Published: 28th JANUARY 2020

Challenge rides in Scotland 2020

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 long-distance cycle routes for you to consider in 2020.

A collection of long-distance cycle routes in Scotland. Each a challenge and an opportunity for adventure when ridden from end to end. But they can also make enjoyable day trips cycled in short sections.

Caledonia Way

234 miles (377km) from Campbeltown to Inverness

The iconic Caledonia Way or 'Slighe na h-Alba' in Gaelic. It 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. The unrivalled views of famous castles and west coast islands are hard to match.
 
The route offers a variety of cycling experiences. Challenging on-road climbs. Long sections of secluded traffic-free path. All the while surrounded by beautiful Scottish seascapes and mountains.

Lochs and Glens North

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

Starting in Glasgow’s industrial heartland. As the name suggests the route follows the glens and lochs of the Highlands all the way to Inverness.
 
Old railway lines, ancient drove roads and quiet lanes. Crossing Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The route includes the mighty Drumochter Pass - one of Britain's highest roads.
 
Twice the size of the Lake District the Cairngorms National Park is a fantastic place to cycle. There are stunning views across heather moor and ancient Caledonia pine forests. Keep your eyes open for Golden Eagles, Red Squirrels, Capercaillie and Scottish Wildcats.
Cyclist with helmet and panniers cycling passing brown brick castle

Cycling past Bamburgh Castle on National Route 1

Coast and Castles South

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

Considered one of the easier long-distance bike rides. Coast and Castles South is a relatively flat coastal route.
 
It passes many 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 the border into Scotland near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The scene of many historic border wars between the kingdoms of England and Scotland. An ideal cycle trip for any history buff!
A photo of the Kelpies at night - Lewis Nicol's photo submission

The 30-metre high Kelpies in The Helix park

Edinburgh to Glasgow

57 miles (92km) from Edinburgh to Glasgow

A link between Scotland’s two largest cities. Follow National Route 75 and then National Route 754.

The route follows the towpath of the historic Union Canal. Admire the Falkirk Wheel at the junction with the Forth and Clyde Canal - the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.
 
From the Wheel it’s a short diversion to Helix Park and the two giant horse-headed sculpture of the Kelpies. The route then continues west along the Forth and Clyde Canal. A tranquil and mostly traffic-free towpath into the heart of Glasgow.
 
The easy gradients and many points of interest make this a great trip, regardless of age or ability.

Coast and Castles North

172 miles (276km) from Edinburgh to Aberdeen

From Edinburgh to Aberdeen across the low-lying countryside of the Kingdom of Fife. Coast and Castles North rewards you with stunning landscape views throughout.
 
Heading north after the famous university and golfing town of St Andrews, the route hugs the North Sea coast. There's a 17-mile flat and traffic-free stretch of path from Dundee up to Arbroath.
 
Pretty fishing villages, sweeping beaches and romantic castle ruins dot the ride. Dunnottar Castle is a particularly impressive clifftop fortress.
White house overlooking lake with mountains in the background

View of South Harris on the Hebridean Way

Hebridean Way

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

For the ultimate get-away-from-it-all cycling destination - choose the Hebridean Way. It offers intrepid cyclists a real opportunity for adventure.
 
Spanning 10 of the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides off the North West Coast of Scotland. Ferries and causeways are used to hop from one island to the next.
 
Traverse this wild and remote archipelago. Pass pristine sandy beaches and the remains of ancient settlements. This route is a spectacular 184-mile on-road cycle.
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