Biking Coast to Coast

scotland biking bikehike tour
Biking Coast to Coast
Duration:
10
Days
Priced from:
3599.00
USD

Biking Coast to Coast

Trip Overview

For those of you who refuse to be tamed, this coast to coast Scotland mountain biking tour is absolutely epic. It features a week of challenging riding from Aberdeen in the east to Ardnamurchan in the west. The route covers 375 km / 208 miles, with 7000 m  / 2100 ft of ascents and descents, and is the ultimate coast to coast cycling trip in the whole UK. The trails are as varied as the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands, ranging from flowing singletrack to challenging mountain passes to mellow fire roads. We begin in the city of Aberdeen, on the east coast. We leave the city behind and ride all the way across the Highlands through the backcountry to the tip of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula - the westernmost point of mainland Britain. This is the ultimate multi-day mountain bike ride in all of the UK and offers world class riding each day through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Scottish Highlands. Looking for a legendary cycling vacation that you'll be talking about for years to come? This could be it! 

POPULAR WITH ACTIVE ADVENTURERS & SINGLE TRAVELLERS 

For the physically fit and the insanely energetic, our Biking Coast to Coast in Scotland is a trip of a lifetime!

WOW FACTORS

  • 375 km/208 miles of epic mountain biking traversing the Scottish Highlands from coast to coast
  • Mountain bike up big mountain passes to ancient pine forest
  • Cycle to castles and whiskey distilleries and experience the warm and friendly hospitality of the Scottish Highlanders

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Questions?

Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Edinburgh
Arrival
Upon arrival into the Edinburgh International Airport, you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Edinburgh.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: none

Day 2

Edinburgh - Aberdeenshire
Bike Fitting & Short Ride
Our local Scottish guide will meet us at our hotel this morning at 11am and we'll transfer to our hotel in rural Aberdeenshire. After checking in, we have a welcome briefing where we'll get fitted with our bikes. We'll have time for a short ride in the afternoon to get comfortable on our bikes before tackling Scotland Coast to Coast by bike. We'll have a welcome drink before dinner and an early night!

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Aberdeen - Aberdeenshire
Biking
After breakfast, we transfer by vehicle for one hour to Aberdeen. From here we begin our bike journey eastwards across Scotland. We ride through Royal Deeside, following the route of the old railway line built for Queen Victoria. After lunch, we begin a steady climb before descending some of Scotland's finest single track to Glen Tanar. Our end point is back at our hotel in Aberdeenshire.

Biking Distance: 64 km / 40 mi
Ascent: +2,951 ft / 900 m
Descent: -2,526 ft / 770 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Ballater - Tomintoul
Biking
Today is a classic day of riding into the in the Scottish Highlands. The morning starts with some gentle singletrack followed by a scenic road climb to the quirky Bridge of Gairn. From here we strike off into the heart of the Cairngorms. The trails are good going throughout but journey into really wild country offering a superb mountain experience. Our overnight is in Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands. If the day goes to plan, we will arrive mid- afternoon, making time for a distillery visit of at the world-famous Glenlivet. A great way to end the day!

Biking Distance: 62 km / 38 mi
Ascent: +4,626 ft / 1,410 m
Descent: -3,970 ft / 1,210 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Tomintoul - Newtonmore
Biking
Without a doubt, one of the best days of the trip and one of the best day rides in Scotland. A long and unforgettable day through the mighty Cairngorms massif and some of the best scenery in the UK. Some big mountain climbs, twisting forest trails and magical singletrack eventually lead us to Glen Feshie, where we cross Inshriach Forest to Kingussie. Approximately 8 hours of riding, all off-road - simply superb!

Biking Distance: 66 km / 41 mi
Ascent: +3,477 ft / 1,060 m
Descent: -3,773 ft / 1,150 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Newtonmore - Spean Bridge
Biking
We start with an easy cruise on a quiet road, with a short climb, before making it to Laggan Wolftrax, one of Scotland's best purpose-built mountain bike centres. There is some time built in to enjoy the singletrack trails here. After a break of coffee and home baking, we follow a smooth off-road trail past a fairy-tale mansion before enjoying lunch by the River Spean. We cross the river by a dramatic suspension bridge (2 at a time!) and take a flowing trail all the way into the village of Spean Bridge and our overnight stop.

