- 10+ Guests Price as advertised*
- 8-9 Guests +$500 per person to trip price*
- 6-7 Guests +$1,000 per person to trip price*
- 4-5 Guests +$1,500 per person to trip price*
- 2-3 Guests +$2,500 per person to trip price*
Welcome to the Scottish Highlands! As you gaze out across the misty hills draped in melancholy, remember that this place is defined by its unique, one-of-a-kind climate, landscape and big heart. Your Trek Travel guides will meet you at the Atholl Palace in Pitlochry at 10:00 am. After a brief introduction to the rules of the road and fit to your Trek bike, we’ll head north as a group to the Highland village of Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park for a relaxed lunch at a local cafe. Our warm-up route first takes us on a scenic loop along the River Dee and through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest. We’ll then head east along the river, passing the Royal Castle of Balmoral before arriving in the quaint village of Ballater. There, in the heart of the village, we’ll enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and learn more about the week ahead in the Scottish Highlands as we dine on a selection of local specialties.
Braemar to Ballater
Approximately 30 miles with 1,300 feet of climbing
Lunch | Social Hour | Dinner
We’ll get to know Scotland’s natural beauty today, with a ride along the river, through forests and mountains. Starting out from the square in Ballater we follow the valley of Royal Deeside before turning north and passing through several small villages to reach the next valley of Donside. You can expect quiet roads in this scenic corner of the Highlands where heather-clad hills form the beautiful backdrop. After a delectable picnic lunch we’ll gently climb alongside the river before reaching our first challenge of the tour. Two climbs take us over military roads built in the 1700s to help government forces travel through these wild highlands. Magnificent views across the mountains of the Cairngorms National Park provide ample reward as does the fast cruise down to the tiny village of Crathie. Here you will find the Queen’s official residence in Scotland - Balmoral Castle. From Balmoral, it’s a short distance back to our starting point in Ballater. Now it’s time to relax before dinner on your own, with a stroll around the village or perhaps a pint at the local pub. If you'd like, you may play a round of golf at the Ballater Golf Club this afternoon or evening (not included in trip price, please request with your trip consultant upon booking so the guides can assist with arranging a tee time). Our hotel is just a few minutes walk from the club.
Ballater to Royal Deeside valley Loop
Approximately 55 miles with 4,100 feet of climbing
Golf at the Ballater Club
Breakfast | Lunch
Are you ready to discover the distilled side of Scotland? Enjoy a relaxed Highland breakfast before rolling out of Ballater and into the hills for a classic Scottish ride to Craigellachie in the heart of Speyside’s Whisky Country. Our route crosses one of the highest roads in the UK, the Lecht Pass, with some steep ramps which will test your legs and challenge your heart. From the pass it’s a fast blast downhill into the highest village in the Highlands – Tomintoul. Explore the highest village in the Highlands over a lunch of your choice before cruising through Speyside which is the undisputed home of Scotch Whisky. We’ll stop by for a visit and tasting at the famous Glenfiddich Distillery. From here it’s just five more miles more to our overnight stop at Craigellachie perched above the River Spey. Then, it’s time to relax and unwind before gathering as a group for dinner. In the hotel, you will find the world’s most famous whisky bar – The “Quaich” houses an amazing range of 900 whiskies!
Ballater to Craigellachie
Approximately 47 miles with 3,500 feet of climbing
Visit and whisky tasting at the Glenfiddich Distillery
Breakfast | Dinner
Today we dig deeper into another famous tall tale of Scottish history with a trip down to mystical, magical Loch Ness. A 40-minute transfer takes us to the tiny Speyside village of Nethy Bridge. Riding west, we enjoy superb views of the high summits of the Cairngorms National Park. At Carrbridge, we pause to admire the famous arched ‘Packhorse Bridge’, which dates back to 1717. We then turn northwest, passing under the impressive Findhorn Viaduct which was completed in 1897, as we ride towards the village of Farr. After a picnic lunch, we ride across the wild moors which form the southern banks of Loch Ness. The ride ends with an epic descent which drops 1,300 feet over 5 miles, taking us down to the banks of Loch Ness itself and directly to our hotel in the attractive village of Fort Augustus. Here you’re free to explore the village for dinner on your own, and our guides are happy to provide some local favorite destinations. This evening you may play a round of golf at the Fort Augustus Golf Club, arguably the hardest par 67 layout in Scotland (not included in trip price, please request with your trip consultant upon booking so the guides can assist with arranging a tee time). Our hotel is just a short mile from the club.
Speyside to Fort Augustus with Shuttle
Approximately 57 miles with 2,200 feet of climbing
Golf at the Fort Augustus Club
Breakfast | Lunch
Loch Ness is so much more than the story of a monster, and we’ll see it all on this epic day. It starts with a private boat trip on the Loch Ness to access the 13th -century Castle Urquhart. Choose to stop and take a tour to learn more about this fascinating place and its turbulent past. Your bikes will be waiting for you when you’re done to continue a classic loop in the hills above Loch Ness. You can expect some of Scotland’s most magnificent, spellbinding scenery along the way, including the majestic mountains of Glen Affric and the forested beauty of Aigas Gorge. Our final descent takes us from the hills back down to the shores of the Loch – from here we'll shuttle to Fort Augustus. Relax back at the hotel and prepare your stories for sharing over drinks and dinner with your new friends that evening.
