition, 2011

NOTE: Only information on the section from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Edinburgh is given here.

Route 1 Edinburgh to Aberdeen (Coast and Castles North)

Most recent map: 2nd edition, 2009

Route changes since map was published: There have been changes to the route in Kinross-shire. The route now follows follows part of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail. For more information explore our digital route mapping.

We have been contacted by Queensferry Recreation Centre in Ashburnham Road, South Queensferry (next to Queensferry High School) and right on National Cycle Route 1. Cyclists are welcome to use the facilities, which include toilets and showers - or just a wee break from cycling. Could be useful for day trips or for long distance tourers! For more information, contact the duty manager on email douglasmackay@edinburghleisure.co.uk

There have been reports of motor bikes using the new path between Montrose and the North Water Viaduct in Angus and a man has already been prosecuted by the police. All traffic-free paths are (as the name implies) for non-motorised users only. If you see motor bikes, quad bikes, segways or any other form of motoried vehicle on our paths (apart from mobility scooters), please report to the police. 

Route 1 Aberdeen to Shetland

Most recent map: 2nd edition, 2010

Route changes since map was published: none

The Nigg-Cromarty Ferry runs from May to September, see www.cromarty-ferry.co.uk

Other developments: A track has been upgraded along the River Don through Riverside Park in Dyce - a very pleasant route with some good bird watching. This links into National Route 1 just north of Dyce and currently ends on Riverside Drive, near the Travel Inn and BP offices. Long term plans are for this route to continue alongside the river to Seaton Park.

Route 7 Inverness to Glasgow (Lochs & Glens North)

Most recent map: 5th edition, 2011

Off-highway alternative, carrbridge to slochd

The off-highway alternative to National Cycle Network Route7 between Carrbridge & Slochd, is a very rough route and not suitable for narrow tyred bikes or road bikes. We advise people to use the main alignment of Route 7 on-highway (A938) via Bogroy.

Path alongside the A9 over the Drumochter Pass

Drumochter Pass new path

This path takes you over the highest point in the National Cycle Network in Scotland (462m or 1515 ft), so expect a bit of roughness! 

We receive quite a few enquiries about the quality of the path over the Drumochter Pass. The path does have some surface issues, but is easily passable along its whole length with a mountain bike or hybrid.

Two km of the path over the Drumochter Pass were resurfaced with bitmac in summer 2011 by Transport Scotland's contractors. Above is a picture of the new path taken by one of our volunteers.

This still leaves several kilometres of path that could do with an upgrade and some sections are not ideal for bikes with narrow tyres. The alternative is the A9, which has fairly good sight lines, but is a fast road with heavy traffic, including many buses and HGVs. Some of the road is dual carriageway, but not all. If speed is your priority, rather than enjoyment, then you could use the A9, although Sustrans and Transport Scotland do not recommend this. To help with decision making, Route 7 from Calvine to at least Dalnacardoch Lodge uses the old A9 road and has a tarmac surface. From there, you may wish to make judgement calls on whether to use the path or the road. There are several access points where you can switch between them. From Dalnaspidal Lodge for a couple of miles, Route 7 uses the old A9 again. From near North Drumochter Lodge (mile 143 on the Lochs and Glens North map), there is a good tarmac path to where the path ends at Dalwhinnie and you are back on minor roads.

If you find yourself on the A9 heading and wish to get off (!) - heading north, turn off at the House of Bruar or at Calvine to join the traffic-free path. Heading south, look out for the right turn-off to Dalwhinnie and the large Drum Sculpture that marks the beginning of the cycle path. As mentioned above, there are several points along the A9 over Drumochter where you can join the cycle path if you need a change from cycling alongside high-speed traffic. 

Tracks through Achray Forest

The section of Route 7 north of Aberfoyle through Achray Forest is on forest roads and is not suitable for narrow tyred bikes. Use the A821 instead.

Killicrankie to Blair Atholl 

There is an inconstency between the 2011 map and the signed route. The map shows the route crossing a bridge at Killicrankie and following a minor road to the south of the River Garry, before crossing back over the river into Blair Atholl. This route had been agreed with the local authority and it was shown on the 2011 map. However, when the route was later surveyed to upgrade the signage, it became apparent that it was not appropriate to include it in the National Cycle Network as there was surface water flowing across the road and path in various palces, areas of mud and debris and a relatively high volume of HGVs on the narrow road between Killiecrankie and the quarry. Cyclists have to stop and pull into the side of the road to allow the HGVs to pass. For these reasons, the route continues to be signed along the B8079 instead. The B8079 is not too busy and is relatively direct. Obviously, cyclists may elect to use the minor road on the other side of the river instead of the signed route, but please be aware of the limitations noted above. 

