Route 7 is an epic undertaking. It’s just over 600 miles long and links Sunderland in the northeast of England and Inverness, the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Route 7 is ideal for long-distance cycle tourers or bikepackers looking for a challenge. You can also choose to complete smaller sections of the route if you prefer.
Route 7 takes in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. On your journey along Route 7, you’ll pass through two stunning National Parks: Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Cairngorms. Route 7 is an ideal choice if you want to experience the beauty of Britain’s varied landscape.
Route 7 forms two-thirds of the famous Sea to Sea cycle route and includes almost 35 miles of traffic-free cycling between Sunderland, Stanley, Consett and Parkhead including the Consett & Sunderland Railway path. At Penrith, the regional centre for the eastern Lake District, Route 7 heads north away from the Sea to Sea cycle route to the border city of Carlisle.
Carlisle to Glasgow via the Ayrshire coast is known as the Lochs & Glens (South) cycle route. The route passes through Gretna, Dumfries, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart before crossing Glen Trool Forest. On reaching the Ayr Route 7 loosely follows the coast through Troon and Irvine and then heads inland to Glasgow on disused railway paths.
Once a prosperous shipbuilding city Glasgow is now famed for its great museums, thriving music scene, and fantastic Victorian and art nouveau architecture. It’s home to the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland.
On the Glasgow to Inverness section, you’ll pass through two National Parks: Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Cairngorms. This section of Route 7 takes you through some of the most stunning scenery on the National Cycle Network. The route leaves Glasgow by following the River Clyde to Dumbarton and then heads to Inverness via Aberfoyle, Callander, Killin, Pitlochry, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge. Highlights include the Glen Ogle viaduct on the railway path between Lochearnhead and Killin.
As well as spectacular natural wonders you’ll have the opportunity to spot some art. The BLiSS trail (which stands for Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans, the four communities that the trail connects) links up to 25 sculptures, architectural installations and fun ornamental features in the four villages. Near the Balvaig Bridge is the Drovers Bho sculpture by Kev Paxton of ArtFe blacksmiths.
Route 7 is a challenging long-distance route that rewards adventurous cyclists with breathtaking views of Scotland and the north of England.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.