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Road Cycling – The Mountain Passes

  • Soak up the views across to Skye and the Outer Hebrides while you journey over the UK’s highest road climb – the ‘Bealach na Ba’.
  • Enjoy spectacular scenery, challenging climbs and exciting descents through 5 different mountain ranges
  • Visit Scotland’s most famous landmarks, indulge in the locally sourced food and relax in comfortable inns and hotel.

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.



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.


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 £175 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Pitlochry Railway Station at 11:00am on Day 1 of your trip. The trip will finish and you will be dropped at Inverness Railway Station for 4:00pm on the final day.

For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website:

Trip Details

Designed for fit and experienced riders, this trip has everything. Magnificent scenery, challenging climbs, exciting descents and fantastic food await you in the Highlands.

Riding through 5 different mountain ranges in one of Europes last wilderness regions  makes for the ultimate road cycling trip.

While taking in some of the most superb vistas in Scotland you can immerse in the rich Scottish culture and history. From the East the Cairngorm National Park, named by National Geographic as one of ’50 Must visit Places on Earth’ to the iconic Isle of Skye on the west coast.

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

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Riding in Perthshire

Our guides will meet you in Pitlochry, where we will transfer the short distance to Aberfeldy, for a bike fitting and set up. Following lunch we head out on the bikes for our first day’s riding. Today’s route takes us through the Ben Lawers mountain range and National Nature Reserve.

The scenery is beautiful and the climb is a classic – the perfect length to find your form. A long and fast descent takes us into Glen Lyon – at some 30 miles, this is Scotland’s longest glen. There is an excellent cafe which makes for the perfect afternoon stop before the cruise down the glen and along the River Tay back to our accommodation. (L, D)

Ride Distance: 74km/ 46 miles, Ascent 708m/ 2322 ft

Day 2 – Perthshire to Royal Deeside

Following a relaxed Highland breakfast, we leave Perthshire headed for Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park. The morning’s starts on easier flat roads to allow the legs to warm up, before some stiffer climbs.

Our lunchtime stop is in the quaint village of Kirkmichael, for a roadside lunch. The challenge ramps up in the afternoon with a climb over Glenshee – the highest road in Britain. 10km of steady climbing leads us to the ski station. A quick stop for refreshment and a layer here before the long downhill cruise to the royal village of Braemar nestled at the foot of the highest mountain range in Britain. (B, L)

Ride Distance: 80km/ 50 miles, Ascent 990m/ 3247 ft

Day 3 – The Cairngorms National Park

An epic day of riding awaits as we traverse the Cairngorm Mountain range. The first part of the day follows a series of 18th century military roads as we pass several castles, including the Royal Castle of Balmoral. A tough climb of up to 20% takes us over the Lecht Pass and into Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands. After lunch there is one more climb before the road eases off and follows the River Spey. However, today is a summit finish at Cairngorm Mountain – Scotland’s very own Alpe d’Huez. The wooded lower slopes of the mountain gradually lead to the climb proper; 3km of steep ascent at an average gradient of 7.5% leads to the UK’s best known ski station. A fitting end to a classic day in the mountains. (B, L)

Ride Distance: 102km/ 64 miles, Ascent 1397m/ 4582 ft

Day 4 – East to West Highlands

A relaxing start to the day with an opportunity to explore the village of Aviemore before we head north, stopping at Tomatin Distillery for a guided tour and to sample a wee dram . In anticipation of two big days’ riding ahead, we take it easy today as we journey from the East to the West Highlands. After a transfer of around 90 minutes by vehicle, we begin riding. From our start point it is a mostly flat 35 miles through classic Highland scenery, alongside lochs and rivers and increasingly spectacular mountains. Our overnight accommodation for the next 2 nights is a friendly small hotel near the village of Lochcarron. (B, L)

Ride Distance: 56km/ 35 miles, Ascent 219m/ 718 ft

Day 5 – Kintail and the Isle of Skye

Today’s ride has almost everything. Scenic roads, climbs, descents, great food plus history and culture en route. We begin by heading over the hill from Lochcarron to the iconic castle of Eilean Donan. Made famous by James Bond and many other films, a group photocall is essential! From here we cruise around the loch before tackling the hairpins of the Mam Ratagan pass with its average 10% gradient. This dramatic road climbs high above the loch before descending into the historic village of Glenelg. After lunch we take the “wee” ferry across to the Isle of Skye and climb the superb Udal pass. From here it’s downhill to the island’s north coast and back across the famous bridge to the mainland. All that remains is to ride back over the hill to the colourful village of Plockton, a final stop for refreshment and then the run back to the hotel. (B, L)

Ride Distance: 105km/ 66 miles, Ascent 1567m/ 5140 ft

Day 6 – Applecross and the Bealach na Ba

Established as the highest and hardest mountain road climb in the UK, the Bealach na Ba (“Pass of the Cattle’) is an absolute classic. The route starts right by the sea from Loch Kishorn and rises over 600m in a series of ramps, some of which are 20%. The climb will test even the fittest riders but the magnificent mountain scenery more than rewards the effort. The final switchbacks thread their way through a rocky pass to reveal a breathtaking vista across Scotland’s west coast and the jagged islands of Skye, Rum and Raasay. The 10km descent is simply awesome and ends back at the sea, conveniently at The Applecross Inn recently voted the best seafood pub in Britain. The afternoon’s riding is no less impressive as we following the winding coastal road and then turn back inland to finish the day in the spectacularly situated village of Torridon. (B, L, D)

Ride Distance: 82km/ 51 miles, Ascent 1305m/ 4280 ft

Day 7 – Torridon to Inverness

A shorter but no less spectacular day to end the trip. It’s easy rolling through the majestic Glen Torridon and the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve – home to some of the oldest mountains in the world. After a cappuccino at a friendly cafe in the glen, we tackle our final climb of the trip above the shores of beautiful Loch Maree. The view from the top is one of the best of the trip, as is the descent to our lunchtime stop at a former hunting lodge. Following lunch we will rack up the bikes for the short journey back to Inverness, arriving around 4.00pm. (B, L)

Ride Distance: 33km/ 20 miles, Ascent 343m/ 1125 ft

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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 5.00 out of 5 based on 4 review(s) of Road Cycling – The Mountain Passes

5 star 4

4 star 0

3 star 0

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1 star 0

by Marty Joyce 04/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

The Scottish Highlands are 5000 shades of green coming into focus around each bend with patches of sheep and the occasional cottage and village to enrich your ride. The guides provide the thistle with just enough points to get you motivated and direct you to a rewarding experience. They knew the land and history which added another layer as you enjoyed the tour. Sorry to sound like the PR department, but the kudos were earned through the rain, sweat, wind and wool.

One criticism. The first aid kit had no large adhesive bandages (6 inches by 6 inches and larger) to cover road rash or antibiotic ointment. You may want to upgrade to something from Adventure Medical Kits.


Thank you for your comments and criticisms they help us greatly on our endeavour to improve our trips each year. Sounds like you had a most wonderful adventure and we hope to welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

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by David Godbe 24/07/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

This was a great trip and would be just about perfect if lodging improved. Great value for the amount charged

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by Jacques Cuneo 20/07/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Loads of fun. I provided some specific feedback on equipment to Will, but otherwise had a great time.

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by Stephen Webb 20/07/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

This was a physically tough trip, but I think the notes did a good enough job of scaring off those who wouldn't enjoy it! Only 7 days, but felt like I'd been away for much longer, which is always the sign of a good trip. Overall experience was excellent.

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Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 8

4 review(s)

Trip Photos

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