Another 4 Great Cycling Weekends In Scotland


Some more weekend trips on the bike.

1. Lammermuir Hills
Living in Edinburgh there is always the temptation to get in the car, or on a train, and head for the highlands. But why not start your cycling weekend from home? One option is to head off over the Lammermuir Hills and spend the night somewhere around Duns or Berwick-upon-Tweed. There are several landrover tracks that could be used for a hilly route. Also there are two scenic roads worth incorporating in your weekend.

The first, from Gifford, follows the B6355 till you reach NT599629, then turns left up a steep hill. Keep following the road over several more climbs and decents. The moorland is reminiscent of Devon or Yorkshire and eventually spits you out down a long decent into Longformacus. From here the best of the scenery is over apart from passing the nicely shaped Dirrington Great Law.

The second stretch of road, on the way back perhaps, runs beside Whiteadder Water from Ellem Lodge (NT708595) right up to the Dam. Then after a short sharp hill a panorama unfolds of the Whiteadder Reservoir and the shapely hills around. Shortly after passing the tail of the reservoir, turn right (NT654602) and continue to follow the younger Whiteadder Water up into pleasant heather hills. Off the bike, a stone circle (NT626655), an iron age hill fort (NT622671) and Nunraw Abbey provide interest until you roll up in the pleasant village of Garvald.
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2. Glen Spey and Glen Roy
This is a rewarding trip but you need to be prepared to push your bike over boggy ground for about a mile or so and cross some largish rivers without bridges. The rest of the route is on land rover tracks, quiet single track roads, and then a quick nip along the A86.

Saturday begins with a rid along Lochan na Earba and Loch Laggan, passing the house where Monarch of the Glen was filmed, and then climbing a pass into Glen Shirra. From Glenshirra Lodge you follow a good paved single track road further than the OS map suggests, up to the woods at NN478958. Opposite here there is a bothy shaped building, but the Melgarve Bothy is further along a land rover track over a bridge and near a farm building. Get some food and some rest, you'll need energy for Sunday.

The path marked on the map is a fairly muddy land rover track as far as the recently renovated Shesgnan. From here to the Luib Chonnal Bothy you will have to push for most of the way. The track virtually disappears for the first boggy section to the ruins near the Shesgnan Burn. Cross this and pick up the path which contours the side of Meall Clach a Cheannaiche giving a pleasant aspect for Loch Spey. Riding in fits and starts you'll make it to Luib Chonnal in time for brunch! From here there is a good surface all the way, first on a land rover track along the Roy to Brae Roy Lodge, and then a single track road through the lush Glen Roy to Roybridge. Look out for the parallel roads, a feature caused by an ancient glacial lake.
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3. Dunkeld to Dunfermline via Dundee
Makes for a nicely alliterative title but its only an extra hour or so to cycle back to Edinburgh. Get the train to Dunkeld and follow the national cycle network route 77 to Dundee. We stayed with friends but there are hostels and camping options too. From Dundee back to Edinburgh there are a number of route choices across the quiet back roads of Fife. Be sure to include a view of the north side of the Lomond Hills and past Loch Leven. We also particularly enjoyed the climb up to Loch Glow following NCN1.
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4. Gaick and More
The Gaick is a mountain pass that has been in use for many hundreds of years. Its a good day out on a bike mainly on land rover tracks and single track paved roads. There is a section beside Loch An Duin where only confident mountain biking gods will manage to cycle which is followed by a short stretch in a muddy bog where even gods will be forced to push. There are also a few largish rivers to be crossed. The highlights of the route are the three scenic lochs and the imposing mountains around you. Look out for the ruins of the bothy where the Black Officer was killed by a massive avalanche in 1800 (here NN758836). From the Dam of Loch an t-Seilich there is a paved road all the way to Kingussie. Its worth checking out the Ruthven Barracks (NN780993). NCN7 is an option for the way back, often following General Wade's Military Road.

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