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Scotland – a land of myths, legends and majestic landscapes. Make your own history on this tour of the country’s magical southwest. Ride through rolling farmland and deep forest. Stop to visit ancient castles and hear stories of epic battles. Sample the craft beers and delicacies of Dumfries and Galloway. Board a ferry to cross the Firth of Clyde to Scotland's 7th largest island, the Isle of Arran. Bicycle Arran's wilderness and discover the rich natural and cultural heritage of this amazing place. Recharge at the island’s own distillery and brewery before setting off on an epic island-hopping final ride via the region’s inter-island ferries. Cross to ride the Mull of Kintyre. Finish on the Isle of Bute. Board a private speedboat to cruise back for a final night of celebration on the Isle of Arran before heading back to Glasgow.
Note: Coming in early for the August trip? Book a couple of additional nights for the Edinburgh Festival!
Arrive into Glasgow. Ride to the birthplace of the bicycle, then on to Mabie Forest.
Meet in Glasgow. Drive for just over an hour to the magnificent Drumlanrig Castle. The 17th century “pink palace” is one of the country’s finest examples of Renaissance architecture and makes a fitting place to commence your journey. Enjoy a virtually traffic-free shakedown ride on the estate roads. Head south through quiet and scenic countryside, passing Keir Mill where the modern day pedal cycle was invented in 1839 by local blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillian. Ride onward to Mabie Forest. Stay the next two nights at a historic country house hotel.
Explore the countryside of Dumfries and Galloway.
Largely undiscovered, Dumfries and Galloway is a cycling revelation, sporting over 700 km/450 miles of marked routes on quiet roads through beautiful scenery. Today: ride pure countryside where there are likely to be more sheep than cars! Visit the fantastically Scottish named Craigenputtock House, former residence of the famous author Thomas Carlyle. It has hosted many famous visitors over the years, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Continue south, stopping by one of the best Farm Shops in Scotland for afternoon tea and cake. Continue onward to the quaint village of New Abbey, where a visit to the 13th century Sweetheart Abbey is a must before the short ride back to the Mabie House Hotel.
Distance: 48 miles. Elevation: 1,800 ft.
Ride the foodie's region of Castle Douglas. Then bike through Galloway Forest Park.
Today, cross the region from east to west. Bike through the 'food town' of Castle Douglas with its fantastic range of cafes, bakers, butchers and fishmongers, then turn north heading for Galloway Forest Park. Follow the shores of Loch Ken, then climb out of New Galloway into the heart of the Park. Watch for wild Red Deer and goats on this stretch of road leading to the final part of the day - a superb cruise on a gentle downhill gradient to the village of Newton Stewart.
Distance: 58 miles. Elevation: 3,100 ft
Cross the Firth of Clyde to ride the Isle of Arran.
After a relaxed Scottish breakfast, hop in the van for a shuttle north to reach the small ferry port of Adrossan. Board the boat and cross the Firth of Clyde to the fantastic Isle of Arran. Affectionately known as “Scotland in Miniature," the island is a perfect mix of coast, moorland and mountains. This afternoon: go for a short bike ride, relax at the hotel or kayak the coastline. Stay here for the next 3 nights.
Bicycle the Isle of Arran loop. Finish off with craft beer at the local brewery.
The complete loop of the Island offers 56 miles of fantastic riding. With plenty of hills it’s a challenge, but the reward is one of the country’s classic day rides. Head south from Brodick to tackle the loop clockwise, passing by Holy Isle with its Buddhist monastery. Rounding the southern end of the island, views to the Mull of Kintyre open up with Ireland just visible further in the distance. Heading up the west coast, the reward in the north is a visit to Lochranza Distillery. Enjoy a wee tonic of malt whisky before tackling the climb through Glen Sannox. On the other side you’ll find one of the best descents anywhere on a brand-new road surface. Then it’s a mostly flat cruise back to Brodick. Celebrate the day at the Isle of Arran Brewery with its fine range of craft beers.
Distance: 56 miles. Elevation: 4,300 ft.
Do the Scotland Island Hop route. Finish with a dram of the local whisky.
This last ride is a true adventure involving four short boat crossings, two peninsulas, two islands and sixty miles of amazing roads. Starting from the Glen Isle Hotel, bicycle north past Goat Fell, Arran’s highest peak at 874 metres (2,866 ft). In the village of Lochranza - guarded by its ancient castle – climb aboard for a short ferry ride to the mainland and the Kintyre Peninsula. Ride to lunch in the scenic village of Tarbert. Back on the bikes, ride to the beautiful Kyles of Bute. Bicycling here is simply stunning with magnificent views across Scotland’s west coast. Boat journey number three is a swift affair: just five minutes across the “Kyles” to the Isle of Rothesay. Here, welcome the flat island roads leading to a remote beach on the island's south end. Hop aboard a private speedboat and return in style to the Isle of Arran. Enjoy a final night celebration on the Island, toasted with a dram of the local whisky.
Distance: 60 miles. Elevation: 3,280 ft.
After a relaxing morning, head to Glasgow.
This morning, following a relaxed start, take the ferry boat back to the mainland. It's just a short hour's drive from the ferry dock to Glasgow. Choose to stay on an explore this vibrant city or depart from the International Airport.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.