Biking Distance: 70 km / 43 mi
Ascent: +3,444 ft / 1,050 m
Descent: -3,937 ft / 1,200 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Spean Bridge - Strontian
Biking
The lower reaches of the Great Glen Way lead to Fort William where we take a ferry ride across Loch Linnhe. From all routes lead to the beautiful River Polloch on Loch Shiel where an ancient 'coffin road’ takes us over the hills to Loch Sunart, with stunning views. An exciting descent leads into Strontian.

Biking Distance: 78 km / 48 mi
Ascent: +4,035 ft / 1,230 m
Descent: -4,314 ft / 1,315 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Strontian - Ardnamurchan Point
Biking
A classic final day. We head west, soon joining a beautiful coastal trail and then head into the hills. This is one of the best singletrack sections of the route with amazing views of the islands on a clear day. After a short road section, we tackle more coastal singletrack to our final destination at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse - the most westerly point on the UK mainland! We celebrate with champagne before returning to Strontian for dinner.

Biking Distance: 61 km / 38 mi
Ascent: +5,052 ft / 1,540 m
Descent: -5,118 ft / 1,560 m
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 9

Strontian - Edinburgh
Transfer
Following breakfast, we load the vehicle and bike trailer and enjoy a leisurely 4 hour journey back to Edinburgh, arriving at approximately 2pm. We have the remainder of the evening in this beautiful Scottish City to venture out to a pub, explore the castles and take in the local culture before departure tomorrow.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Edinburgh
Departure
Today is the conclusion of our Mountain Biking Coast to Coast Adventure. Please make your way to the airport 2-3 hours before your flight.

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all internal transportation excluding airport transfers, equipment and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not included, airport transfers and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
9 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 2 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 9 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Scotland

Scotland is a temperate climate with more than one-half of the days being overcast. This is due to the prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current. Given its northerly latitude, it is much warmer than areas of similar latitude. The western highlands of Scotland are one of the wettest places in Europe with annual rainfall up to 4,577 mm (180.2 in). Wind prevails from the south-west, bringing warm, wet air from the Atlantic. Traveller’s best chances of ideal weather are found in May, June and September. Summer months are usually warm and wet. Winter months are marked by short days and cold rain.

June to August: Summer. Long warm days. June is the sunniest and driest month but, even so, expect light rains.

September to November: Autumn. Average afternoon temperatures begin falling and daily sunshine begins diminishing. Expect light rain.

December to February: Winter. Short, cold days. Average afternoon temperatures average about 7°C (44°F). Rain, fog and low cloud reduce daily sunshine to one to three hours. Expect light snowfalls.

March to May: Spring. Average afternoon temperatures begin rising and hours of sunshine per day begin increasing. Light snow is possible in March. Expect light rains throughout spring.

Travel Documents

Citizens of Canada and the US only require a valid passport to enter Scotland. Please ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival, or you may be refused entry. Always carry a photocopy of your passport in the unfortunate case of loss or theft; this precaution will speed up the reissue process. Visa requirements vary from country to country. Before departure, make sure to check with your local United Kingdom consulate for the most current up-to-date requirements. A visa is not required for Canadian or US citizens.

Food and Water

The best-known Scottish delicacy is haggis – made from the windpipe, lungs, heart and liver of a sheep, seasoned with oatmeal and served in a sheep’s stomach, which is sewn closed. Other must-tries include porridge, scotch pies, and black bun – a very rich fruit cake made with raisins, currants, chopped almonds, and brown sugar. The best-known Scottish drink is Scotch Whiskey, a liquor distilled from barley and flavoured with peat tainted water. Water is typically safe to drink in most regions of Scotland. Strict regulatory standards are in place to ensure Scottish tap water is top quality and meet some of the tightest quality standards in the world. However, if you are susceptible to changes in the water, you will find that fresh juices, soft drinks and beer are readily available.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “challenging” trip.

The route covers approximately 375 km / 208 mi, with 7000 m  (2100 ft) of ascents and descents, and is the ultimate coast to coast cycling trip in the whole UK. The main challenge of the trip is the physical demands of consecutive days of riding, along with a great deal of climbing. We will be riding an average of 6 hours per day. You should have a good level of fitness and the stamina to cope with being in the saddle for consecutive days.

We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program that includes regular cycling - that is if you are not already doing so. Working out four times a week (including some riding whenever possible), 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. In addition, try to get in some longer distance rides beforehand to prepare for your adventure. Doing some rides between 60-80 km (37-50 mi), with a good amount of climbing involved, would be optimal training for this tour.

