Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Cycling Tour of the Cairngorms
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Highlights

  • Cycling through the romantic Scottish Highland scenery of the Cairngorms National Park
  • The palpable sense of history at Cawdor, Blair and Carngarff Castles
  • Enjoying a tour and dram at one of the many Speyside whisky distilleries
  • Pretty highland towns including Blair Atholl, Pitlochry and Braemar
  • Charming accommodation in authentic Scottish B&B’s, guesthouses and country inns.

Explore the Scotland of your dreams as you cycle through the Cairngorms National Park. Charming highland towns, historic castles, Speyside malt whiskies, Jacobite battlefields and just the most beautiful highland scenery.

Starting in Inverness, the capital of the highlands, you cycle south past Culloden Battlefield to Aviemore, the beating heart of the Cairngorms adventure sports industry and gateway to the National Park. You continue south through the vast Rothiemurchus Forest past ruined island castles and down to Blair Atholl in Highland Perthshire.

Your tour of the Cairngorms finishes with a blast along the Moray Coast, which was recently voted by National Geographic as one of the top 20 coastlines in the world. Cawdor Castle and Gardens are a particular highlight of this last day into Inverness.

Day 1: Arrive in Inverness

After settling into your hotel get out and explore the historic city centre of Inverness, stroll along the banks of the River Ness beneath Inverness Castle or perhaps take a cruise on nearby Loch Ness. If you are hiring bikes they will be delivered and fitted this evening or first thing tomorrow morning.


Overnight: Inverness


Day 2: Cycle to Aviemore: 44 miles

After breakfast you begin your adventure through the highlands heading south out of Inverness past Culloden Battlefield where the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre explains the story of how Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Army was trounced.


A steady climb from Culloden takes you over the Monadhliath Mountains past Tomatin Distillery and then down past Carrbridge and Nethy Bridge through the Caledonian Forests of Rothiemurchus to Aviemore. 


Overnight: Aviemore


Day 3: Cycle to Blair Atholl: 50 miles

You can look forward to a fabulous day of cycling through some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer. As you leave Aviemore make sure you visit Loch an Eilien, which boasts an island complete with ruined castle. Continuing south you can look forward to panoramic views of the Cairngorms Northern Corries and the great ridged peaks of Ben Macdui and Braeriach.


Birders will enjoy the RSPB Insh Marshes Nature Reserve while historians won’t want to miss Ruthven Barracks and the Highland Folk Museum in Kingussie. As you climb towards the Duntocher Pass Dalwhinnie Distillery offers some solace before the run down to Blair Atholl.


Overnight: Blair Atholl


Day 4: Cycle to Braemar: 47 miles

Killiecranckie, site of an important Jacobite battle and a remarkable soldier’s leap is the first of many attractions of Highland Perthshire as you pedal south to Pitlochry, a Victorian Spa town that has long been a favourite for tourists. Make sure you fuel up as there are some big climbs ahead as you enter the true highlands. A land of purple heather carpeted hills dotted with isolated cottages and the occasional sheep. The first climb takes you to Kirkmichael and then the big one up through Glenshee before the final descent to Braemar. 


Overnight: Braemar


Day 5: Cycle to Tomintoul: 31 miles

The eastern side of the Cairngorms National Park is stunningly beautiful and steeped in history. As you cycle to the small village of Tomintoul you can visit Royal Lochnagar Distillery, Balmoral Castle (seasonal opening) and isolated Corgarff Castle.


The sleepy village of Tomintoul is the highest village in the highlands and has a forgotten feeling, although perhaps the best whisky shop in the world in the shape of The Whisky Castle - don’t miss it.


Overnight: Tomintoul


Day 6: Cycle to Elgin: 53 miles

Today you will be cycling through the heart of the Spey Valley, which is world renowned for the production of Speyside Malt Whisky. Your route takes you first through Glenlivet Estate and then past Balfour Castle and Glenlivet and Glenfarclas Distilleries. From here you follow the River Spey closely on cycle route 79 through Aberlour, Craigellachie and Fochabers to the mouth of the Spey at Spey Bay where you join cycle route 1 to Elgin. 


Overnight: Elgin


Day 7: Cycle to Inverness: 51 miles

The Moray Coast was voted by National Geographic in 2013 as one of the world’s top 20 coastlines and today you will be following this beautiful coast to Inverness.

Highlights along the route include Findhorn Bay, Brodie and Cawdor Castle, Culloden Battlefield and arriving at Inverness Castle, where your tour of the Cairngorms began.


Overnight: Inverness


Day 8: Onward Travel

Accommodation

We take great pride in carefully selecting the accommodations we use on this trip to ensure you enjoy every minute of your stay. We work with B&B’s, Guest Houses, country hotels and charming inns which are normally of 3 or 4 star standard with en-suite bathrooms.