Increased bike space on Edinburgh-Inverness Trains

Of interest to those planning to do this section of Route 7 - the 10.45 Inverness to Edinburgh and the 10.35 Edinburgh to Inverness trains now have 8 reservable cycle spaces (4 on each unit) from Monday to Saturday throughout the year. On summer Saturdays there will be 12 reservable cycle spaces on these trains (which are formed from class 158 units, for those interested in that sort of thing!). The summer dates will be roughly from mid/late May to late September. Bike reservations are mandatory on trains to and from Inverness - check the ScotRail website for details of train times. However, it is not possible to reserve bike spaces online - this is usually best done in person at a railway station. 

Route 7 Glasgow to Gretna (Lochs & Glens South)

Most recent map: 4th edition, 2007

Route changes since map was published: None. The map includes National Route 73 (North) from Kilmarnock to Ardrossan and National Route 73 (South) from Newton Stewart to Stranraer.

Other developments: The Maxwellton Railway path from Nithside to Cargenbridge was opened in 2006 and a further extension to the east was opened in June 2008 (Connect2 project).

Route 73 Ardrossan to Kilmarnock/Newton Stewart to Stranraer/Brodick to Lochranza

Ardrossan to Kilmarnock and Newton Stewart to Stranraer are covered in Lochs & Glens South (2007). Brodick to Lochranza is not yet fully mapped, but the route follows the main road along the east coast of Arran.

Route changes since map was published: The upgrading to the route between Irvine and Kilmarnock is now complete.

Other Developments: Dumfries & Galloway Council is progressing the Stranraer branch in connection with improvements to the A75 trunk road. The route will link to Cairnryan for the Irish ferries and is due to be completed in 2011-12.

A feasibility study has been carried out between Brodick and Corrie on the Isle of Arran with a view to constructing a traffic-free path between the two settlements. An excellent cycle map for Arran has been produced by Arran Bike Club - see the Maps and Leaflets section.

Route 74 Gretna to Glasgow via Douglas

There is no map available for this route.

National Route 74 is already open south of Douglas to Gretna. The section north from Douglas, which will meet National Route 75 at Uddingston, is being taken forward by South Lanarkshire Council. 

Route 75 Edinburgh to Glasgow, Gourock, Dunoon and Portavadie (Clyde to Forth)

Most recent map: 1st edition of the Forth and Clyde map, 2009.

The map covers all of Central Scotland, including Route 75 and Route 754.

Route changes since map was published: None.

Route 754 - Edinburgh to Glasgow and Bowling

Most recent map: 1st edition of the Forth and Clyde map, 2009

The map covers all of Central Scotland, including Route 75 and Route 754.

Route changes since map was published: None.

National Route 754 uses the towpaths of the Forth & Clyde Canal from Edinburgh to the Falkirk Wheel, where it joins the towpath of the Union Canal to Glasgow, ending at Bowling on the Clyde.

Route 76 Round the Forth

Most recent map: 2nd edition, 2008

Route changes since map was published: The path along the coast between Hopetoun Estate / Abercorn Church and Blackness was completed in early 2011.

The dedicated cycling and walking track has been completed alongside the road between Kincardine and Culross. 

The Clackmannanshire Bridge to the west of Kincardine opened in November 2008. Route 76 now uses a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A876 trunk road to the south side of the Kincardine Bridge (between Grangemouth and Airth). To the north of the Forth, the route uses a new road bridge over the dual carriageway now heading north from the Clackmannanshire Bridge. The construction of new multi-use paths connecting the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges provides a much improved network and better access to and from Kincardine and Alloa.

Other developments: Design/negotiation studies have been undertaken for preferred or alternative routes from Stirling to Manor Powis and Cowie to Fallin. 

Under our new route numbering regime, the proposed route from Doune to Callander will become Route 765. Option studies have been conducted and land negotiations have to be carried out for certain sections. Stirling Council opened the new traffic-free route along the disused railway from Argaty to Doune in November 2005.

