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Scotland

The Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness

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The gentle hills. Meandering coastal paths. Lochs, lakes and waterways around every turn. These braes were built to be discovered by bicycle, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.

Quiet roads, views of heather-clad mountains, some testing climbs and superb descents through Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes all conspire to romance your heart and challenge your legs. Put away your golf spikes and three-iron for a moment and consider this: Scotland was actually built for bikes, too. Riding through the Highlands, you will be treated to stunning scenery each day, along with a huge array of cultural experiences, as we visit castles, a distillery and perhaps a microbrewery too. The weather is lovely this time of year and temperatures are perfect for cycling. Throw in some excellent Scottish cuisine, such as locally reared venison and beef at our hand-picked restaurants, and you can ensure that the food is as much a highlight as the riding. And by the time we’re finished, you’ll be forgiven if you heretofore consider Scotland a cycling paradise first, and a golf destination a far second.

Dates:


Daily Itinerary

View Day-To-Day

Day
1
Day
1

Today's Ride:

Braemar to Ballater
Approximately 30 miles with 1,300 feet of climbing

Description:

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.

Hotel:

Deeside Inn
Visit Website

Included Meals:

Lunch | Social Hour | Dinner


Day
2
Day
2

Today's Ride:

Ballater to Royal Deeside valley Loop
Approximately 55 miles with 4,100 feet of climbing

Today's Optional Activity:

Golf at the Ballater Club

Description:

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.

Hotel:

Deeside Inn
Visit Website

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Lunch


Day
3
Day
3

Today's Ride:

Ballater to Craigellachie
Approximately 47 miles with 3,500 feet of climbing

Today's Activity:

Visit and whiskey tasting at the Glenfiddich Distillery

Description:

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!

Hotel:

Craigellachie Hotel
Visit Website

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Dinner


Day
4
Day
4

Today's Ride:

Speyside to Fort Augustus with Shuttle
Approximately 57 miles with 2,200 feet of climbing

Today's Optional Activity:

Golf at the Fort Augustus Club

Description:

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.

Hotel:

The Lovat
Visit Website

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Lunch


Day
5
Day
5

Today's Ride:

Loch Ness to Aigas Gorge Loop
Approximately 50 miles with 2,900 feet of climbing

Today's Activity:

Private boat trip on the Loch Ness

Today's Activity:

Tour the 13th Century Castle Urquhart

Description:

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.

Hotel:

The Lovat
Visit Website

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Social Hour | Dinner


Day
6
Day
6

Today's Ride:

Fort Augustus to Foyers Return
Approximately 15 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing

Description:

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 8:00 AM and you'll say farewell to your guides. We’ll aim to reach Inverness by 9:00 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 11:30 AM or a train before 9:30 AM on the last day to allow plenty of time for any unforeseen delays.

Included Meals:

Breakfast


Dates & Pricing

The earlier you book, the greater the rewards

We reward our guests with lower pricing and more dates to choose from the earlier you book. Rest assured, once you book, your price and date are guaranteed.

2018


Jul
29th -
Aug
3rd
/ 6 days / 5 nights
$3699 / Person, $750 / Single Occupancy
Guaranteed *
Aug
5th - 10th / 6 days / 5 nights
$3699 / Person, $750 / Single Occupancy
Guaranteed *
Aug
12th - 17th / 6 days / 5 nights
$3699 / Person, $750 / Single Occupancy
Guaranteed *
Aug
19th - 24th / 6 days / 5 nights
$3699 / Person, $750 / Single Occupancy
Guaranteed *
Aug
26th - 31st / 6 days / 5 nights
$3699 / Person, $750 / Single Occupancy
Guaranteed *

What is Single Occupancy?

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself.

