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Routes

If you are looking for bikepacking routes in Scotland, look no further. We will publish new routes here regularly. The following routes have been designed and tested by Bikepacking Scotland. You can also purchase ‘Great British Gravel Rides’, ‘Big Rides’ or ‘Bikepacking Scotland’ in our books section.

Cairngorms National Park Loop
While the Cairngorms are home to four of the five highest mountains in Scotland, there are no extreme climbs and descents on the route, which is suitable to ride on gravel and mountain bikes. Several businesses along the route offer bike hire and bike-friendly accommodation. You can find out more here.

Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands
Argyll’s islands, the Inner Hebrides and Bute, offer fantastic bikepacking filled with beautiful beaches, some of the world’s best distilleries, great gravel tracks and local food experiences. You can find out more here.

Bikepacking the North Coast 500
A shorter and more off-road orientated version, combining parts of the NC500 route with gravel tracks and a classic coast-to-coast route. You can find out more here.

Cateran Ecomuseum Trails
We worked with the Cateran Ecomuseum on the development of seven new road, gravel and mountain bike journeys of varying lengths. You can find out more here.

Explore your Boundaries
In a joint project with Mark Beaumont we have mapped gravel biking routes from 30 miles to 315 miles around the boundaries of Scotland’s Local Authorities. For more information click here.

From Coast to Barrel
Go bikepacking in Moray & Speyside on this adventure suitable for e-cargo bikes like the Tern Orox. For more information click here.

The Go East Lothian Trail
At 63 km the Go East Lothian Trail is perfect for families, microadventures or a long day ride. The route is suitable for gravel, mountain and e-mountain bikes, and can be ridden in all seasons. For more information click here.

The Capital Trail
The Capital Trail is a 251 km route starting and finishing on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, ideal for a long weekend expedition around Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders. For more information click here.

The Central Belter
The Central Belter is our longest route at 1200 km, starting and finishing on Portobello Beach, connecting the Capital Trail, the Highland Trail 550, Cairngorms Loop and Deeside Trail. Experience the very best of Scotland. For more information click here.

Wild About Argyll Trail
At 655 km (407 miles) this is Bikepacking Scotland’s first long-distance trail on Scotland’s Adventure Coast that is suitable for gravel and mountain bikes alike. For more information click here.

The Reiver Raid
The Reiver Raid is a 175 km weekend expedition in a wild part of Scotland. Starting and finishing at Tweedbank Station it crosses the beautiful Ale Water Valley in the Scottish Borders. For more information click here.

The Highland Perthshire Drovers Trail
An enjoyable off-road journey steeped in history through a wide variety of Scottish landscapes and small market towns and villages, featuring the remote and scenic glens in the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland’s longest river, Scotland’s smallest and oldest distillery, the last surviving oak tree from the wood that inspired Shakespeare’s Macbeth, waterfalls that heartened Robert Burns, Wade’s Military Roads, drove roads and some of the best gravel paths that the Highlands have to offer. For more information click here.

The John Muir Way
One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the John Muir Way offers a unique coast to coast bikepacking journey through Scotland’s landscapes, history and heritage, passing through Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, and offers a journey of contrasts and the chance to connect with nature, taking advantage of the green spaces that link coasts, villages, towns and even the capital city, Edinburgh. For more information click here.

The following are also established bikepacking routes in Scotland:
Highland Trail
Deeside Trail
Cairngorms Loop

We have also developed the Perthshire Gravel Trails Network, with plenty of inspiration for day rides and overnight trips. Check out perthshiregravel.com.

Planning your own route?

Sustrans has a great network of cycling routes which are suitable for bikepacking. As a starting point we would recommend this site here, which lists the long distance routes in Scotland in the Sustrans network.

If you want to plan your own route, here are more useful resources:

Websites
Heritage Paths
Scotland’s Great Trails

Books
The Bothy Bible
Scottish Hill Tracks

Books

Bikepacking gravel guide books that inspire your adventures in Scotland – our books are researched by experts, shipped worldwide and with free postage in the UK. Let us inspire your bikepacking and gravel adventures in Scotland we three titles published by Vertebrate Publishing.

