Trip created by Paul Easto
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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.
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
Today we ride through the UK’s largest and highest National Park. There are a few hills to contend with today with challenging ascents but the exciting descents and superb views more than reward the effort required on the climbs. After a stiff climb over the Lecht pass we’ll stop in the village of Tomintoul – the highest in the Highlands. It’s also home to one of Scotland’s best whisky shops which is well worth a visit. Most of the hard work is done for the day as we make our way to the village of Grantown on Spey, where we will stay tonight. (B, L, D)
Distance: 93km/ 58 miles Ascent: 1342m/ 4,405ft
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 alongside 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 Followed by a short transfer to our accommodation in the village of Drumnadrochit. (B, L, D)
Distance: 88km/ 55 miles Ascent: 1009m/ 3,312 ft
We enjoy a relaxed morning in the village of Drumnadrochit. 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 the attractive countryside to our accommodation secluded in the hills above Contin. (B, L, D)
Distance: 65km/ 41 miles Ascent: 594m/ 1,950 ft
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. We end the day with an overnight stay in the village of Sheildaig. (B, L, D)
Distance: 69km/ 43 miles Ascent: 596m/ 1,958 ft
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 Shieldaig. (B, L, D)
Distance: 40km/ 25 miles Ascent: 973m/ 3,193 ft
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 of 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)
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.
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 £350 is charged if a single room is available.
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 on our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route.
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.
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 Dates for 2019||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|10th Aug - 16th Aug 2019||3 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,745||Book Now|
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|23rd May - 29th May 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,745||Book Now|
|20th Jun - 26th Jun 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,745||Book Now|
|18th Jul - 24th Jul 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,745||Book Now|
|8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,745||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.
As founder of Wilderness Scotland Paul’s craving for adventure and knowledge of Scotland knows no bounds. His leadership has resulted in Wilderness Scotland twice being named as Best Green Tour Operator in the World at the World Travel Awards and ranked as No.1 Adventure Travel Company in Europe by National Geographic. Paul’s commitment to excellence in all that he pursues becomes obvious in the routes we follow and the little touches included in this trip.
- Paul EastoAsk Paul a Question
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.
Rated 4.84 out of 5 based on 19 review(s) of Road Cycling – Coast to Coast
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.
Reviewed on 11/07/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Country: United States
Trip Date: 22/06/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
people answered my questions informatively and quickly
The rooms we stayed in might have be nicer, especially as I was in a 2-person room. The rooms were often very small, and designed more for a couple than for 2 friends. The guides were wonderful, and the route was mostly very nice.
See my comments for the previous question. The 2-person rooms were very small, and not comfortable for 2 people who are not a couple. The only accommodations that were nicer were in Contin for one night. It would have been lovely if all the accommodations had been that good.
they were very nice, helpful, and accommodating to the different needs of different people on the trip
I was happy to have done it, but I wouldn't do another bike trip like that in Scotland.
Reviewed on 09/08/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
We loved the professional guides who helped make this bike trip one of our best. Scott and Neil were a great team and catered to our every need. The Highland Hills provided a challenging but doable ride each day. It also also helped to have 6 sunny days with temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s! This was an adventure to remember.
Our overall experience with Wilderness Scotland was excellent starting with our pleasant phone calls with Rachael while we were planning our trip. The food and accommodations couldn’t have been better. We have already recommended this trip to friends. Luckily, we have three friends from the area who have completed the Coast to Coast ride so we can compare notes!
Reviewed on 09/07/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
It took a few calls at the very beginning of the planning stage for trip to speak with someone who had experience of doing the cycle element.
Putting aside the fact that we were blessed with unbelievable weather for the entire trip the services of both Kelty & Dave, were exceptional. Details of what was to be included in the trip is as we know detailed in the booking blurb, but the surprise of being served “fresh” coffee when pulling up at side of Glen stops, along with the quality of provisions throughout helped in making this a truly memorable trip. Equally, the insight of the local geology and the geography, along with the fauna and flora knowledge shared by our guides enhanced the spectacular scenery and complemented the wow factor at every turn.
The last two nights accommodation was a disappointment in so much that we were truly spoilt by those we had the pleasure of staying in previously. Wishing to have a herbal tea rather than normal tea for breakfast incurred an additional charge being one such point. Luckily our very last evening meal together was away from this venue - wow what an experience!
Dave and Kelty were brilliant, their support throughout and in particular Dave’s encouragement and guidance during the more arduous climbs were both welcomed and well placed.
Having used the services now of several cycling holiday organisations what we experienced from Wilderness Scotland during our trip is going to take some beating. The attention to detail, the standard of accommodation, the quality of food including the “undersold” value of coffee/refreshment and picnic lunch stops all coupled with the support, encouragement, expertise and knowledge of the area by Kelty & Dave made it a holiday of the highest order. Ps. Even a lost bike part was waiting for us upon our return home!
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