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Suggestions for ~7 day summer Scotland tour?

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Suggestions for ~7 day summer Scotland tour?

Old 11-19-23, 08:19 PM
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2WheelWilly
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Suggestions for ~7 day summer Scotland tour?

Hi All--

My friends and I will usually do a ~week long bike touring trip sometime over the summers. Some previous trips we've done are various stuff around New England, Maine coast to Acadia National Park, Teton to Yellowstone, Blue Ridge Parkway through Great Smokey Nat'l (I nearly died on climbs ), and Waterford Lakes Park (Canada) through Glacier National (including Going to the Sun Road). All were awesome, btw, happy to share itineraries with anyone interested.

We spend most of our nights camping and on some trips we'll take a day or two off from biking to hike. We'll generally bike anywhere from 20 to 80 miles in a day; an average day is probably 40-50. We're all in our early 40s and in reasonable (me) to excellent (a couple of friends) physical condition. We missed last summer so I'm hoping to get this summer's planning going early.

My personal dream has always been to do a Scotland trip, so I'd *love* any suggestions for ~weeklong itineraries there. Something in the Hebrides/Skye would be great (I know there's some path there, right?) but I'm also curious about less traveled paths in the Highlands... I remember an amazing B&B in Dunkeld (more to the east), so I'd love to see that area again; I also remember loving the Elgin area. Basically, the more suggestions, the merrier. My hope is that if I have a few well thought out proposals for my friends, they're more likely to be open to a trip.

Generally, I'm interesting in *any* great ideas for weeklong trips, because I hope we'll be doing these for decades to come, and also because I might not be able to make Scotland fly this (or, who knows, any) year. Another place I've dreamed of trying is Nova Scotia, so I'd love suggestions there, too. But, really, any week-long trip that you've loved, I'm all ears.

Thank you for any suggestions!
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Old 11-20-23, 04:17 AM
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Have you checked out the parts of the Eurovelo routes (1 and 12) that are in Scotland?
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Old 11-20-23, 12:23 PM
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The Outer Hebrides, from Castlebay, Barra to Stornoway, Lewis & Harris appeal on the basis of several cycletouring travelogs I've read.

The part of Sustrans' LEJoG route from Glasgow to however far north you can ride in a week - potentially all the way to John o'Groats - is a beautiful and well-mapped route.

I fell in love with the Orkneys. These peedie isles showcase 5000 years of human history and the locals were lovely.
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Old 11-20-23, 12:35 PM
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Bikepacking Scotland: routes, books

https://bikepackingscotland.com/

Off the beaten track:


Rainspotting, the movie:

A tiny adventure in the Shetlands:
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Old 11-20-23, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 2WheelWilly
...
Another place I've dreamed of trying is Nova Scotia, so I'd love suggestions there, too. But, really, any week-long trip that you've loved, I'm all ears.

Thank you for any suggestions!
FYI, a few days ago I posted a map of where I went in Nova Scotia, PEI and a couple days in New Brunswick in 2019. But my trip was five weeks at a relaxed pace out of Halifax which is where I flew in and out of.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...ps-canada.html

A week long trip out of Halifax would not give you many sites to see, Sydney might be a better airport if you could get flights in and out of there if you only have a week. I met a gal from the UK bike touring in NS, she planned to fly out of Sydney.
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Old 11-21-23, 09:34 AM
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As an aside, I would say that flying to Europe for only a week trip, dealing with a 5 or 6 hours time difference and jetlag, is not ideal.
if you've done this before and are okay with that, great, but it's not ideal.
I have some trip suggestions, but will put down more later today.
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Old 11-21-23, 12:48 PM
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A friend & I toured in western Scotland. My favorite part was the isle of Mull. Everywhere on that island was gorgeous. We took a ferry from Tobermory to the Ardnamurchan peninsula and continued up to Skye. If you've only got a week, biking from Oban to Fort Augustus or Inverness via Mull & Skye might work. With so little time, I'd spend most of it on Mull & Skye. You're probably aware that the west coast of Scotland is typically very wet. We enjoyed exceptionally dry and warm weather during the first half of June, however.

