Published: 21st AUGUST 2019

Challenge rides in Scotland 2019

Are you planning a cycle challenge for this year? Scotland offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful terrains in Britain, with an array of spectacular routes to choose from. We’ve selected some of Scotland’s most iconic routes for you to consider in 2019.

These routes provide a challenge and an opportunity for adventure when ridden from end to end, but can also make enjoyable day trips cycled in short sections.

Caledonia Way

234 miles (377km) from Campbeltown to Inverness

The iconic Caledonia Way ('Slighe na h-Alba' in Gaelic) runs 234 miles from Campbeltown on the west coast, to the Highland capital of Inverness in the east. Showcasing the best of Scotland’s dramatic geography, the route follows both the Kintyre peninsula and the Great Glen. It passes under the shadow of Ben Nevis and crosses Loch Ness, providing unrivalled views of famous castles and west-coast islands. 

The route offers a variety of cycling experiences, from challenging on-road climbs to long sections of secluded traffic-free path, all the while surrounded by beautiful Scottish seascapes and mountains.

Follow in the wheel tracks of inspirational adventure cyclist Lee Craigie, who created a short film about her experiences cycling a section of this route. 

Lochs and Glens North

214 miles (344km) from Inverness to Glasgow via Pitlochry

Starting in Glasgow’s industrial heartland, this route heads north and east as it follows old railway lines, ancient drove roads and quiet lanes to Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. The route crosses Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and skirts the Cairngorms massif via the mighty Drumochter Pass – one of Britain’s highest roads. The Cairngorms National Park surrounds the UK's largest mountain range, offering stunning views across heather moor and ancient Caledonia Pine forests. Keep your eyes peeled for Golden Eagles, Red Squirrels, Capercaillie and Scottish Wildcats as you cycle towards Inverness.

Cyclist with helmet and panniers cycling passing brown brick castle

Coast and Castles South

200 miles (322km) from Newcastle to Edinburgh via Berwick and Melrose

Arguably one of the easiest long-distance routes on the National Cycle Network, this relatively flat coastal adventure delights as it passes numerous sites of historic significance and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Highlights include Hadrian’s Wall, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle.

The route crosses into Scotland near Berwick-upon-Tweed, the scene of many historic border wars between the kingdoms of England and Scotland, and just one of the sites which makes this an ideal trip for any cycling history buff!

Edinburgh to Glasgow

57 miles (92km) from Edinburgh to Glasgow

Link Scotland’s two largest cities by following National Route 75 and then National Route 754 along the towpath of the historic Union Canal to its junction with the Forth and Clyde Canal and the amazing Falkirk Wheel – the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world. From the Wheel it’s just a short diversion to Helix Park where you can gaze in awe at the Kelpies – two giant horse-head sculptures designed by Andy Scott. Follow the Forth and Clyde Canal west along the tranquil and almost entirely traffic-free towpath until you arrive in the heart of Glasgow. The easy gradients and numerous points of interest make this a perfect trip, regardless of age or ability.

White house overlooking lake with mountains in the background

Hebridean Way

184 miles (296km) from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis

The Hebridean Way is perhaps the ultimate get-away-from-it-all cycling destination, and offers intrepid cyclists a real opportunity for adventure.

Spanning 10 of the remote and spectacular islands of the Outer Hebrides off the North West Coast of Scotland, this 184-mile on-road cycle route uses ferries and causeways to hop from one island to the next. It passes pristine sandy beaches and the remains of ancient settlements as you traverse this wild and remote archipelago.

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