Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Scottish Coast to Coast Mountain Biking self-guided vacation
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Highlights

  • Whooping and hollering down the 900m descent of Mount Keen.
  • Riding the wide open spaces and natural singletrack of the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Challenging yourself on the technical trails of the man made Laggan Wolftrax and Witches Trails.
  • Discovering Scotland’s whisky, culture and people in lively local pubs.

The Scottish Coast to Coast is the iconic mountain bike journey through the highlands of Scotland and quite simply an awesome mountain biking holiday. Our independent self-guided mountain bike holidays on the Scottish Coast to Coast allow you to travel at your own pace, enjoy Scotland’s best mountain biking whilst experiencing our fascinating culture and landscapes.

Your adventure starts in Fort William and after 200 miles of grin-inducing riding in the Scottish Highlands finishes in Montrose on the East Coast. You will enjoy outstanding single track, endless descents and the best off-road riding you have ever experienced. This mountain bike journey through the highlands of Scotland is unbeatable in the quality of riding it delivers. Everything from the finest man-made trails to smooth natural single-track combine to make for an unforgettable mountain bike holiday.

Every holiday we offer features hand-picked overnight accommodation in high quality B&B’s, country inns, and guesthouses, each is unique and offers the highest levels of biker friendly welcome, atmosphere and outstanding local cuisine. Also included are transfers for you and your bike from Glasgow to the start and back from the finish, daily door to door baggage transfer, comprehensive route notes, detailed maps with the route marked on, downloadable GPX tracks, an information pack and emergency telephone support.

Day 1 -
Transfer from Glasgow to Fort William, ride to Spean Bridge


We collect you and your bikes in Glasgow at 9am and transfer you to Fort William (~3 hours) where your Scottish Coast to Coast starts with a truly world class day of biking.
After a couple of miles of gentle canal side riding throw yourself into glorious singletrack behind the distillery and make our way to The Nevis Range and the man-made delights of “The Witches Trails” this man made forestry centre has miles of challenging singletrack and most riders will spend at least a couple of hours riding these fantastic trails.


Alternatively gravity addicts may wish to tackle the awesome Nevis Range Downhill Track which has gondola uplift and red and black graded downhill trails.
After a few hours of fun you can enjoy a 15 km spin on forest roads and singletrack to your overnight accommodation in Spean Bridge.


Cycle: 13 miles / 20 km


Overnight: Distant Hills Guest House, Spean Bridge


Day 2 -
Spean Bridge to Laggan

The day’s riding starts gently with some delightful tracks along the River Spean and then a short road section from Roy Bridge. The trail quickly changes to a mix of technical natural singletrack and Landrover tracks as you head east into the highlands. The quality of the riding is matched only by the spectacular views over Loch Laggan and The Grey Corries.


A sustained climb leads up to the white sandy beaches or Lochan an Hearba and then a fast descent pops you out at the magnificent Ardverikie Castle, set of the TV series Monarch of the Glen.
The day finishes at Laggan Wolftrax, one of the Forestry Commission’s best trail centres.


Those who want to test themselves further can play for as long as they like on the challenging singletrack, fun park and raised timber sections.


Cycle: 31 miles / 50 km


Overnight: Monadhliath Hotel, Laggan


Day 3 - Laggan to Aviemore

An awesome day of riding which has everything the highlands can throw at you. Epic scenery as you climb to the Head of Glen Banchor followed by river crossings, a remote bothy and one of the best sections of singletrack descent we have ridden down into Newtonmore, and that is just the first section.


A brief road section follows before reaching Glen Feshie and Rothiemurchus Forests, a challenging mix of forest tracks, secret singletrack, romantic castles and all with the Cairngorms looming ahead of us. After a truly unforgettable day of riding you'll finish in the bustling outdoors town of Aviemore.


Cycle: 34 miles / 54 km


Overnight: Ravenscraig Guesthouse, Aviemore


Day 4 -
Aviemore to Tomintoul 

Today's ride is almost 100% off road, truly remote and with an awesome mix of epic climbs, technical singletrack and truly breathtaking views. The highlights include the climb from Glenmore past the fairy lake and up over Ryvoan Pass as well as the descent down into Tomintoul. It really is one of the best days you will ever have on your bike.


Cycle: 30 miles / 48 km


Overnight: Argyle House B&B, Tomintoul


Day 5 -
Tomintoul to Ballater 

After a few tough days, day five is a slightly more relaxed day riding mainly on Landrover tracks as you skirt the northern edge of the Cairngorms. The good news is that there are some sweet sections of singletrack to keep the mind occupied, awesome views and plenty of river crossings to keep you on your toes.
A seemingly endless descent in the latter part of the day brings you to Ballater. There is plenty to keep you occupied for the afternoon, even if it is just catching up on some shut eye.


