Aberdeen to the Shetland Isles

  • From - to: Aberdeen to the Shetland Isles via Inverness and the Orkney Isles. 
  • Distance: Aberdeen to Inverness is 150 miles. Inverness to John o'Groats is 170 miles. Map shows 501 miles of route of which 20 are traffic-free, and 180 are on Orkney and Shetland
  • Terrain: The surface varies from on-road to traffic-free
  • National Cycle Network: National route 1

A dedicated page lists any major route closures and diversions for the National Cycle Network in Scotland.

Cycling on a former railway path Cycling along the coast


Note that north of Inverness there are two route options - one route via Dingwall, and one via the Cromarty Ferry. The Cromarty Ferry route is particularly attractive, however the ferry only operates in summertime. In 2015 this ferry was withdrawn, and it was reinstated in 2016. For up to the minute updates please check the route closures and diversions page linked above.  

Ferry services connect to the islands of Orkney and Shetland. Links with the Coast & Castles North and Lochs & Glens North cycle routes. Constitutes part of North Sea Cycle Route.

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This route is one of contrasts - through Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland, northwards along the coast and into the remote scenery of the Highlands and the ancient peatlands of the Flow Country.