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7 spectacular cycle routes in Scotland

Couple cycling on a hill with view across mountains and loch
Looking for an unforgettable cycling adventure? Get on your bike and discover these amazing routes across Scotland!

1. Balmacara Estate

Balmacara Estate

This traditional Highland crofting estate is full of fascinating historical features. The stunning landscape of Balmacara can be explored using the road network and the 27km of public footpaths that weave through the townships, woodlands, across hills and along the coastline, offering spectacular views of the estate and the surrounding Highlands and islands.

In line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, we encourage cyclists to use certain routes by the use of cyclist imagery on our Explore Balmacara Estate leaflet, available on site. These routes can be combined with single-track public roads to create pleasant, and slightly challenging, cycle routes around the estate.

2. Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate

Family cycling through Crathes Castle Estate

Crathes Castle has a range of waymarked and clearly signposted trails to suit all ages and abilities. Most of the trails are fairly flat overall but with some short climbs. Look out for wildlife along the way – you may see red squirrels, woodpeckers and herons.

Follow the Coy Burn through peaceful woodland as it flows to the River Dee; cycle up to the viewpoint over the Dee Valley; or take on obstacles on the more rugged route through wildlife-rich woodland.

Those tackling the Deeside Way between Aberdeen City and Ballater will want to make a pitstop at Crathes along the way to enjoy all it has to offer, including some delicious coffee and cake in the courtyard.

3. Newhailes House & Gardens

Mother and daughter cycling through Newhailes woodland trail

Newhailes House & Gardens is an ideal place to bring your children with their bikes. Situated just off the Brunstane path and close to National Cycle Network routes 1 and 76, we have several paths around the estate where children can gain confidence riding their bikes away from traffic while taking in views of the Firth of Forth and the house.

Whilst there, your little ones will also love a visit to our new adventure playpark, Weehailes, which has been specially developed for younger children and is themed on the Newhailes story. Inspire your child’s imagination as they climb, crawl, slide and explore this amazing space.

4. Torridon

Aerial view of Loch Bharranch, Glen Torridon

This majestic mountain paradise has cycle routes for all abilities. The path from the visitor centre through the Mains farm and along the loch shore to the village, Torridon/Fasag, is great for beginners. This quiet 3km circular route even passes by the village café for some well-earned refreshments!

Mountain bikers will enjoy the 8km path from Coire Mhic Nobuil through to Coire Dubh. There are numerous cross drains, and it can be a bit rough in places, so it’s only recommended for the very keen and fit.

5. Preston Mill

A view across fields to Preston Mill

A lovely way to visit this picturesque mill on the banks of the River Tyne, used as a filming location in Outlander, is by bike. The mill is just under 6 miles from the nearest train station at Drem, and you can cycle there direct from the station. For those taking on the John Muir Way, a visit to Preston Mill can be made during the last, or first, section - depending on which end you start.

Whilst there, you can see and hear the mill mechanisms in action, and learn about the millers who worked here. Keep an eye out for otters, kingfishers and herons on the walk beside the river down to the doocot.

6. Culzean Castle & Country Park

View across Culzean Castle and the front lawn

With the backdrop of Robert Adam’s cliff-top masterpiece, who wouldn’t love a cycle through the wildlife-rich estate of Culzean Castle & Country Park? There are a number of routes that are suitable for bike use, ranging from woodland roads and rides to narrow, infrequently used trails that meander through the estate. These trails offer up a range of fantastic landscape views of Arran and the Ayrshire coast, as well as close-up views of half-lost buildings and our more rarely-seen wildlife. Please note these are shared routes open to pedestrians, horses and dog walkers alike.

A visit to Culzean not only offers you access to the incredible castle itself, but also allows you to explore the incredible woods, beaches, parkland, Swan Pond, deer park, cliffs, and so much more!

7. Glenfinnan

A view of Glenfinnan Monument and across Loch Shiel

Explore one of the most picturesque areas of Scotland with a fantastic traffic-free bike ride on forestry track, which involves catching a boat from Glenfinnan along Loch Shiel and cycling back towards the monument between the lochside and the mountains.

The gentle 13-mile, mainly flat, bike ride is a great route for those less keen on hills. It’s possible to take your bike on a cruise with you on Wednesdays and Saturdays on Loch Shiel Cruises from Glenfinnan to Polloch jetty. 

The track runs along the east side of the loch below the spectacular mountains. The beautiful scenery offers the chance to see red deer, golden eagles, white-tailed eagles and black-throated divers. As you come to the end of the route, cut across to the informative Glenfinnan Monument visitor centre to discover the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Jacobite Rising, and take the dizzying climb up the tower for an unrivalled view of Loch Shiel.

Free Family day pass worth up to £40

The Trust is proud to partner with Halfords this summer to promote fantastic opportunities to cycle around Scotland.

When you buy any adult bike, roof box, roof bar or bike rack from Halfords between 16 May and 5 August 2019, you will receive a free Family day pass to a National Trust for Scotland property. See in store for details.

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