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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/

Customer Kudos

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.

5 star 13

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Rachel McMillan 29/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Once I was able to speak with someone we had wonderful service. I initially left a phone message that never was returned but did try again and was able to speak directly with someone.
Trip Comments
There were many special moments and really good laughs. It's hard to capture them in words. I will forever remember our group and the ribbing that began very early in the trip. I laughed hard, ate hard and biked hard. David's magical ability to make 10 km = 10 miles = 14 miles is also something I still haven't been able to figure out. I also now have great respect for 'Scottish flats'. Hills at home will never compare! Rainbows, waterfalls and sheep carried me over many a mountain.
Accommodation and Food
I really enjoyed the varied places that we stayed. It was a really nice mix of a bit more fancy to comfortable and relaxed. At each place the staff were lovely and very attentive to our needs.
Your Guide
David was just as he describes himself: organized, laid back & stoic. He was always quietly supporting us and so attentive to our needs. I really appreciated that he believed in our abilities and just always seemed to be there when we needed him. It felt like he was always one step ahead, adjusting and rearranging routes, timing, the schedule to ensure we had the most optimal experience. He made our trip extremely special.
The 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!

by William Aycock 25/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The guys did a great job! Lots of unexpected extras that made it better then expected. Best part was their ability to adjust to different tastes, weather, schedules, and situations.
Accommodation and Food
All the hotels were great. I enjoyed the variation in accommodations; some homey, some grand. All were comfortable and had great, personable staff. Food was great too. The roadside picnics were fun and different.
Your Guide
As noted, the guys accommodated everyone and every situation with grace, charm and humor.
The Bottom Line
Great job. Thanks for showing me a side of the UK that I never knew existed.

by Janet Wiener 25/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The people on the phone were great when I reached them. It would be very helpful for the answering message to list the hours when the phone is staffed. With an 8 hour time difference, it was hard to find the right time.

For the info form, please list a recommendation for bike type for each trip.
Trip Comments
I loved the single track roads. So scenic and quiet. My favorite ride was from granton on Spey to lunch. It was a long climb but well worth it.

The Garmin gps units did not work. They kept telling us to take detours or turn around. Paper or laminated directions would have been better. We made do with guides at the (few) intersections.

The only route that wasn't great was from fort Augustus to lochinewe. It would have been fine with either less traffic or without the wind and rain. With both, it didn't feel safe.

I'm glad we got to stop at 2 distilleries. I preferred the Glen of Ord tour (and whiskey!)
Accommodation and Food
I enjoyed the range of guesthouses. My favorite was Tigh An Eliann in Sheidag. Amazing views of the water, cozy and themed room, comfortable common spaces... and sunshine! I know the sunshine wasn't controlled but I got some fantastic photos of the sunrise. The restaurant there (or maybe the applecross inn) was also my favorite.
Your Guide
The guides were pretty good at making everyone was ok and accommodating a range of speeds and desires. I was often on my own for an hour at a time, but then I'd come around a corner and a guide would be waiting for me. I also appreciated their flexibility in adapting the schedule to the weather.
The 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.

by Scott McMillan 25/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Any questions we asked were responded to promptly and the equipment list/pre-trip planning documents were very helpful. The only suggestion I would make is to add a note in the itinerary indicating that distances may vary from what is described. For example the itinerary stated that Day 1 would be 64km, while we actually rode 74km. This isn't a problem, it just might have been good to set us up to be flexible in our expectations of distance.
Trip Comments
The change in having the boat trip in Loch Torridon rather than Loch Ness was an excellent change. The Loch Torridon trip was relaxing and felt very genuine. The flexibility of our guides to change up the route or schedule a bit to suit group preferences (or the weather) was a big plus.
Accommodation and Food
I liked the variety of accommodation types throughout the trip. Staying in a range of accommodations gave us a more fulfilling experience. Everything was clean and comfortable.
The food on our trip was amazing. Period. I now have a sticky toffee pudding addiction.
The picnic/rest stop meals set up by David and Neil were great. Our only regret is that we can't get the same snacks here in Canada.
Your Guide
We felt very well taken care of by David and Neil.
The Bottom Line
I'm confident that we will travel with Wilderness Scotland again. This was our first cycling trip and your company made it an easy and enjoyable experience.

