Culture & History, Cycling, Macs Bike Team, News

Cycling the Spirit of Scotland

7 Apr , 2016  

Scotland’s Castle Trail – Giants of history but even bigger on hospitality.

It’s a cliché but it’s always the small things in life that count. I’ve just returned from our newest UK trip, Scotland’s Castle Trail. The tour links together some of Scotland’s most significant castles; Scone Palace (the crowning place of 42 Scottish kings), the fascinating history of Blair Atholl Castle and the regal residence of Glamis Castle.

Pitlochry and Open Roads

Other headline experiences include local distilleries, the picture postcard village of Dunkeld and that feeling of both peace and excitement when pedalling the open road. Yet for me, it was the small encounters which captured the essence of Scotland’s heritage.

Expect a warm welcome, but not from the weather!

If you’re cycling in Scotland at the end of March, you’re main concern is keeping warm – fingers, toes and even ears. No matter what the weather throws at you (within a 20 minute window sleet, sun, rain and lightening all made an appearance!) the scenery is dramatic and gnaws into your soul. I often found myself stopping to absorb the beauty and silence of the open road.

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Whilst I may have grabbed a few minutes here and there, a farmer, motorist or well wrapped cyclist would stop for chat. Mostly to ask if I was OK. Was I lost? Did I need anything? I was fine on all counts, but I just adored how this led into an easy going chat driven by the pride local communities clearly have for their heritage.

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From chatting to local farmers about the iconic Highland Cows (did you know they are the oldest registered breed of cow in the world?),  through to the immaculately dressed George who manned the gate at Galmis Castle (with a perfect tie and smile to match), a warm welcome is the fabric of Scottish society. Castles might be the giants of history but if would rather experience than visit Scotland – get on the road and ride a bike!

If you’re interested in cycling Scotland’s Castle Trail more information on dates, prices and availability can be found here.

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Rebelling against British seaside holidays, I left the UK with my grubby backpack almost 20 years ago to explore Asia and Australia. Returning home some 18 months later, working in the adventure travel industry was a natural progression. I continued life on the road for several years working as a freelance guide across South America, Asia, Europe and Australia and was also tasked with the exciting job of launching and managing a small charity in Zambia. From working on a cattle station in Australia’s remote Kimberley region, through to cycling in the French Alps, I’ve always loved meeting the memorable characters and challenging encounters my job brings! Eventually settling back into the UK, I started on a career managing and developing walking and cycling holidays across the globe and have recently found myself in the ‘saddle’ with Macs Adventure with the lucky role of creating cycling holidays. From cycling European mountains passes through to riding across the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, for me wheels are the best method to discover a destination.