As for Nova Scotia, Cape Breton island was easily my favorite part of the province. It's not just the Cabot Trail, but also the area around the tidal salt water Bras d'Or lake. The interior of mainland NS is scrubby and not particularly interesting. I was a bit disappointed with the coastal area between Halifax and Yarmouth. There was quite a bit of traffic, and I think the Maine coast is generally prettier. From Yarmouth up along the Bay of Fundy was OK.
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Old 11-22-23, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
A friend & I toured in western Scotland. My favorite part was the isle of Mull. Everywhere on that island was gorgeous. We took a ferry from Tobermory to the Ardnamurchan peninsula and continued up to Skye. If you've only got a week, biking from Oban to Fort Augustus or Inverness via Mull & Skye might work. With so little time, I'd spend most of it on Mull & Skye. You're probably aware that the west coast of Scotland is typically very wet. We enjoyed exceptionally dry and warm weather during the first half of June, however.
I was in Glasgow for a few days in January visiting friends. We drove to Oban one of those days and I kept thinking that I’d have love to have been able to do some riding there. it was beautiful. I understand going north from Oban is also beautiful. I’d personally like to ride the national cycling route(s) from Inverness to Glasgow one day. The Badger divide is an off road route from Inverness to Glasgow. I believe there are a few recent videos on YouTube featuring it.

The Lake District in England is about 150 miles south of Glasgow and to me was even more beautiful…at least in winter, but in the summer months is probably terribly crowded.
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Old 11-22-23, 01:13 PM
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In 2016 we rode part of the North Coast 500. The section from Ullapool to Tongue was spectacular. Easily some of the best road touring I've ever experienced. You will contend with motor homes during the middle of the day, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that nobody is going fast.

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Old 11-22-23, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by niknak
In 2016 we rode part of the North Coast 500. The section from Ullapool to Tongue was spectacular.
Shucks, while one is in the neighborhood, might as well do Cape Wrath.

Suitable for framing:
https://shop.cyclinguk.org/cape-wrath-certificate


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Old 11-22-23, 10:29 PM
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I spent a month in northern Scotland this summer, but mostly visiting family there.
I did some biking here and there, not a big amount, and all in the north-- some on one of the Hebrides islands, so I can recommend looking at The Hebridean Way, a bike route that involves different islands and ferry taking. This was on regular roads generally, although a bit on some more remote roads, paved and gravel also, and overall I can say that Scottish drivers are quite respectful of cyclists--but the caveat is that in Scotland, there are busy roads that you really don't want to be riding on, no fun, narrow with lots of fast traffic and little or no shoulders. I'm not bothered that much by traffic in general, but there are roads that really aren't worth riding on, too dangerous and really would not be enjoyable at all.
Looking up established routes as others have mentioned will at least be known routes that will have better choices of roads than just winging it.

I also rode more offroad in a large National park called the Cairngorm Ntl Park. Really beautiful, but a different sort of trip than road riding. I modified my bike from road tires and four panniers to a bikepacking setup with mtb tires, and often was in fairly remote areas where I hardly saw other people or riders at all for good parts of the day, on all kinds of surfaces, paved narrow roads, to dirt and gravel single track roads, to actual single track and double track off-road stuff, hike a bike sections and including stream and small river crossings,--but super super beautiful and I loved riding there.

All the stereotypes you read about apply though--changing weather all the time, rain on and off, can be windy, will be hilly (at least in the Highlands where I was). This august was the coldest august I've ever experienced in my life. It was pretty common to be riding in 12, 15c temps, with wind , and colder at night, so you really should know what clothes work for you in predominantly cool temps.
Having really good full rain gear is a must. I hate being cold and wet, but my stuff worked well, so I wasn't miserable.

The Scottish midges were a real factor (I ate in my tent often as they were bad) and having a bug net and some life experience dealing wth bothersome biting and stinging insects would be a big help. I grew up in Canada doing outdoor stuff and am used to mosquitoes and black flies, but found midges to be a particularly tricky insect to deal with, so be prepared and read up on them.
If you and your friends have never camped with bugs in your lives, midges could be a hell of a shock.
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