You might think that, alas, this is not the place for gentle cycling. And you would be correct - but for the vehicle support we provide as part of this guided tour. As a result we have planned an itinerary where you can avoid cycling any big hills or even medium sized hills and any main roads. We are very pleased with the route we have designed and its close historical links with the infamous Bonnie Prince Charlie, its blend of castles, local crafts, fishing culture and seafood and its unsurpassed landscapes. We know that you will be pleased too.- this is a unique experience not to be missed !
On this tour, you will cycle at your own pace with your host/guide briefing you each morning, sweeping your route and meeting you for lunch and at the highlight locations en route. He will be your host with you for the duration of the tour, providing vehicle support along the route, fixing any bike problems, sharing his local knowledge and making sure a fun time is had by all.
Starts Thursday 18th June and Thursday 3rd September and is circular from Fort William. Fort William is easily reached by train or road from London and Glasgow. Inverness, Glasgow and Prestwick airports are not too far away.
Accommodation: Centrally located hotels in the Scottish Highland centres of Fort William, Glencoe and Oban and small hotels on the Outer Hebridean islands of Barra and North Uist and on the island of Skye. Breakfast is included each day and two dinners.
Cycling mileage: 7 days of cycling. 20 miles (32 km) per day
Grade out of 5 based on distance and elevation: 4
Terrain: A few hills most days
Traffic free: All minor roads with little traffic.
Day One - Fort William
Arrive in Fort William and check into your hotel in the heart of the city. Your guide will meet you after lunch and organise your cycling equipment for tomorrow's ride. There will then be an opportunity, weather permitting, to take the gondola up the mountain just east of Ben Nevis, or you will visit nearby Inverlochy Castle. In the evening enjoy a welcome seafood dinner in the town with your cycling companions for the week.
Day Two - Fort William to Glencoe
20 miles (32 km)
After a good Scottish breakfast we will transfer you a short distance to the shores of Loch Eil. From here, it's an idyllically peaceful, and completely unspoilt ride along Lochs Eil and Linnhe and as there are no refreshments in this part of the world, we will stop for a picnic lunch together. With barely a slope on your route and the shore always at your side, sheep, bogs and woodland are in the foreground and Ben Nevis in the background. At the end of the ride, there is a short ferry crossing and a transfer to a different but glorious scene at Glencoe where you will spend the night...
Day Three - Glencoe to Oban
10 or 22 miles (16 km or 35 km)
Today begins with a transfer through the dramatic setting of the pass at Glencoe. Historically significant and scenically marvellous it will take your breath away. The quiet glen that follows provides a very pretty and sheltered downhill cycling route with waterfalls worth more than just a camera stop. After lunch there is a further optional ride through a gently rolling landscape of small farms and sheep clad slopes that leads right into the coastal town of Oban. Your overnight stay in the heart of the town allows you to easily explore this rather charming gateway to the isles..
Day Four - Oban to Castlebay, Barra
9 miles (14 km)
The morning offers a choice. You can explore Oban under your own steam - there are some interesting shops, a distillery and a busy fishing port or you can ride with your guide along the coast to Dunstaffnage Bay to see the castle there and the marine science centre. It is of course a ride with a view, looking out to the numerous islands that lie close by and beyond. In the afternoon you board the ferry for Barra - a fantastic 5 hour crossing past Mull and Ardnamurchan Point. There will be lots of daylight as well as it won’t get dark until about 11.00pm so Barra will have the light behind it as the ferry comes in. Your hotel for the next two nights is closeby once you have landed.
Day Five - Circular Ride on Barra
20 miles (32 km)
Pinch yourself as you rise and listen to the silence. Then pedal away to Vattersay - once an island but now linked to Barra, and discover its idyllic sandy beaches. There are some short hills on this section but the views are worth the sffort! The rest of the ride around the island to the most northerly point is gentle and awesome and heads past the world's only runway that uses a beach at low tide. The landscape is one of sea, sand, stoney outcrops and green, dotted with sheep and dwellings. Enjoy a second night on Barra.
Day Six - Barra to North Uist
20 miles (32 km)
Start the day with a short ferry crossing from Barra to the tiny island of Eriskay. Your guide will then lead you across the causeway to South Uist where you will spend the rest of the day pedalling very gently north along tiny back roads through bogs and ponds to bays, inns and a craft centre. Whilst you see hills to the east, your route is flat and abundant with wildlife. The island has a different feel to that of Barra and displays a wild charm. Your stay for the next two nights is in North Uist.
Day Seven - Circular Ride on North Uist
22 miles (35 km)
This morning you will visit a craft centre and the local fish smokehouse before pedalling around the remote west side of the island. Here there are long beautiful views, lots of water, some gentle slopes and one or two outstanding refreshment stops as you ride as far north as you can onto the island of Berneray, now linked to North Uist by causeway. The destination is breathtaking and remote. We will transfer you back to your hotel for a second night in North Uist.
Day Eight - North Uist to Portree, Skye
20 miles (3 km)
A short ferry crossing takes you onto the island of Skye where we will transfer you to an open air museum with a small croft at its centre. You can then enjoy the stunning and dramatic setting of the hills to the north of the island before the final pedal of the tour. This will take you downhill along the coast right into the heart of Portree, the capital of Skye where you will stay overnight. Nestled above the pretty harbour, you can share a farewell dinner together and och aye spin a few yarns.
Day Nine - Transfer to Fort William and Depart
After breakfast, the tour includes a short ferry crossing back to the mainland at Mallaig and a transfer from there by minibus to Fort William. If you wish to take the afternoon steam train from Mallaig to Fort William , this is an optional extra.
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