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Road Cycling – Coast to Coast

  • Ride right across Highland Scotland from the east to the west coast
  • Quiet roads, testing climbs and superb descents through the UK’s most spectacular landscapes
  • Visit the beautiful Cairngorms National Park, atmospheric Loch Ness and the mighty mountains of Torridon
  • 6 days professional guiding with lead guide plus assistant guide/support driver
  • 6 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/ inns/guest houses on a B&B basis
  • Meals stated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Vehicle transport throughout including ride support and luggage transfers
  • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary
  • Ride snacks, home-baking and drinks

Red Graded Road Cycling Holidays 7-9

Red graded trips are suitable only for fit and experienced riders who love cycling and enjoy the challenge of longer days in the saddle, riding for consecutive days.

Distances range from 40 – 70 miles each day, cycling at roughly 12mph. We will ride variety of terrain from rolling countryside to hilly and mountainous areas. Most days will be challenging and the trip will include some of the more testing climbs in Scotland including high mountain passes. These harder climbs are rewarded with fast and exciting descents. We will often be in the saddle for 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches plus visits to some sites of interest.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food along the route we travel. We use a variety of accommodations such as country inns, guesthouses and small hotels, all hand-picked by us. Accommodation is in a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities.

Lunch each day will be either a wilderness picnic or taken at a local cafe/restaurant. Drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day as you require. Evening meals are included on the first and final evenings, and on this itinerary and we have the flexibility to take evening meals in local restaurants or pubs. Based upon our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route.

SINGLE ROOMS

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 require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £225 is charged if a single room is available.

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Aberdeen Railway Station at 11:00am on Day 1 of your trip. The trip will conclude and you will be dropped off at Inverness Railway Station for 12:00 noon on the final day of the trip.

For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland/

Trip Details

The Coast to Coast cycle is a rewarding journey of 262 miles/419km travelling from Aberdeen on the east coast to Applecross in the west.

Cycling across the country we’ll climb over 17,000 feet/5,180 metres, including the UK’s highest and in our opinion arguably the most challenging road climb.

Throw in some excellent Scottish cuisine, including the Applecross Inn (Scotland’s Pub of the year in 2012), changing and stunning scenery each day, along with a huge array of cultural experiences, ranging from castles and distilleries to a fantastic boat trip trip along Loch Ness, this is sure to be holiday to remember.

Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Aberdeen to Ballater
We meet at Aberdeen Train Station this morning, and begin our journey across Scotland. A short van transfer takes us to our start point, on the shores of the North Sea. After a group welcome, bike fitting session and a briefing for the day, we set off – leaving the city of Aberdeen behind us as we roll along the quiet South Deeside roads.

A riverside lunch awaits us in the picturesque village of Banchory. After refuelling, we continue along the River Dee, leading us to the village of Ballater and the end of our first day’s ride. (L, D)

Distance: 64km/ 40 miles, Ascent: 670m/ 2,189ft

Day 2 – Cairngorms National Park
We continue our journey west on quiet and scenic roads and tackle our first major climb of the trip –

across the wild expanse of the Cabrach moor. Our descent on the other side leads us to the Speyside village of Dufftown. The village is well known for whisky, with a number of nearby distilleries, so there will be the opportunity to stop and sample a dram!

After lunch we cross the River Spey and then ride on a superb road which flows alongside the river. We pedal into the village of Grantown on Spey in the Cairngorms National Park, where we will stay tonight. (B, L).

Distance: 93km/ 58 miles, Ascent: 1342m/ 4,405ft

Day 3 – Grantown-on-Spey to Fort Augustus

Today’s ride takes us right off the beaten track. The day starts easily with a pleasant ride through the villages of Dulnain Bridge and Carrbridge before we strike west up the Findhorn Valley. Following a fantastic country road, we climb over the challenging Garbole where the views of the Highlands open up. The route then descends to the village of Farr and then follows quiet backroads high above the shores of Loch Ness. A fantastic 5 mile descent awaits as the finish to the day, dropping us down to the shores of Loch Ness and our overnight accommodation in the village of Fort Augustus. (B, L)

Distance: 88km/ 55 miles, Ascent: 1009m/ 3,312 ft

Day 4 – Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

We enjoy a relaxed morning in the village of Fort Augustus. Mid-morning, we enjoy a treat as we

board a zodiac for a high speed trip on Loch Ness, passing beautiful Urquhart Castle, its ruins perched right on the edge of the loch. Back on land, we bypass a short but busy section of road and start riding again from near the castle – we’re now back on two wheels for the remainder of the day.