Loch Ness to Aigas Gorge Loop
Approximately 50 miles with 2,900 feet of climbing
Private boat trip on the Loch Ness
Tour the 13th Century Castle Urquhart
Breakfast | Social Hour | Dinner
Sadly, it’s time to bid farewell to your Trek Travel guides and the atmospheric Scottish Highlands – perhaps with one final ride up a local classic climb used on the Loch Ness Etape. Or, simply rise at your own pace and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we take a one-hour transfer to the Highland capital of Inverness. A private Trek Travel shuttle will depart from the hotel at 9:00 AM and you'll say farewell to your guides. We’ll aim to reach Inverness by 10:00 AM to connect with regional flights to London/Amsterdam or for trains south to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Please do not schedule a flight out of Inverness Airport before 12:30 PM or a train before 10:30 AM on the last day to allow plenty of time for any unforeseen delays.
Fort Augustus to Foyers Return
Approximately 15 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing
We suggest that you arrive at least one day prior to the trip start, which will enable you to adjust to the time zone and minimize the risk of missing the trip start due to flight-related delays. We recommend you fly into Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and then take a train to Pitlochry. There are multiple train departures each day, and the ride takes two to three hours. Train schedules can be found at www.scotrail.co.uk.
Atholl Palace | Pitlochry, UK
Your Trek Travel guides will meet you at the Atholl Palace (Perth Rd, Pitlochry PH16 5LX, UK) at 10:00 AM on the first day of the trip. You’ll then shuttle approximately one hour to the trip start. Please have your first day’s riding gear handy and separate from your other luggage to facilitate the bike fitting and ride.
If you will be late for the pick-up or will miss it altogether, please inform your guides. You will receive an email a week before the trip start with their names and contact details. If you cannot reach them, please call our first hotel, Deeside Inn (+44 1339 755413), and leave a message with your expected arrival time and contact details. A taxi to the first night’s hotel will cost approximately $100.View our pre hotel recommendations
Lovat Hotel | Fort Augustus, Scotland
You will say farewell to your guides at 9:00 AM at The Lovat Hotel. You'll then board a 1-hour private shuttle to Inverness where you can be dropped off either at the train station or the airport. Please do not book flights for departure prior to 12:30 PM or train tickets for departure prior to 10:30 AM.View our post hotel recommendations
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See itinerary for specific daily ride distances and elevation options. On all of our vacations, Trek Travel strives to find quiet, paved secondary roads or bike paths to experience a region; busy roads are avoided as much as possible. Our itineraries are an approximation of our trips. Trek Travel strives to offer every guest a vacation of a lifetime on every trip. At times routes, hotels, activities, etc. listed here may change at the discretion of the trip designer or guides to improve the trip experience.
Averages and totals are calculated from our Today’s Ride options.
Summer temperatures range from the 50s to 70s. Always remember that rain is possible at any time of the year–daily Scottish weather is very unpredictable! It’s a good idea to bring a light rain jacket, as well as layers. Packing List
Pitlochry is a popular town located just south of Cairngorms National Park in the heart of Highland Perthshire. It is known for hiking, golfing, architecture, distilleries, and gardens. The town developed from the 18th-Century, and from the time Queen Victoria visited it, it became a popular holiday destination. The beautiful surrounding area with many lochs, glens and high hills, features standing stones, stone circles and other ancient sites such as the 1,200 year-old Dunfallandy Stone. If you choose to stay in Edinburgh before your trip, note that August can be very busy due to the Tattoo and the Edinburgh Fringe both taking place during that month. If you wish to attend either of these events, we recommend you book accommodation and travel well in advance. For more information, visit www.edintattoo.co.uk and www.edfringe.com. We recommend the following accommodations for your pre-trip hotel in Pitlochry:
As one of the smallest cities in Scotland with some 55,000 people, Inverness is ideally located as a hub in the north of Scotland. Known as the "Highland Capital" Inverness offers outdoor activities as well as many cultural attractions. Enjoy dolphin watching on Chanonry Point, arguably the best place to watch Bottlenose Dolphins in Scotland. Walk along the Caledonian Canal, a Scheduled Ancient Monument that runs the length of the Great Glen. Explore some local castles and forteresses and learn about highland clan history, or savor a pint with some live music at the Hootananny Ceilidh Bar. If you like to play golf, there are several Links courses nearby: Royal Dornoch (www.royaldornoch.com), Castle Stuart (www.castlestuartgolf.com), and Nairn Dunbar (www.nairndunbar.com) We recommend the following accommodations for your post-trip hotel:
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