by Mark Bajorek 25/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The email replies were timely and complete.
Trip Comments
Sure, the weather could have been better but the lodging was well varied and the meals great.
Accommodation and Food
Nothing was too posh. The castle and manor house balanced out with Shieldaig.
Your Guide
They were great guys who worked hard and were always super helpful. Dave helped with a flat in record time. Neal kept the conversation lively and was eager to help as well.
The Bottom Line
What a great introduction to the Scottish Highlands. The trip touches on the landscape, history, cuisine, and great cycling of Scotland.

by James Bittman 07/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The process was simple and clearly defined.
Trip Comments
I didn't want it to end. I mean, every ride, every day, was SO enjoyable, I really, seriously, didn't want them to finish. Literally after 1 or 2 days I felt that I had known our guides (Sam & Dave) for my entire life things were that natural and comfortable. The same can be said about the other people in our group: we were just instant friends and almost family right away. But that can almost be expected since what sort of people do these trips? People that are active, like adventure, and ALL of them have interesting life experiences they are willing to share.

In terms of our specific trip, pulling into the castle (yes, a REAL honest castle !-) for the first night's dinner and lodging set the stage for this unbelievable experience. The scenery, meals, and lodging were all top notch, but you just can't beat a pop up picnic with a great view on a gorgeous day....just writing this makes me want to go back !-).

If you are even half-considering this trip, do it! You won't regret it, I promise!
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Mark Wendolowski 31/07/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We had a slight difficulty due to time zone differences making a phone payment for a second bike hire that could not be paid online.
Trip Comments
The guides were outstanding and complimented each other very well.
Accommodation and Food
The accommodations were quite nice, the best being the Coul House and Torridon inn. The least favorite of the week was the Garth Hotel. The food was very good as well. The highlights for dinner were the coul house, the shieldig bar and the torridon inn.
Your Guide
Sam and David went above and beyond and made sure everyone had a great trip. Just outstanding all the way around!!!
The Bottom Line
Exceeded all expectations!!

by Alicia Wendolowski 31/07/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The routes were lovely and we were lucky enough to have a couple of hot sunny days during our week. As a personal preference I would have liked to have a que sheet for each day since we were such a mixed ability group. The guys did a great job keeping us on route And respecting our capabilities.
Accommodation and Food
Coul House was my favorite, true hospitality and delicious food in a gorgeous setting. Loch Ness Guest House was second. The accommodations were wonderful. Food options in town weren't super but we had a nice evening in town. Torridon Inn was next, a very comfortable room and relaxed atmosphere in the pub. Kildrummy was a very unique experience and I enjoyed it very much. We weren't there very long since we had a late start. Room was comfortable and dinner and breakfast were good. The Garth was my least favorite. We had a small rather uncomfortable bed. Dinner/breakfast were good. The town was nice for a little afternoon stroll.
Your Guide
Sam and Dave were a great balanced team! I enjoyed riding and sharing meals with them both.
The Bottom Line
It was just the holiday we were hoping for!

by Thomas Perneger 15/08/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
A detailed map of the trip would be useful.
Otherwise informative and well organized.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
best hotel was at Contin.
Alford was disappointing - noisy, dribbling shower, food average
Your Guide
very nice people (Jenny and Kelty)
The Bottom Line

by Caroline Burton 10/08/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All my questions and queries were answered in good time via email which was great.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation was much better than expected - particularly the 2nd, 4th, 5th & 6th nights - just perfect.
The food in all the hotels and chosen restaurants was delicious - perfectly chosen locations.
Picnics and snacks (and the coffee!) along the way were fantastic, well done & thank you Kelty!
Your Guide
Jenny & Kelty were perfect 'hosts' and could not have done more to ensure everyone was happy - a big thank you for making a great trip perfect.
The Bottom Line
If you are thinking about it - do it, you won't regret it.

Prices and Departures

76 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
26th May - 1st Jun 2018
£1,595
8 place(s) left
23rd Jun - 29th Jun 2018
£1,595
5 place(s) left
21st Jul - 27th Jul 2018
£1,595
8 place(s) left

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 Departures

76 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
26th May - 1st Jun 2018
£1,595
8 place(s) left
23rd Jun - 29th Jun 2018
£1,595
5 place(s) left
21st Jul - 27th Jul 2018
£1,595
8 place(s) left

Price from: £1,595

Next trip: 26th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 7

15 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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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
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!

Rachel McMillan
29/09/2017

5

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

William Aycock
25/09/2017

5

Rated 4.87 out of 5 based on 15 review(s) of Road Cycling – Coast to Coast

5 star 13

4 star 2

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