The “wild” side of Scotland featuring some of our CEO’s all-time favourite rides. The trip focuses on the western islands of Mull and Skye - incredibly beautiful places to ride a bike! Listed by Lonely Planet in the Top 10 travel destinations in the world!
Oct 18 update: just 2 spots left!
Our CEO, Peter Thomson, was brought up in Scotland and before taking up road-racing, he’d spend many a holiday cycle-touring around the mountains of Scotland. 40 years later he returns to Scotland to share with you the best of these holiday routes.
Scotland’s west coast is a wild and remote place, filled with some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll find anywhere in the world - and includes many of Peter’s favorite rides!
We focus on the Inner Hebridean islands of Mull and Skye along with the most spectacular rides on the Scottish mainland. We’ll ride across the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, recognised as one of the most beautiful regions of Scotland. The trip concludes with the UK’s most challenging climb, the Bealach na Ba Pass (from both sides).
This region is also home to magnificent ocean wildlife and we’ll include a boat trip to witness some of the wildlife including basking sharks, minke whales, killer whales, seals, dolphins etc.
To enjoy Scotland at it’s best we’ll stay in luxury accommodations including the 5-star Isle of Eriska Hotel - located on it’s own private island and the top hotels on the Isle of Skye.
Join Peter for this incredible opportunity to witness the best of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.
Banner Photo Credits:
VisitScotland/Paul Tomkins, Damian Shields, Kenny Lam & John Duncan
North East 250/Damian Shields
Welcome to Scotland
Our trip starts at Inverness Airport where our staff will be there to welcome you.
From the airport we have a short transfer to our luxury hotel on it’s own private island!
After check-in we’ll have our usual Orientation Meeting followed by lunch, then we’ll get the bikes ready for our warm-up ride. Our ride takes us off the island of Eriska and onto the mainland. We’ll follow the south shore of Loch Creran to Barcaldine then head up the stunning single track road through Glan Salach before dropping down to Loch Etive and the ride back to the hotel. A really beautiful ride to open up our week in the Highlands & Islands, and a wee taste of things to come!
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 9:00am - at INVERNESS Airport or at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.
Isle of Mull
One of the most beautiful and picturesque islands in Scotland is the Isle of Mull and it’s one of Peter’s favorite places in the world to ride a bike!
We’ll start the morning with a 20-minute drive along Ardmucknish Bay to Oban where we’ll take the 45 minute ferry ride across Loch Linnhe to Mull. Loch Linnhe is home to abundant wildlife including dolphins, porpoises, grey seals and golden eagles which are often spotted in the skies above the loch.
The ferry sails into the port of Craignure which is where we’ll jump on the bikes for our Tour of Mull, a 140km loop which will take us all the way around the island. The route is nothing short of spectacular. On the west coast the Atlantic waves crash against rugged cliffs and rocky beaches. We ride around the bottom of Mull’s highest mountain, Ben More, then head back up more spectacular coastline to the north of the island. After a series of short, steep climbs and a few switchbacks we drop down to Tobermory, the largest town on the island, famous for it’s row of multi-coloured houses that featured in the children’s TV series Balamory. The road continues down the shore of the Sound of Mull and back to Craignure where we’ll take the ferry back to the mainland.
From one island to another - today we head northwards through the Ardnamurchan Peninsula towards the famous Isle of Skye. The route takes us through the best of Scottish landscapes, mountains, lochs, rivers and waterfalls abound and as always we’ll be accompanied by thousands of sheep and highland cows.
Leaving the hotel we ride up the east chore of Loch Linnhe, eventually arriving at the base of the famous Glencoe valley where, in 1692, the Macdonald clan was attacked by the Campbells in the infamous massacre of Glencoe! From Glencoe we head to Corran where we’ll take the 5-minute ferry across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour.
The next 100km are a real feast of mountain and ocean landscapes before we arrive in the port town of Mallaig where we’ll take the 45 minute ferry over to the Isle of Skye. On arriving in Skye, you’ll have the option of jumping in the van or riding the final 12km stretch to our hotel in Duisdale.
Skye - the East Coast
The Isle of Skye is a wild, remote place with stunning vistas and fantastic cycling routes. Our ride today will take us all the way up the east coast to the spectacular north-eastern point of the island. The first part of the ride is dominated by Skye’s Cuillin mountains, considered by many to be the most beautiful and dramatic mountain range in the UK. The rocky peaks and challenging climbs have made the Cuillins the mecca for British mountaneers in what is considered the only real Alpine environment in the UK.
The climb out of Sligachan leaves the Cuiilins behind us and we head for the largest town on the island, Portree. From Portree the final 60km are epic! We’ll ride up the east coast of the Trotternish Peninsula to Staffin, riding past the dramatic Old Man of Storr rock formations. In Staffin we start the Quiraing climb, an incredibly wild but beautiful road that takes us across the mountains to the west side of the peninsula and the town of Uig. From Uig we’ll ride down the west coast of the peninsula to our hotel in Skeabost. Unique!
Skye - the West Coast
Yesterday we focused on the east coast of skye, today we’ll ride down the dramatic west coast of the island. The west coast opens up onto the Atlantic Ocean with fantastic ocean views from the rocky cliffs. There are also great views of the Outer Hebridean islands which lie 25km off the coast.
From the hotel we ride west to Dunvegan where we can have a quick stop to check out Dunvegan Castle, ancestral home of the MacLeod clan for the past 800 years. From Dunvegan we head south along the Atlantic coast of Skye, stunning views guaranteed all along this route!
In Broadford we’ll take the single-track road over the mountains to Elgol on the coast. The latter part of this road offers fantastic views of the jagged peaks of the Cuillin mountains. In Elgol, weather permitting, we’ll join local skipper, Seumas Mackinnon, for a boat cruise to to see much of the local wildlife including basking sharks, minke whales, dolphins and both sea and golden eagles. After the cruise it’s a short ride back to our hotel in Duisdale.
Bealach na Ba Pass
We saved the highlight for the last day. The UK has really only 1 mountain pass that compares with the high passes in the Alps or Pyrenees. It’s called Bealach na Ba Pass, which means the “passing of the cattle” in Gaelic, and this pass is the highlight of today’s ride. Of course, in true Thomson style, we’ll climb the pass from both sides!
We’ll ride to Kyle of Lochalsh where we cross the bridge to the mainland then head over a magnificent road along the shores of Loch Carron to Strathcarron and eventually to Tornapress. In Tornapress we start the 10km climb to Bealach na Ba from the east side. At the top we’ll turn around and head back to Tornapress. The route for the next 50km is an absolute gem with some of the best scenery in Scotland. After 50km we arrive in Applecross and take on the climb to Bealach na Ba from the west side. At the top we’ll head back down to Applecross and enjoy drinks and snacks at the Applecross Inn, voted one of the best pubs in the UK. Our trip will end with a fantastic boat ride across the Inner Sound Loch Alsh to our hotel in Duisdale.
Haste ye back!
Sadly our trip has come to an end. Our staff will drop you off at Inverness Airport or Railway Station.