Solo Cyclists & Single Rooms

This holiday is not available to solo cyclists. However if you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is always available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs.


Baggage Transfer

When you are cycling between accommodation your main bag will be moved by our local crew. We would ask that you limit your luggage for transfer to one bag of up to 20kg.

Availability

The Tour of the Cairngorms is available from March to October. You can start your holiday on any date in the season. Option prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Solo Cyclists & Single Rooms

This holiday is not available to solo cyclists. However if you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.


Baggage Transfer

When you are cycling between accommodation your main bag will be moved by our local crew. We would ask that you limit your luggage for transfer to one bag of up to 20kg.


Grade & Terrain

The route follows dedicated cycle paths, quiet roads and the occasional short section of busier rural roads. The route is has some big climbs and most days are between 45 and 55 miles in length so this tour is best suited to regular bikers with a good level of fitness.


Bikes & Bike Hire

A hybrid or road bike is the best option for this tour. Bike hire is available as an optional extra. We supply Trek 7.2FX hybrid bikes equipped with a rear pannier rack, repair kit, pump and lock. Tandems, kids trailers, seats and tag-a-longs are available.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this trip with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items for example proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as good cycling shoes, warm and waterproof cloths for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer.


Getting to/from Inverness

By Air: Inverness airport is just 15 minutes from Inverness city centre, alternatively Glasgow International airport is approx. 3.5 hours from Inverness.


By Train: Trains run throughout the day between Glasgow and Inverness, the journey takes around 4 hours. Widely regarded as one of the world’s great rail journeys this is a great way to start your trip. Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for timetables and tickets.


By Bus: Scottish Citylink operates 8 buses per day from Glasgow (approx 4 hours). Visit www. citylink.co.uk for timetables and tickets.


By Car: Inverness is 170 miles (3.5 hours) north of Glasgow on the A9. Parking (not secure) is available in Inverness. You can leave your car at some accommodation we use in Inverness but please request this at the time of booking.


Journey Planning: If travelling by public transport the website www.travelinescotland.com has an excellent journey planner.

Getting to/from Inverness

By Air: Inverness
airport is just 15 minutes from Inverness city centre, alternatively
Glasgow International airport is approx. 3.5 hours from Inverness.


By Train: Trains run throughout the day between
Glasgow and Inverness, the journey takes around 4 hours. Widely regarded
as one of the world’s great rail journeys this is a great way to start
your trip. Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for timetables and tickets.


By Bus: Scottish Citylink operates 8 buses per day from Glasgow (approx 4 hours). Visit www. citylink.co.uk for timetables and tickets.


By Car: Inverness is 170 miles (3.5 hours) north of
Glasgow on the A9. Parking (not secure) is available in Inverness. You
can leave your car at some accommodation we use in Inverness but please
request this at the time of booking.


Journey Planning: If travelling by public transport the website www.travelinescotland.com has an excellent journey planner.

Included

  • Accommodation in carefully selected B&B's, Guest Houses and Country Inn's.
  • Breakfast each morning.
  • Door to door baggage transfer.
  • A detailed pre-departure information pack, guidebook and map per party.
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem.

Excluded

  • Travel to/from Inverness
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Bike Hire.

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s)
  • Extra night(s)
  • Bike Hire

Planning a cycling holiday can be daunting, especially if this is your first cycling holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as you know your plans the Tour of the Cairngorms is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need a bike in good condition, we would recommend a hybrid or a mountain bike with semi slick tyres. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as helmet, cycling clothes warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

What happens if I can’t cycle a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureTour of the Cairngorms
 
4.0

(based on 1 review)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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4.0

Take the Cairngorms Challenge

By Kath

from Fort Myers, Florida

About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Distilleries
  • Dramatic scenery
  • Exhilarating descents!
  • Fun
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
  • Standing stones and battlefields
  • Terrific climbs

Cons

  • Sometimes directions confusing

Best Uses

  • Adventure vacation
  • Holiday
  • Thrill Seeking
  • Trying Something New

Comments about macs adventure Tour of the Cairngorms:

This was overall a wonderful cycling trip. We loved the Highland scenery and local hospitality. We were challenged by several of the big climbs ( there was the occasional walk!) but came home with some good stories to tell our mates ! Excellent memories of Clava Cairns, Tomatin distillery, watching badgers from a hide in Aviemore, whizzing down Glenshee, Blair Castle, Braemar Highland Games , wee coos ( Highland cattle with their shaggy locks) and feeling a terrific sense of satisfaction at the end of each day!
Would recommend this trip to those who regularly cycle 40-60 miles. Do make sure you have a bike that can handle some varied road surfaces and gearing to climb steep hills . We did have an issue with Macs and the bikes we had carefully booked not being available (10 days before our trip)- it was resolved in the end .

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