While international shipping rates vary, we will always make sure only to charge you what is necessary. Moreover we handle the payment for all books with a secure payment link over Zettle/PayPal, but can accept bank transfers as well.



BIKEPACKING SCOTLAND

Bikepacking Scotland by Markus Stitz features 20 great multi-day off-the-beaten-track cycling adventures across the Scottish mainland and islands. Click here for a sample.


‘If you’d like to benefit from the years of hard work and exploration that Stitz has put into his routes, check out his books.’ James Howell-Jones, Global Cycling Network

What to expect

Our book features routes of different lengths which take in the best of Scotland. We take you on routes from the Ayrshire Alps, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders in southern Scotland, through Perthshire’s unique drovers’ roads and the grand architecture of the Central Belt. Additionally we encourage you to travel across to Argyll’s islands on ferry-hopping adventures around Islay, a paradise for whisky connoisseurs, and to Jura and Mull to spot magnificent golden eagles.

Moreover, enjoy the Scottish Highlands with an epic tour of the Cairngorms National Park, home to 25 per cent of Britain’s rare and endangered species. And additionally you can enjoy Markus’ own take on the North Coast 500 and more. Watch the film below to get inspired by Bikepacking Scotland.

All the detail you need to plan your trip

You can benefit from our extensive research, and we made sure that most routes are accessible by public transport. Additionally each route includes all the information you need to help you plan your ride, with points of interest along the route, food recommendations and accommodation options.

Our book features stunning photography and overview mapping, and you can download GPX files for each route in the book to navigate. Let Bikepacking Scotland inspire you with information on what to pack and valuable insight from Scottish cycling personalities including Mark Beaumont and Jenny Graham. Leave the planning of your Scotland bikepacking trip to us. We made sure that our book is full of practical tips and advice for both experienced bikepackers and those who want to try it out for the first time.

Reviews in the media

This is a guide I can wholeheartedly recommend.’ Sam Waller, Cycling UK

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ‘Beautifully illustrated, easy to use and with a ton of useful information … perfect for exploring on two wheels.’ Richard Bath, Scottish Field

‘Bikepacking Scotland is a well-edited book whose many route suggestions are just for jumping on the bike and riding. It can also be used for inspiration when planning your very own personal route.’ Torben Finn Laursen, cykelportalen.dk

this is scottish adventure at its best, writ large with a capital ‘a’ (if i actually employed capital letters in the first place). markus’ unbridled enthusiasm for his metier shines out of every page.’ brian palmer, thewashingmachinepost

‘This book is far more than a visual aid; it’s an adrenaline shot, to get you out on open tracks adventuring.’ Eoghan McHugh, Sportive.com

‘The book is well laid out and packed with useful information. The photography is excellent and inspiring.’ Fiona Russell, FionaOutdoors

‘Markus’s enthusiasm for just riding a bike as it seems to shine through on every page.’ Gary Walls, UK Gravel Collective

Reader reviews

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A treasure trove of information

August 13, 2023

A brilliant book jammed pack full of information. It’s comprehensive and I love that there are routes of varying difficulty fore both beginner and seasoned bikepackers. I love that you can scan the QR codes and then you’ve got the GPX files on your phone. Markus has covered everything in the book, from this beginner’s point of view.

