Trip created by Craig Little
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The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in Scotland, covering a vast area of over 4,500km2 of wild Highland landscapes. On this trip, we’re going to ride around it.
Our route will take us over mountain passes, through ancient forests and alongside beautiful lochs and silvery rivers. There will be some challenging ascents and some amazing descents, and every night a hearty Highland meal and comfy accommodation to look forward to. With two expert guides with you, this trip has all the makings of a classic.
Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.
We meet this morning in Aviemore at the train station at 10am. After introductions and welcome brief from your guides, we’ll have a quick session to set up and fit bikes before we head for our first ride to get warmed up before the start of our journey tomorrow. Riding straight from Aviemore we’ll enjoy an easy ride along the Speyside Way to the town of Grantown-on-Spey where we stay tonight. (L, D)
Route Details: 26km/16miles
Today we start our circuit of the Cairngorms with a cross country ride across through the Caledonian Forest and the Braes of Abernethy. Starting from Glenmore we first ride through the beautiful Ryvoan pass before a short stony ascent takes us to Ryvoan bothy. From here the route winds down, into and through Abernethy Forest on good trails. After a second narrow pass in the hills, we gain open countryside and pass the ancient ruins of long-abandoned crofts on our way to the village of Tomintoul – the highest in the Highlands. (B, L, D)
Route Details: 30km/18.5miles
Today we take on a wild route through the eastern Cairngorms to the village of Ballater beside the River Dee. From Tomintoul, we head south following the River Avon into the patchworked hills and deep glen Avon. The ride is fairly level until we say goodbye to the Avon at a bend in the glen and continue south in Glen Builg. A steepish ascent and path beside Loch Builg brings us to a junction where we pick up the River Gairn and follow this east downstream to the humpbacked stone bridge at Gairnshiel Lodge. From here a short, downhill road section takes us to our accommodation in Ballater. (B, L, D)
Route Details: 39.5km/24.5miles
Today we will follow the River Dee from the Invercauld Bridge to Ballater. Riding a scenic trail from the National Trust estate of Mar Lodge we will enter the Royal Estate of Balmoral. With several excellent routes to choose from, we can decide on the day depending on energy levels. All trails lead to Balmoral Castle where we can wave to the Queen if she’s in. From here we ride to the village of Braemar. (B, L, D)
Route Details: 28km/17miles
Starting this morning from the impressive Linn of Dee near Braemar we’ll ride to Blair Atholl through wild country on a mix of single and double track. We first head west along the Dee to White Bridge (not really white) where we swing southwards. After passing the ruins of Bynack Lodge we face 10km of single track with some challenging spots, including the Falls of Tarff which we cross by a remarkable and very remote suspension bridge. The route then takes us into Glen Tilt which offers easy riding all the way down to Blair Atholl. (B, L, D)
Route Details: 34km/21miles
From Blair Atholl, we’ll transfer a short distance to the start of today’s ride. We’ll take a scenic route north through the hills to Strathspey. A short ascent leads to a mostly level ride north until we come to Loch an Dun, where there is an epic section of singletrack that traverses the hill beside the loch, a challenging but rewarding section. The route then follows decent trails past a few more lochs into the top of Glen Tromie. From here it’s easy riding all the way down the glen to Kingussie. (B, L D)
Route Details: 38km/24miles
On our final morning, we start riding on the woody trails of Inshriach and Glen Feshie. Following a mix of single track and forest road, we do a short ride north back into the beautiful Caledonian forest of Rothiemurchus. At gorgeous Loch an Eilean we’ll finish our ride with the perfect backdrop for an end-of-trip photo and celebration picnic. Afterwards, a short transfer takes us back to Aviemore where we complete the trip at the train station in the early afternoon. (B, L)
Route Details: 26km/16miles
During this trip we will stay in charming and comfortable B&Bs and guest houses, all carefully chosen for their warm welcome. As this is a point to point ride we will be moving accommodation each night, and luggage will be transported in our support vehicle.
There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement of £295 is charged.
Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Breakfasts and lunches and dinners are included throughout. Naturally, vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for, simply let us know at the time of booking.
On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
Your Guide will meet you at the Aviemore Railway Station by the fixed seating area at 10:00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Aviemore Railway Station at 3:00pm on the final day of your trip.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|1st Aug - 7th Aug 2020||5 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,795||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
Craig has over 12 years experience in delivering travel experiences and events of exceptional quality across Scotland. As one of the longest-serving members of the Wilderness Scotland team, Craig’s speciality is in road cycling and mountain biking. His expertise and innovation helped create the Road Cycling Guide Award which helps all our guiding team deliver excellence on our trips.
- Craig LittleAsk Craig a Question
Blue Graded Mountain Biking Holidays 4-6
Our blue graded mountain biking holidays are suitable for people with previous experience of mountain biking at an intermediate level.
You can expect around 6-8 hours of riding each day so a good level of fitness is required. Distances covered will typically be in the range of 40km-60km each day with the occasional longer ride. Trail conditions will be very varied; everything from quiet minor roads to island beaches, land-rover tracks and short sections of single-track riding through rugged mountainous terrain, which will be technical in places.