Scotland Coast to Coast Cycling

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4-14
Difficulty
Starting from
$4,169 for REI Members
$4,569 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Aug 2020
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

An epic cycling journey across Scotland, from the wild west coast to the historic town of St Andrews on the east coast. Experience the thrill of completing a true coast to coast adventure.

Our cycling adventure begins in the dramatic glens of the West Highlands before making our way south via the lush landscapes of Highland Perthshire and on to the rolling hills of the Kingdom of Fife and finally culminating at the North Sea in the historic town of St Andrews. Along the way we will tour a whisky distillery, enjoy lunch in a working watermill, explore epic castles, indulge in tea and scones on the village green and enjoy a rest day in a quintessential highland town. In the evenings we celebrate the day's hike with a hearty Scottish meal, a dram of whisky, and quaint lodging.

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Trip Highlights

  • Ride through rugged mountain scenery, open moorland and along shimmering lochs as you cycle coast to coast
  • Visit the 700-year-old Blair castle, family seat to the Dukes of Athol
  • Sample scotch whisky at Blair Athol distillery and dine in a traditional working watermill
  • Discover the vibrant town of St Andrews with its historic stone buildings, white sand beaches and historic golf course
  • Enjoy "a day off the bike" in the quintessential highland town of Pitlochry.

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be experienced riders who are comfortable in the saddle for 4-6 hours per day; they should be comfortable riding on a variety of surfaces besides paved roads, including cobblestone streets, city streets with vehicle traffic, and narrow country backroads.

Rides range from 29 to 50 miles. Terrain is flat to rolling hills with a few steeper ascents and descents. Vehicle support is available when needed.

Note: The Scots drive on the left side of the road; therefore, we cycle with traffic on the left side of the road.

  • Cycling

What's Included

Double-occupancy accommodations as noted above; meals as noted in the itinerary; transfers as noted on the itinerary; bicycle; entrance fees; support van; skilled trip leader(s).

Accommodations

Small hotels and B&Bs, 7 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?�� You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to the Scottish Highlands

Our trip begins in Edinburgh, Scotland. Arrive at the Edinburgh airport by 7:30am today and travel on your own to our Edinburgh host hotel. Our van from the host hotel leaves at 9:30am, so make sure you allow enough time to catch it! After a 3-hour van ride we reach the picturesque village of Fort William, considered by many to be the outdoor capital of the United Kingdom. Our guides provide a bike fitting on arrival, followed by a full orientation and dinner. Lunch and dinner included.

Van transfer: 3 hours

Day 2

Castle Tioram to Fort William

This morning we head west, stopping at Glenfinnan on the shore of Loch Shiel. This spot marks the location where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Royal Standard in 1745, signaling the start of the final Jacobite Rising. We begin our ride at the ruins of the 13th-century Castle Tioram, which sits imposingly on a tidal island. We continue along the quiet, narrow roads that are synonymous with the Highlands. On one side lie the hills of Morven, and on the other is Loch Sunart?one of 30,000 serene lochs across the country. We stop for lunch at the small settlement of Strontian and continue riding along the banks of Loch Linnhe. A short passenger ferry takes us across the loch and back to Fort William. All meals included.

Cycling: 45 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,350' / -2,340'; Van transfer: 1.25 hours

Day 3

The Great Glen, lochs, castles, and Cairngorms National Park

We hop on our bikes and head north through the Great Glen, taking in views of the Caledonian Canal before reaching Gairlochy. From there we head east through the Spean Bridge. An idyllic landscape of mountains, lochs and a castle form the backdrop for the day. We enjoy a hearty lunch in the Highland village of Laggan before cycling further east into the Cairngorms National Park. A quiet back road leads us through the geographic center of Scotland, and we end our ride in the village of Newtonmore. We check into the hotel and relax before meeting up for dinner, perhaps a steak and ale pie! All meals included.

Cycling: 50 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,064' / -1,266'

Day 4

Lunch in a working watermill and a visit to Blair Castle

Today we transition from the Highlands to the Lowlands. We ride through a valley lined by the Grampian Mountains, past Scotland?s highest whisky distillery. Then we descend from moorland and mountains into lush, forested scenery as we enter the region of Perthshire. Today's lunch is in a traditional working watermill, after which we visit Blair Castle, the family seat of the Dukes of Athol for more than 700 years. Our ride ends in the lovely town of Pitlochry, which will be our base for the next two nights. Dinner is on our own this evening, but the guides have plenty of great suggestions. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 42 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,545' / -1,974'

Day 5

Highland Perthshire: Pitlochry rest day or ride the Loch Tummel loop

Today we can choose one of two options. You can spend the day exploring the shops, cafes and bars of the beautiful Highland town of Pitlochry, and maybe take a lovely walk along Loch Faskally. Or if you'd rather stay on a bike, our guide has a great ride planned. It's a loop ride along quiet Perthshire roads, following the northern shore of Loch Tummel. We stop to admire Queen's View, Highland Perthshire's most iconic view, an expansive scene of lochs, mountains and forests. From there we cycle through native woodlands to the western tip of the loch before returning to Pitlochry via the southern shores. We regroup in the afternoon for a tour of the Blair Atoll whisky distillery and toast the day with a dram. Breakfast and dinner included.

Cycling: 29 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,942' / -1,942'

Day 6

Rolling hills of Perthshire, tea and scones on the village green

We leave the more mountainous landscape of the highlands behind, cycling south to the gently rolling hills of rural Perthshire. Our route is heavily treed, hugging the edge of the hillsides past fields of grain, sheep and Highland cattle with their distinctive wooly coats. As we pedal through this bucolic scenery, the valley and the river that flows through it is our constant companion. Enjoy a picnic lunch outside Dunkeld Cathedral, along the banks of the River Tay. Later, a mid-afternoon highlight will be the tea and scones we enjoy on the village green of Pitcairngreen. From there we cycle on a packed gravel path along a stream, meandering through the countryside until we reach our country house accommodations in Perth. All meals included.

Cycling: 34 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,847' / -2,104'

Day 7

The River Tay, Kingdom of Fife, St Andrews and the North Sea!

We begin today by following the River Tay through the city of Perth, and then into the Kingdom of Fife, known for its rolling farmland and quaint villages. After a quick stop for coffee at an organic farm, we continue to St Andrews and the North Sea. We approach the end of our tour along a path that takes us by the 18th hole of the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world: St Andrews. Be sure to take a moment to snap a couple photos at the Swilcan Bridge. We complete our coast-to-coast journey at the shore of the North Sea and with a celebratory drink and toast at a local pub, not far from the first green of St Andrews. There will be time to explore the cobblestone streets of St Andrews on your own in the afternoon. Among the many places of interest: the celebrated Old Course, the Renowned University, the ruins of the Cathedral, and the cliff-side castle. We transfer back to our Perth accommodations in time for a farewell dinner. All meals included.

Cycling: 42 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,341' / -2,406'; Van transfer: 1 hour

Day 8

Breakfast in Perth and farewell

After breakfast, our adventure ends with a short van transfer to the Perth train station, where you can catch a direct train to Edinburgh, Glasgow, or London. Travel is on your own from the station. Departing trains should be scheduled for 10:30am or later. Breakfast included.

Van transfer: 20 mins

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.