Heather Moore

Reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.com


Media coverage of Bikepacking Scotland

The Guardian‘It’s all about freedom and adventure’: five of the best bikepacking routes in Scotland

UK HillwalkingBikepacking Scotland – Five of the Best Routes

Always Another AdventurePodcast Bikepacking Scotland

BBC Outdoors PodcastBikepacking in Scotland with Markus Stitz

Scottish FieldTake a look at the top five bikepacking routes in Scotland

The CourierBest wild adventures in little-known corners of Scotland – by bike

The HeraldBikepacker Markus Stitz on his love for Lairig Gate in the Cairngorms

Press & Journal Cycling expert believes Inverness could be a hub for off-the-beaten-track adventures

Der SchottlandBerater (DE)Bikepacking Scotland von Markus Stitz

Grit! – Gravel with Grinta! (BE)LEESTIP: Bikepacking Scotland

BikerumorNew Cycling Guidebook Helps Bikepackers Explore Scotland’s Mountains and Glens


GREAT BRITISH GRAVEL RIDES

Our second book Great British Gravel Rides pays homage to the very best gravel cycling across England, Wales and Scotland. In this book we have curated a collection of 25 routes across Britain – each a favourite route of a well-known gravel cyclist.

You can join round-the-world cycling men’s record holder Mark Beaumont in East Lothian, experience a different side of East Anglia with ultra-endurance racer Josh Ibbett and GBDURO20 winner Gail Brown, or embark on a coast-to-coast trip across Scotland with round-the-world cycling women’s record holder Jenny Graham. You get the chance to see the best of Scottish Borders with diversity in cycling champion Aneela McKenna.

‘Never mind gravel, this book is a real gem: highly recommended.’ Sportive.com

You can find more reviews, media coverage and much more on markusstitz.com


BIG RIDES – Great Britain & Northern Ireland

Big Rides: Great Britain and Ireland is your inspirational guide to the most iconic, epic and popular long-distance cycle trails in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, including two excursions from mainland Britain to Northern France.

The book features twenty-five routes showcase the best of Britain on two wheels. If you prefer to pedal on-road, the routes take you along the historic Way of the Roses trail through Lancaster and York, as well as across Scotland’s Atlantic perimeter on the Hebridean Way. You can head off-road to Northern England’s hills on the Sea to Sea (C2C) and past iconic monuments in Southern England on King Alfred’s Way.

If you are a mountain bike enthusiast, you will find plenty to challenge you in the Sarn Helen and through the Scottish Highlands on the renowned Highland Trail 550. Or head offshore, to Ireland’s coast on the Wild Atlantic Way and from Devon and Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to Normandy’s alabaster cliffs on the Tour de Manche.

Big detail

Big Rides is designed to inspire big adventures. Rather than carry you along the route, this guide provides everything you need to plan and explore further, including a general overview of the trails, specific technical information, overview mapping, key information and stunning photography.

You can plan your adventure ach route specifies approximate timings which allows for you to plan your adventure at your own pace. Whether you’re completing routes at a leisurely speed or racing towards the finish, let Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland be your guide.


You can also buy signed copies of the books at the following local shops:

Edinburgh

Central Scotland

Southern Scotland

Northern Scotland

England

Germany

Alternatively buy the books in good book shops, or ask your local library to order them.

Blog

Edge of Heaven – New film launches new bikepacking and cycle routes on Route YC

Today we have launched a network of twelve new routes for gravel cycling, bikepacking, cycle touring, road cycling and touring, ranging from 9 to 260 miles (15 – 415 km) in length on Route YC on the Yorkshire Coast. Like our ‘Explore Your Boundaries Argyll‘ the new film produced by Markus Stitz – ‘Edge of …

Gift an experience that doesn’t take up any space!

Are you looking for gift ideas? Here are a few suggestions from us that won’t take up any space! Gift the experiences that we recommend. Guided Bikepacking Rides with Comrie Croft Journeys – Based at the edge of the Southern Highlands, the stunning Glen Lednock is the perfect playground for guided bikepacking rides. Dirt Dash …

Home Is Where The Trails Take You – A new film from Markus Stitz captures a 165-mile bikepacking journey through the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland

‘Home Is Where The Trails Take You’, a new film from Bikepacking Scotland and filmmaker Markus Stitz, documents a gravel bikepacking journey through the Cairngorms to meet the people that call the National Park home. Featuring Sally Devlin and Calum MacGregor from Aviemore Bikes, Toni Vastano from the Old Post Office Cafe Gallery, David Keegan …