Mark Beaumont re-discovers Scotland through the National Cycle Network

Have you ever tried to discover new parts of the town you live in? Or escape the city by a completely different route? 

In this new short film, cycling legend Mark Beaumont heads out on the National Cycle Network near Scotland’s towns and cities. He shows his non-competitive side as he moves through various guises: from stylish corporate Brompton rider to about-town family man with toddler in tow and then leisure cyclist escaping the city.

The film showcases some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks and visitor attractions which are often only a short bike ride away.

Mark Beaumont is a record-breaking long-distance cyclist

Mark Beaumont is a record-breaking long-distance cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster, documentary maker and author. He held the record for cycling 18,297 miles around the world on 15 February 2008, a journey he completed in 194 days and 17 hours.

In July Mark will once again attempt to break the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by bike – in a staggering 80 days!

We wish Mark every success with this amazing challenge, the Artemis World Cycle.

"You don't need to cycle around the world to become an adventure cyclist. There are so many everyday pedal-powered adventures on our doorsteps. The inspiration for making this Sustrans film was to showcase familiar places from a different perspective and also to discover new journeys by bicycle. Even in an hour or two you can explore superb routes - all you need is two wheels and an open mind!"

Mark Beaumont

Inspired to ride the routes?

The good news is that everyone can have an everyday adventure on the National Cycle Network. We have all the information you need to help you plan your journey.

Helix Park and Kelpies cycle route

The Helix is an exciting new parkland, providing many activities such as cycling, walking, and much more. The Helix is also home to The Kelpies, two dramatic 30-metre-high horse head sculptures - a true feat of engineering - which are fast becoming one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions!

The Helix can be accessed by bicycle, and when combined with the Falkirk Wheel, makes a great family cycling adventure.

Helix Park and the Kelpies are easily reached via a short largely traffic free link from NCN 754 at the Falkirk Wheel. Please note, the route utilises a short (400m) section of path adjacent to a busy road, where close supervision of children is required. However, the reward of seeing the Kelpies up close far outweighs this inconvenience!  

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 40

Glen Ogle Viaduct Cycle Route

This 25 mile section of NCN 7 running between Callander and the spectacular Falls of Dochart at Killin, is a delight to cycle. The route is almost entirely traffic-free and offers unrivalled views across Loch Earn and Glen Ogle.

Balquhidder is a short signed detour from the route – home to the grave of the celebrated Highland outlaw, Rob Roy. Traverse the spectacular Glen Ogle viaduct and descend through Acharn Forest to Killin.

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 43  Sustrans Discover Map: Lochs & Glens North

The Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle

Standing on the hilltop of Abbey Craig, The Wallace Monument is one of Stirling’s most distinctive landmarks, overlooking the scene of Scotland’s victory at The Battle of Stirling Bridge. For over 145 years, this world-famous attraction has fascinated visitors with its exhibits and displays which follow the story of Sir William Wallace; patriot, martyr, and Guardian of Scotland.

Located close to the junction between NCN 765 and NCN 76 near Stirling railway station, it is also only a short cycle ride to Stirling Castle, which dominates the skyline, sitting atop Castle Hill. Before the union with England, Stirling Castle was an important royal residence - very much a palace as well as a fortress – where several Scottish Kings and Queens were crowned, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542.  

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 41

Constructed in the late 1800s, The ‘Forth Bridge’ is considered one of Scotland’s most iconic architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It now sits alongside the ‘Forth Road Bridge’ and the newly built ‘Queensferry Crossing’ – an impressive trio of engineering feats representing technological development over 100 years. When the Queensferry Crossing is opened (in 2017) the plan is for the Forth Road Bridge to carry only public transport and those walking/cycling – making for a much quieter crossing of the Forth.

The Forth Bridge was voted Scotland’s greatest man made wonder in 2016, this 9 mile long structure provides a rail crossing over the Firth of Forth, and marks the start of a dramatic and largely traffic free cycle ride along the Forth Estuary.

Following NCN 76, you will pass Blackness Castle, en route to the historic town of Bo’ness. With its historical links to the Roman period, Bo’ness marks the eastern end of The Antonine Wall – the northern most frontier of the Roman Empire. There is a short rough section towards the end of this section, punctuated by a set of steps. This marks the point where the route crosses the Roman remains of the Antonine Wall itself. 

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 40

Edinburgh castle cycle route

Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is one of a number of ‘must see’ destinations, when visiting Scotland’s cosmopolitan capital city.

Others include; the atmospheric streets around the Grassmarket, the National Museum of Scotland, Arthur’s Seat, and the Royal. Yacht Britannia at Leith Edinburgh sits in the middle of a spiders web of traffic-free NCN routes – enabling easy access to the centre from the outskirts, or an easy family escape into the countryside. There are also signed ‘quiet routes’ which make it easy to reach many corners of the city and many of the main sights. 

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 40         

Finnieston Crane cycle route

Much of Glasgow’s history is laid out before you along the banks of the mighty River Clyde – using NCN 7 and NCN 75. Landmarks such as the Finnieston crane, SSE Hydro Arena and the Armadillo chart Glasgow’s evolution from a historic shipbuilding and industrial heartland, to a modern cosmopolitan city of commerce and culture. Home to institutions such as the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as highly acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene, there’s something for everyone here.

Glasgow is well connected for cyclists, and is easily accessed/traversed via NCN 754, the towpath of the historic Forth and Clyde and Union Canals from Edinburgh. It’s even connected to Loch Lomond, using a largely traffic free section of NCN 7.   

Sustrans Pocket Map: No 41

Bowling Basin cycle route

The Canals in Central Scotland, as well as providing scenic traffic free routes to other places should also be seen as a destination in themselves. Opened in 1790, the historic Forth and Clyde Canal provided a majestic 35 mile route across central Scotland - between the Firth of Forth in the east, and the Firth of Clyde in the west. It connected with the Union Canal at Falkirk, enabling freight to be shipped between Edinburgh and Glasgow. With the advent of the railway age in the 1920s, the canal network fell into disuse and was finally closed in the ‘60s.  

However, as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000, National Lottery funds were used to regenerate the canals for tourism and leisure purposes. There are numerous points of interest. The impressive engineering feat which is the Falkirk Wheel reconnected the canals. There are picturesque corners filled with wildlife, as well as impressive high aqueducts where a head for heights helps. And there are sections of the much older Antonine Wall within very easy reach.

Sustrans Pocket Maps: No 40 and No 41

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