Hotels

Stay at the Deeside Inn on a Trek Travel Scotland Bike Tour

Deeside Inn

Ballater, Scotland

Nestled in the heart of Ballater, the Deeside Inn combines old-world charm and new-world amenities. It has recently been renovated while keeping many of its orginal 19th-Century features such as beamed ceilings, open fires, and wooden panelling. In the restaurant you can expect local produce from the surrounding hills, rivers and farmland.
Stay at the Craigellachie Hotel on a Trek Travel Scotland Bike Tour

Craigellachie Hotel

Craigellachie, Scotland

Built in 1893, the Craigellachie Hotel is at the heart of Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail. With the atmosphere of a countryside home, it won't take long to feel like a member of the family here. A must for any visitor to the hotel is a stop into The Quaich, considered the world’s leading whisky bar with an incredible range of over 900 malts and blends. This region is also one of the country’s finest for food. Expect Aberdeen Angus Beef, locally smoked salmon, artisan cheeses and wild Scottish berries to feature in the hotel’s restaurant.
Stay at the Lovat Hotel on a Trek Travel Scotland Bike Tour

The Lovat

Fort Augustus, Scotland

The Lovat is the only four-star, three-Rosette hotel in Loch Ness. This award-winning hotel is a short walk from the shores of the majestic and internationally famous loch. It has been fully upgraded in recent years with environmentally conscious additions to classic architecture stretching back to the 1860’s. You can expect comfortable rooms, stylish lounges and fantastic food from the 3AA Rosette restaurant. It's a great place to stay for the final part of your Scotland journey.

What's Included

We Include More

Every moment of a Trek Travel bike trip has more than you could have ever dreamed. More romance. More scenery. More choice. It's the little additions to every Trek Travel cycling vacation that make it truly special. And that’s how we help you create more memories. See more

  • Gratuities for all scheduled special events, restaurants, hotels, local guides and transportation during your trip.
  • Private tours
  • Entrance fees to all group events/activities
  • All transportation during the trip, including private coaches
  • Private tour of Glenfiddich whisky distillery with tasting
  • Boat ride on Loch Ness
  • Visit the 13th-Century Urquhart Castle
  • Daily breakfast, 3 lunches, 2 social hours, 3 dinners, and all snacks and drinks for each day’s ride
  • On our Scotland bike tour, meals include locally sourced meats and produce as well as world-class seafood. Scottish cuisine will surprise you with its mix of traditional pub fare and new interpretation of favorite dishes.
  • 5 nights of unique accommodations during the Ireland trip
  • In every region we travel, we uncover the area’s best, and most delightful accommodations. On our Scotland bike tour, these hotels are a history lesson and getaway packed into one. All three hotels are recently renovated historical properties. Two of the hotels are in the heart of quaint towns, and the other is peacefully tucked into the countryside.
  • The knowledge, support, and camaraderie of experienced guides
  • Daily route support
  • Paper route guides also available upon request
  • Comprehensive trip literature
  • The use of a Trek Domane SL 7 carbon road bike with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, or Trek 7.6 FX Hybrid bicycle
  • Trek Electric Assist XM700+ also available in a limited quantity
  • The use of GPS cycling computer
  • The use of Bontrager bike helmets and other gear and equipment to make your ride comfortable
  • Trek Travel water bottles
  • Coupon valued up to $500 off a new Trek Bicycle. Contact us for details.
  • Trek Travel Bontrager RL jersey

Thank your Guides, by tipping

Gratuities for your Trek Travel guides are not included in your trip price. We recommend tipping 7.5-10% of your trip price for the guide team. Local currency is preferred and unless you want to tip separately, guides will divide tips amongst themselves. Please tip your guides at your discretion, based on their level of professionalism, guest care and service.

  • Airfare and transportation to and from the trip pick-up/drop-off locations
  • Lodging before and after the trip
  • Personal items purchased during the trip
  • Optional activities not scheduled by Trek Travel
  • On select trips some meals are not included. On these trips, Trek Travel invites you to explore the local cuisine at your leisure.
  • Gratuities for your Trek Travel Guides may be given at your discretion in response to their professionalism and leadership.Industry standard is for each individual guest to tip the guide team 7.5-10% of the trip price.

FAQs

Trip Changes

Our itineraries are an approximation of our trips. Trek Travel strives to offer each and 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.

  • Rider Type | 3
  • Average Daily Mileage | 50
  • Terrain | Hilly
  • Average Daily Elevation | 2,200 ft.

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. Scotland is best suited for our Type 3 Riders. Our Trek Travel guides can also easily accommodate Type 2 Riders, who seek less mileage or fewer uphills, with a boost in the van. Those who wish to ride every mile but are concerned about their physical ability may want to try our electric bike option–you still get a workout but can climb alongside even the strongest rider. Type 4 Riders will enjoy the extra mileage the avid route options offer. The terrain in Scotland includes quiet roads with views of heather-clad mountains, testing climbs, and superb descents. See Itinerary for specific daily ride distance and elevation options.