 

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The age range on this trip is typically from 35-55, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

 

What should I pack for this cycling trip?

This adventure is a challenging trip and the route traveled is through regions known for rain, so rain showers can happen at any time of the year. It is important to be prepared for rain while biking.

In order to ensure comfort and health, good outdoor gear is essential. We have prepared a packing list that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

 

Is there a support vehicle?

Yes. We will have a support vehicle shadowing our route, carrying all of the nuts and bolts (fresh water and snacks) and all of the group luggage so that riders don’t have to worry about carrying any gear while biking.

Can you tell me about the biking terrain?

The trails are as varied as the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands, ranging from flowing single-track to challenging mountain passes to mellow fire roads.

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Edinburgh. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime on day 10.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

This trip is quite popular with singles. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

This trip is generally not a family focused trip for young children. However, this trip could be suitable for very strong and active older teenagers. 

We do offer many other Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS

In an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels that showcase the character and local flair of each destination.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
3599.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

Are You Organizing a Group Trip?
Discover our private group discounts

Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour. Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Edinburgh
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
2
Edinburgh - Aberdeenshire
Bike Fitting & Short Ride
— / —
Hotel
b,
d
3
Aberdeen - Aberdeenshire
Biking
64 km
40 mi
+ 900 m (2952 ft)
- 770 m (2526 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
4
Ballater - Tomintoul
Biking
62 km
38 mi
+ 1410 m (4626 ft)
- 1210 m (3970 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
5
Tomintoul - Newtonmore
Biking
66 km
41 mi 
+ 1060 m (3477 ft)
- 1150 m (3773 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
6
Newtonmore - Spean Bridge
Biking
70 km
43 mi
+ 1050 m (3444 ft)
- 1200 m (3937 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
7
Spean Bridge - Strontian
Biking
78 km
48 mi
+ 1230 m (4035 ft)
- 4314 m (4314 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
8
Strontian - Ardnamurchan Point
Biking
61 km
38 mi
+ 1540 m (5052 ft)
- 1560 m (5118 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
9
Strontian - Edinburgh
Transfer
— / —
Hotel
b
10
Edinburgh
Departure
— / —
b

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DC
Dawn C
August 1, 2017

I enjoyed so many things that it's hard to narrow it down. I'm a big whisky fan so that was definitely a huge highlight but our guide was definitely one of the best things about the trip. I felt like she went out of her way to make sure we had the trip we wanted, was an absolute joy and incredibly knowledgeable. Guides make or break the experience and I thoroughly enjoyed ours. The food at all the restaurants and most hotels was excellent, and the trip was a good value. I definitely got my money's worth.

Portland, Oregon, USA
DS
Denise S
July 17, 2017

I had a trip to Scotland on my bucket list and decided to go for it for my 60th birthday. I looked at various tour companies online. The last thing I wanted was a huge group of strangers just sitting on a bus all day & only visiting major tourist traps. I liked the idea of an active tour. Much to my surprise and delight Trish the owner responded and said she would be more than happy to put together a custom tour for myself & my friends. I gave Trish a general idea of what I was looking for, an initial budget, and potential number of people. Trish put together a wonderful itinerary that included some hiking (coast, moors, & mountains), some whisky tasting, and some of the historical sites that were important to me (e.g. Culloden Battlefield). Trish & Meghan were patient and worked with me for about 8 months or so to finalize the details. Our guide was wonderful, knowledgeable, and flexible. The agenda that Trish put together flowed amazingly well - starting on the east coast and then heading west and north into the highlands and then back down to Stirling. The trip far exceeded any of my expectations. The accommodations were great, the hikes were amazing, and the historical sites and landscapes were incredible. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I would highly recommend BikeHike Adventures for an active travel experience.

Portland, Oregon, USA
TW
Tony W
July 9, 2016

Thanks again for creating our wonderful Scotland adventure – it’s a terrific thing you’ve done for all of us. After many amazing trips, I can say with confidence that traveling with you is always a great pleasure, from varied active pursuits to dining, socializing and savoring local flavor. I look forward to the next one, wherever in the world it may be!

New York City, USA
CD
Chris D
July 2, 2012

Everything was great....the guides, trails, hotels. well done.

Toronto, Canada
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