Route 765 - Stirling to Doune to Callander

Under development. The route from Stirling Railway station has been signed to Bridge of Allan. From Bridge of Allan to Dunblane, the route will use the old Glen Road, until it is possible to build a cycle path alongside the A9 and the B8803. The Glen Road is an old public road which was closed to motorised traffic around 1990 due to subsidence, but remains a lovely route for cyclists, walkers and equestrians. In 2011 there was a fine effort by Stirling Council and volunteers to scrap back vegetation and undertake some basic stabilisation work. Unfortunately, there were further landslips in early 2012 and the path has had to be closed periodically. Please pay attentention to any warning signs. 

Leaving Dunblane, you head along the Old Doune Road and onto a track. Go over the A9 on the  bridge, and then straight ahead on the other side. When the track curves left after the Old Farmhouse, don't follow it round but go straight ahead on the other path. Shortly after that, a sign points right down the path which takes you over the A820, where you join the old railway line to Doune.

Between Doune and Burn of Cambus, negotiations are ongoing with the landowners. From Burn of Cambus, we recommend taking the Drumloist road towards the eastern side of Callander.  At Bridge of Keltie (near the camping site) you can join a railway path into Callander. From here, you can link up with Route 7. 

Route 77 Dundee to Pitlochry via Perth (The Salmon Run)

Most recent map: 1st edition, 2005

Route changes since map was published: None

The route was officially opened in August 2004.

We wish to remind all route users that access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 do not apply to private gardens near houses. Therefore where the description of the Three Lochs Run suggests that you "go through Meikleour Estate", please stay on the main track and keep away from the residential buildings. Respect the landowner's right to privacy. Thank you.  

Route 78 Campbeltown to Oban, Fort William and Inverness (The Caledonia Way)

Most recent Discovery map: 2nd edition, 2013 (Oban to Campbeltown)

Route changes since map was published: the current map only covers Oban to Campbeltown.

Free traffic free leaflet available covering section from Oban to Fort William (printed 2012)

Campbeltown to Ardrossan ferry

Calmac is now running an Ardrossan - Campbelltown ferry once a week for a trial lasting three years. This will make cycle trips to and from Campbeltown more accessible.

Campbeltown to Ballycastle Ferry

The ferry between Northern Ireland and the Kintyre Peninsula re-opened in May 2011, re-establishing the link across the 34 nautical miles between Route 78 at Campbeltown and Route 93 at Ballycastle. The ferry carries a maximum of 6 bikes and bikes travel free. For timetables and price information, see www.kintyreexpress.com

Campbeltown to Claonaig

The route from Campbeltown to to Claonaig is now part of Route 78, not 73 as previously. A traffic-free path has been built between Kilmartin and Carnassarie Castle. An off-road route has been constructed between Ardrishaig and the B8024. This is an alternative to the main road with excellent views, but is steep in parts and not recommended for heavily laden tourers or narrow-tyred bikes.

Oban to Fort William - under development

New - route map available (pdf)

Sustrans, Transport Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Argyll & Bute Council are working in partnership on building a traffic-free path for the 32 miles between Oban and South Ballachulish. The path will use sections of the disused railway, minor roads and multi-user paths alongside the trunk road. For details of the sections that have already been built, what is planned and suggested circular routes that can be cycled, see Oban to Fort William Path - what's happening?

Fort William to Inverness - under development (no map)

The route from Fort William to Inverness is under development and is not signed. It is possible to cycle between these destinations using the canal towpath between Fort William and Fort Augustus and minor public roads along the south side of Loch Ness from Fort Augustus to Inverness. See the Great Glen Way website for more information on the current walking route. Please note, the Great Glen Cycleway is no longer signed. Mountain bikers are advised to devise their own route along the many forestry tracks to the north of Loch Ness.

Future route development

Please continue to write to your MSPs, councillors (name & address can be found at http://www.writetothem.com) and local authorities to ensure progress in improving the existing National Cycle Network and completing new routes.

Your feedback (both positive and negative) is always welcome. You can contact the Scottish office on 0131 346 1384 or email scotland@sustrans.org.uk. If you're contacting us to let us know of a problem on the route, it is useful if you can give us an Ordnance Survey grid reference for the location or a very good description of the location.

The National Cycle Network in Scotland is coordinated by Sustrans, but a significant proportion of the Network is maintained by local authorities. If you have maintenance issues with a section of traffic free path (i.e. a pothole, fallen tree across path or a missing sign) on the National Cycle Network use FixMyStreet.com to report it to the appropriate local authority and they will endeavour to rectify the problem.

Additionally, if you find a pot hole on an on-road section of the Network, report the problem to FillThatHole.org.uk for the issue to be forwarded to the correct council.