On most Trek Travel trips, we offer non-riding options for riders who want to take the afternoon off, or travel companions who want to spend little or no time in the saddle. Some of these options may need to be scheduled before your trip–please contact one of our Trip Consultants for more information. Expenses and/or related transportation to these activities may not be included in the trip price. See Included In The Trip Price for more information.Some non-riding options on this trip are:

  • Private tour of Glenfiddich whisky distillery with tasting
  • Boat ride on Loch Ness
  • Visit the 13th-Century Urquhart Castle
  • Golf (not included)

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.

If you’re going we’re going on almost all our trips. Trips with 1 guest booked are guaranteed to run. Select trips like Cross Country, Race and Special Edition trips require a minimum number of guests to run and are not guaranteed until that number is reached. Contact your Trip Consultant for more details.

In the event that a departure has low enrollment, we will notify guests at 60-90 days before departure to give the option to select a different date with more guests booked. Please do not reserve airfare before confirming your Trek Travel trip.

When a trip is booked, a guest confirmation letter is immediately sent out. One week prior to the trip start you will receive an email containing a trip start meeting location reminder and any last minute information that you will need to know before your trip. Once you arrive at your destination Trek Travel staff will brief you on the day-to-day plan for the trip and provide you with daily route guides and a detailed map allowing you to ride with complete confidence and independence.

We understand things happen in life and sometimes you have to cancel or change your bike tour. We want to make it as easy as possible to do so and below you will find our timeline. If you ever have a question, just give us a call, 866 464 8735. Read our cancellation policy.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Check out our General FAQs section. You will find answers to all the most common questions that don't necessarily pertain to a specific trip.

Meeting & Departing

How to get there

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. Your guides will arrive wearing Trek Travel gear so you can easily identify them. You’ll then shuttle approximately one hour to the trip start. Please have your bike gear packed in a separate bag, as you will not be able to check into your rooms prior to your bike ride and will not have easy access to your luggage as your guides ensure it is delivered to the hotel.

If you will be late for the pick-up or are going to 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.

Lovat Hotel | Fort Augustus, Scotland

You will say farewell to your guides at 8:00 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 11:30 AM or train tickets for departure prior to 9:30 AM.

Before: Pitlochry, UK

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:

East Haugh House

This 17th-Century turreted stone house was converted to a small country house hotel and is perfectly suited for guests to have a leisurely woodland walk or explore Pitlochry.

Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5TE | +44 (0)1796 473121 | www.easthaugh.co.uk | $130

Pine Trees Hotel

This four star Country House Hotel is nestled in ten acres of gardens and woodlands and is just a five minute walk from the town centre. It's an ideal base for exploring everything Perthshire has to offer.

Moulin Hotel

The Moulin Hotel embraces a warm and welcoming world of peace, tranquility and traditional Scottish hospitality. Perfectly situated in the village square of Moulin, the hotel sits peacefully just 3/4 of a mile away from the bustling and perenially popular tourist town of Pitlochry.

Moulin, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5EW | +44(0)1796 472 196 | www.moulinhotel.co.uk | $130

After: Inverness, UK

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:

Kingsmill Hotel

The Kingsmills Hotel is a four-star hotel offering spa services, a restaurant serving locally sourced delicacies, and good old-fashioned Scottish hospitality.

Culcabock Road, Inverness, Scotland, IV2 3LP | +44 (0) 1463 237 166 | www.kingsmillshotel.com/ | $150

Heathmount Hotel

Heathmount Hotel is a small family owned boutique hotel featuring stylish rooms and its own bar and restaurant, all close to the center of town.

Kingsmill Road, Inverness IV2 3JU | +44 (0)1463 235877 | www.heathmounthotel.com | $180

Loch Ness Country House Hotel

A comfortable and tranquil getaway, this Country House features a Georgian exterior complemented by an elegant modern interior.

Loch Ness Road (A82), Inverness IV3 8JN | +44 (0)1463 230512 | www.lochnesscountryhousehotel.co.uk | $250


* Hotels listed above are local properties we love. We do not have special rates available.

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