Our route from Drumnadrochit heads west, passing the Balmacaan Forest, and follows a lovely road alongside the River Glass towards the village of Beauly. The last few miles wind through attractive countryside to our accommodation secluded in the hills above Contin. (B, L)

Distance: 65km/ 41 miles , Ascent: 594m/ 1,950 ft

Day 5 – To the West Highlands

After setting out this morning we pass through Garve and then on to Achnasheen, with the landscape becomes more mountainous around us. After some wild miles we climb away from the shores of Loch a’Chroisg, rewarded with one of the finest views you will find anywhere – right down the length of the spectacular Loch Maree.

The descent is an absolute blast on a perfect road surface and before long we will find ourselves at Kinlochewe. The final section of the day passes through the dramatic Glen Torridon. The scenery here is hard to beat with the majestic mountains of Liathach and Beinn Eighe thrusting skywards. As we gently climb across the watershed, we get our first glimpse of the west coast. A fast end to the day is guaranteed as we cruise alongside the River Torridon to overnight in the village of Torridon itself. (B, L)

Distance: 69km/ 43 miles, Ascent: 596m/ 1,958 ft

Day 6 – The Applecross Peninsula

Today we will start with a warm up on the fantastic coastal road from Torridon to Shieldaig. We then ride south through the hills on a winding single track road before reaching the start of our final, challenging climb – The Bealach na Ba. Famous and spectacular, the road is alpine in nature, crossing the rugged peak of Beinn Bhàn. Starting from sea level and rising through a series of ramps, hairpins and switchbacks to the summit at 626m (2,054ft) over a 6 mile climb, the road reaches gradients of up to 20% in places! Once at the top though, it’s an incredible view of the sea ahead of us and downhill all the way to the coast and journey’s end. Having cycled from Coast to Coast, a celebratory lunch awaits us at the fantastic Applecross Inn. Looking across the sea to the Isle of Skye, it’s the perfect place to relax after a tough day and an amazing trip.

This is the official finish of the route, but for anyone who’s not ready for it to end yet you still have the option of riding around the peninsula back to Torridon, adding an additional 24 miles and 2,073 feet of ascent. (B, D)

Distance: 40km/ 25 miles, Ascent: 973m/ 3,193 ft

Day 7 – Transfer to Inverness, then depart

This morning we will have a leisurely breakfast before transferring back to Inverness. The journey takes us around 1.5 hours, arriving into the city around 12 noon, allowing you plenty time to connect with onward transport. On the way home you’ll have a chance to reflect on what will surely be a most memorable adventure. (B)

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Prices and Dates

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2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
23rd Jun - 29th Jun 2018
£1,595
4 place(s) left
21st Jul - 27th Jul 2018
£1,595
4 place(s) left

2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2019
£1,595
8 place(s) left
20th Jul - 26th Jul 2019
£1,595
8 place(s) left
10th Aug - 16th Aug 2019
£1,595
8 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

Rated 4.88 out of 5 based on 16 review(s) of Road Cycling – Coast to Coast

5 star 14

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Günther Klepper 18/02/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

If you love nature particularly the great scenery of Scotland, if you ride your bicycle
regularly, if you like remote places more than crowded cities -
this might be your trip!

However you should pay attention to the Wilderness Scotland trip grading.
It’s graded red 7!
My experience: they do not exaggerate, I sometimes felt my personal fitness limitations.
I ride my bike almost every day and of course expected more challenging ascents
on a highland route than on the smooth hills at home.
In fact sometimes during the trip I was really exhausted but as soon as we arrived
at the hotel weakness was gone and a wonderful feeling off satisfaction took over.

Would I do it again? Yes without hesitation but with more training in advance.

If the trip price makes you hesitate- I also considered twice.
It isn’t cheap as Scotland isn’t cheap in general.
But quality isn’t for free.
What I got back is a holiday beyond comparison.
There’s no regret about the money I have spent, it was more than worth it.

I recommend this trip confidentially and also Wilderness Scotland.
It was my second booking and both holidays were absolutely fascinating.




end of feedback survey some further information to Wilderness Scotland people,
hope you want to read a bit more.

You made me a happy client twice 2014 and 2017 and therefore I wanted to give
a positive reply.
Sorry for answering only now 5 months after the trip but I hope my feedback is
still useful for you.
I tried my best to find understandable words but there are language limitations.

These also occurred during the trip, since our team was from USA Canada and
the guides from Britain with me, the only not native English speaker from Bavaria.

All of them were so kind and patient that I felt absolutely welcome among this
wonderful international group of people and so the language wasn’t a big problem.

It was this international thing I looked for.

The others also were enthusiastic about the scenery in Scotland.
At viewpoints I heard them shouting „Oh my goodness“ or just „Wow“.
Indeed, the scenery is often overwhelming.
You are lucky to live there, aren’t you?