Cycle: 26 miles / 48 km


Overnight: Glenlui Hotel, Ballater


Day 6 -
Ballater to Edzell

Day six is the highpoint of your week's riding in every sense of the word. The first few miles of gentle riverside riding don’t seem to hint at what is to come but once you start climbing Glen Tanar and then the Mounth Road you will need every last bit of energy to get you to the top of Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro.


The descent into Glen Esk is worth every bit of effort! A short section of tarmac brings you to the village of Edzell - your last overnight stop.


Cycle: 41 miles / 66 km


Overnight: Alexandra Lodge B&B, Edzell


Day 7 -
Edzell to Montrose and transfer to Glasgow

A short and sweet final ride along quiet country roads brings you to the sea at Montrose and the end of an unforgettable mountain bike journey through the Scottish Highlands.


We collect you at approx. 11am transfer you back to Glasgow (for approx. 2pm).  You can opt to be dropped off at your accommodation, airport or bus/rail stations. 


Cycle: 13 miles / 20 km


Transfer: Montrose to Glasgow (~3 hours)

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to cyclists, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


The accommodation listed in the itinerary are the providers we use most often. If they do not have availability we may use other accommodation of the same or better standard.


Single Rooms

This trip is unfortunately not available to solo bikers, but if you require single rooms within your party we will of course accommodate your request. As all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur.


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 more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.

Availability

The Scottish Coast to Coast by MTB 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.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20 kg per person.


Equipment

A mountain bike in good condition is essential. Most riders prefer riding an XC type bike although everything from a hardtail to all mountain will be fine.


Your information pack has a detailed suggested equipment list which includes standard mountain biking gear such as helmet, cycling clothes, warm and waterproof clothes and a daypack.


Most riders prefer to bring their own bikes though bike rental is available should you require.


Bike Box/Bag Storage

We can store your bike bag/box at our office in Glasgow for the duration of your trip. Alternatively, ask your hotel in Glasgow/Edinburgh if they can store it for you. Most will be happy to. Please request this service in advance.


Grade

This holiday is graded moderate to challenging and goes through remote and demanding terrain so you should be a regular and fit mountain biker who relishes the thought of a long day in the saddle.


You should also be comfortable with dealing with trailside repairs or emergencies as these do happen.


Navigation

The route is not waymarked. We will supply you with a route description, detailed maps with the route marked and downloadable GPX tracks. This is not a substitute for sound navigation skills and at least two of your party should have good navigation skills.


Cycling Direction

This trip can only be booked from west to east due to restrictions with the baggage carriers.


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, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

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

Pickup/Drop-off

Our standard pickup is at 9:00am on day 1 of your trip at Glasgow Airport or your hotel in central Glasgow.
We will drop you off at 14:00 on day 7 of your trip at Glasgow Airport, your hotel in Central Glasgow or the train station.


We are able to pickup/dropoff at other locations such as Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Edinburgh or Edinburgh Airport for an additional charge.


Getting to/from Glasgow

Glasgow is well served by public transport including bus, train and plane.


Parking in Glasgow


If you are driving to Glasgow the best option is generally to book a stay and park deal at one of the Glasgow Airport Hotels. You can then overnight, leave your car at the secure airport parking and we will collect you from your airport hotel. Dropping you back at the end of your trip.

Included

  • Glasgow to Fort William transfer for you, your bike and luggage.
  • Montrose to Glasgow transfer for you, your bike and luggage.
  • 6 Nights hand-picked accommodation in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses in double/twin rooms.
  • Daily door to door baggage transfer from Fort William to Montrose.
  • A pre-departure information pack including route notes, detailed maps with the route marked, local information, detailed travel information and a recommended kit list.
  • Downloadable GPX tracks.
  • Emergency telephone support from our offices in the event of a problem.

Excluded

  • Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.

Extras

  • Bike rental.
  • Additional nights before, during or after the ride.
  • Pickup from Edinburgh/Prestwick or other points.
  • Single room supplement (if applicable).

How fit do I need to be?

The Coast to Coast is a fairly tough trip because you are riding continuously day after day but it is far from an endurance marathon. The itinerary is designed to be enjoyable for a regular rider. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness regular mountain biking supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your trip is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised so that we can secure you the best value-for-money accommodation in each location. Please give us a shout if you have a query.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need a good quality mountain bike and your normal mountain biking gear for a day ride with perhaps some extra warm layers if the weather is cold. You can download a full equipment list from our website downloads page.

What type of mountain bike is suitable?

Bikes of a certain price range are usually a good way to tell if your bike is going to last the pace. Anything from around £600 and up would generally do, but front suspension and hydraulic brakes are another good indicator. You will get away with a slightly less expensive bike as long as you have front suspension and it is well maintained. More expensive full suspension XC bikes are also perfect but you should avoid downhill or "all mountain" bikes which tend to be a bit heavy and have too much travel.

When is the best time of year?

The summer months are best as the weather tend to be better and the daylight hours are longer.

What are the midges like?

Midges are small biting insects (much like north American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your own accommodation as per your itinerary and moved on to your next overnight accommodation.  We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What happens if I can't cycle a stage?

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

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