I was also lucky with our guides David and Neil.
It’s not an easy job I think, to handle a group of people who never met before.
Different nations, different characters, different ages, fitness levels, cycling speeds.
Somehow they managed to bring us together, maybe because David in his calm and nice way of talking and Neil with his unique talent of storytelling are the perfect
guiding team.

It’s a pity that we probably will not meet again, but there will always be a positive memory of all of these people in my mind.

Thank you Neil and David also for cycling by my side or picking me up for the last
miles in the evening.
You gave me the encouragement I needed in the last hour, my „hour of weakness“.

I found my personal rhythm with the ascents and descents and in the end and to my own surprise even climbed „Bealach na Ba“.
What a view there,I could even see the Isle of Eigg and remember our pleasant stay
there at Kildonan House in 2014.
You put the highlights at the end of a well organized trip.

Thanks and greetings to the office team, Rupert who was with us at the west coast,
Jane, David Russel, Chantal and a special one to Rachael who worked for me for
the second time.
Thank you all for your kindness!

I cannot afford a third one in the moment but I wish to return with my wife sometimes.
To keep the wish alive keep on sending emails, I will look at them.

My best wishes from Bavaria to all of you,

Günther

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by Rachel McMillan 29/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-trip: We received all the information necessary to be very ready for this trip. The staff were very helpful and kind with booking, payments, etc

Trip difficulty rating: It was bang on. You really need to have a strong base of riding for this trip and I'm so glad I did. To really enjoy the beauty of the route, being comfortable with a lot of hill climbing is essential.

Bikes: The bikes we rented were great. I was a bit concerned that riding an unknown bike for +420km might not be comfortable but they worked well, the frame sizes chosen for us were very accurate and our guides were very skilled in doing any adjustments or maintenance necessary.

Routing: We loved, loved, loved the routes (and detours) that made up this trip. Also our guides had such knowledge of the areas they were able adjust routes on the fly, sometimes because we were a directionally challenged bunch and took wrong turns (they knew if we could keep going and get to the same place or if they needed to turn us around) and sometimes to optimize quieter roads. The Garmins were not really that helpful but the guides more than made up for the lack of technology.

Scenery: Oh my! The scenery was magical. It was amazing how many different terrains and varied areas we experienced. Each ride, each corner turned brought on new and breathtaking experiences. I am still a bit surprised I didn't see a gnome wander out from the woods.

Boat tour: Changing the boat tour to the last night was a fabulous idea. The couple that did our tour was really lovely, very knowledgeable and it was a really meaningful to see the area in this way. It was also a really special way to top off a fabulous trip.

Food: All of the cafes and restaurants we ate at were wonderful. I really appreciated the wide variety of styles and the different 'feel' of each. They all were unique and special in their own way, some because of the food, some because of the atmosphere and some for both! The picnic lunches we had were also well done and the food was fabulous.

Overall: we had a fabulous time and the trip far exceeded our expectations!

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by William Aycock 25/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Great job. Thanks for showing me a side of the UK that I never knew existed.

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by Janet Wiener 25/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Great experience. Will definitely consider another trip with wilderness Scotland. A little more bike fitting at the start would be welcome -- it took 2 days to adjust my stem and 4 to adjust my seat height. It was raining and the ground was not level at the starting point, which made it harder. Once I got used to the bike, I really like it and would be happy to ride the same one again.

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Price from: £1,595

Next trip: 23rd June

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 7

16 review(s)

Trip Photos

Day 2 – Working our way through the Cairngorms National ParkDay 2 – Cruising through the CairngormsDay 2 – The CairngormsTreats along the wayDay 3 – We climb up over the GarboleDay 3 – Expansive views before dropping down to Fort AugustusDay 4 – Preparing for the RIB boat on Loch NessDay 4 – RIB boat to Urquhart CastleDay 4 – Visiting Urquhart CastleDay 4 – Snaking through the Aigas GorgeDay 4 – Hero riding down the River BeaulyDay 4 – Birch lined roadsDay 5 – Working our way westDay 5 – Getting ready to drop into KinlocheweDay 5 – The road to KinlocheweDay 5 – Cruisy riding in TorridonDay 5 – Exceptional views in  TorridonDay 6 – The Applecross PeninsulaDay 6 – Looking forward to the test pieceuntitled-1untitled-2Day 6 – The Bealach na BaDay 6 – Riding the hairpins on the BealachDay 6 – Van support throughout the tripDay 6 – Topping out on the Bealach na BaDay 6 – Dropping down into ApplecrossDay 6 – Well deserved seafood dinnerDay 6 – Riding round the Applecross peninsula
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