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United Kingdom

Scotland - The Caledonia Way

Guided Leisure Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,695 P.P.
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Join us on the Caledonia Way - the latest addition to our range of classic cycling trips in Scotland. This incredible 234 mile cycling journey slices through the iconic Highlands and takes you through some of Scotland’s most breathtaking countryside and picturesque scenery.
Remote at times, the route combines quiet rural Scottish roads and flat canal-side meanders with forest trails and a smattering of gravel sections. Along the way you’ll pass lochs and mountains before ending in the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness. A top choice for adventurous cyclists looking for a challenge!
Heading northwards from Kintyre, you’ll experience a quiet slice of Scotland, relatively free of the North Coast 500 box tickers. Bursting at the seams with stunning scenery and picture-perfect pedalling opportunities. Our initial riding days take in the craggy coastal routes of the West Coast with its epic sea lochs and endless vistas to Arran before heading inland to the dramatic scenery of Knapdale. From here the highlights continue to unfold on a daily basis and include the gorgeous Glen of Kilmartin, the awesome Loch Awe and the rugged beauty of Glencoe and the lofty Ben Nevis.
Later days are spent following the Great Glen where you’ll switch between tarmac and forest trails, traffic-free cycle paths and canal towpaths. Our final day ends the trip in style as we take on the classic Scottish road cycling challenge of Glendoe before continuing to vibrant Inverness.
This is a trip aimed at those who have enjoyed our place-to-place supported and Guided UK trips such as the C2C, Coast and Castles and the Way of the Roses and are up for taking on some ups and downs along the way. Accommodation along the way consists of friendly guest houses and small hotels with their hearty Scottish breakfasts fuelling your days in the saddle. Picnic lunches are provided by our team and whilst coffee stops are few and far between in this remote ‘neck of the woods,’ hot drinks are at the ready should the weather ‘turn Scottish’ with evening meals taken in hand-picked restaurants and pubs ensuring you get the full Highlands experience.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Marvelling at the beauty of Kilmartin Glen and its ancient monuments
  • Enjoying traffic-free cycleways and lovely canal side routes
  • Checking out Ben Nevis & The Grampians from Loch Linhe
  • Fort Augustus and taking on the legendary ascent of Glendoe
  • Exploring Knapdale – One of Scotland’s National Scenic Areas
  • Cycling to Scotland’s best-loved towns including Oban & Fort Augustus

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival - Transfer to Ardrossan & Ferry to Campbeltown

The group will meet at Glasgow International Airport (GLA) in order to transfer (45 minutes / 25 Miles) to the ferry that leaves from the port of Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast in southwestern Scotland. The ferry journey is around 2hrs 45 minutes and will take you across the Firth of Clyde and past the Isle of Arran to Campbeltown.

It’s a short distance from the port to our accommodation with time set aside for bike fitting here in preparation for tomorrow’s first day in the saddle. Evening meal taken at a restaurant / pub in Campbeltown.

Day 2
Campbeltown to Tarbert
38 Miles / 61 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1150 Metres Approx.

Our journey begins on the beautiful peninsula of Kintyre in peaceful Campbeltown. Once proclaimed ‘the whisky capital of the world’ it is located on a deep bay sheltered by Davaar Island and the surrounding hills – a fitting place to start our ride.

There’s little time for warming up the legs on this initial day as we are straight into things pretty much from the off. Whilst the road is quiet, it’s certainly got some short and steep ‘cheeky climbs’ as it edges its way along the dramatic coastline of the Kilbrannan Sound and affords you wonderful views across to Arran.

After Skedaddlin’ past the aptly named Saddell (with its 17th Century castle), we continue to the hamlet of Claonaig where we turn inland to ride across Kintyre to Kennacraig. From here it’s pretty much downhill all the way to Tarbert. Situated on the west shores of Loch Fyne, Tarbert is a bustling little place and an ideal spot to spend the night with a nice harbour for a little leg-stretch after your day in the saddle.

Day 3
Tarbert to Lochgilphead
35 Miles / 56 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 900 Metres Approx.

Certainly less hilly than yesterday, today’s ride is nevertheless as, if not more, spectacular with minimal traffic on the quiet rural roads. Re-tracing our pedal strokes out of Tarbert, we are soon in the dramatic scenery of Knapdale – one of Scotland’s 40 National Scenic Areas. Identified as an area of exceptional scenery to ensure protection from inappropriate development, it’s easy to see why it made the grade.

Meandering our way around the peninsula, we’ll be setting our sights on Lochgilphead where we end the day. For those up for a wee challenge, the gravel section above Loch Fyne is a must or should you prefer a smoother way into town, then there is a good road option as well. Situated at the apex of Loch Gilp (an offshoot of Loch Fyne) the town grew in importance following the opening of the nearby Crinan Canal and today remains a popular base to explore Kintyre. With its eclectic mix of old buildings, shops, pubs and small ‘eateries’ you’ll not get a better slice of real rural Highlands life!

Day 4
Lochgilphead to Oban
52 Miles / 84 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.

Following a couple of days of fairly challenging riding, our initial miles along the towpath of the Crinan Canal are a welcoming start to the day as we head into the wonderful Kilmartin Glen. Considered to have one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland, the area is scattered with ancient monuments, standing stones and burial cairns, some of which we’ll visit during our morning section of the ride.

On reaching the immense Loch Awe, we’ll be following its western shore. Raising the bar somewhat is this truly awesome (no pun intended!) section of the Caledonia Way. Whilst very narrow in places, it’s well surfaced with continual steep ups and downs testing the legs and honing the concentration. For many, this section will no doubt rank high on the highlights of the trip with a very well-deserved coffee and cake stop at Dalavich providing sustenance just at the right juncture.

The roller-coaster ride then continues (though less demanding) until Annat where we head northwards away from the loch. From here on in, the scenery becomes more pastoral with the route winding its way through large stretches of farmland. Make sure you keep an eye out for the Hairy Coos during this section!

A very cheeky climb ends the exertions for the day and as always, what goes up must come down with the descent to Oban a great way to end today’s ride. Badged as the Gateway to the Islands and the seafood capital of Scotland you’ll not go hungry tonight with lots of great places to eat in this bustling little port.

Day 5
Oban to Fort William
52 Miles / 84 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1200 Metres Approx.

Another day of gorgeous views and fabulous riding ahead of us! After edging our way along the coastline to get the legs moving, our tyres are treated to a traffic-free cycle route between Loch Creran and Loch Leven for around 20 miles with much of the path built along the former railway line from Connel to the slate quarries near Ballachulish.

It’s a truly wonderful and largely flat route that meanders its way along and with only the odd steep section to contend with, you’ll be eating up the miles. Leaving the cycleway (close to Corran) we cross Loch Linhe from Nether Lochaber to arrive in Ardgour just ten minutes later.

From here we keep pedalling alongside the loch for another 20 miles before catching our second ferry that takes us from Camusnagaul to Fort William where we stay for the evening. Situated “beneath” Scotland’s and the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis (1345m), it’s a busy little place with no shortage of establishments for a wee dram or to tuck into some Highlands fayre.

Day 6
Fort William to Fort Augustus
32 Miles / 52 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 700 Metres Approx.

This day has a bit of everything terrain-wise to contend with. Starting gently out of Fort William, we are soon beside Scotland’s longest inland waterway, the Caledonian Canal, and following the course of the Great Glen, a stunning 100km long narrow valley that cuts through the Lochs of Oich, Lochy and Ness.

At Clunes we leave the flat of the canalside behind for a while and head along the forest road through Clunes Wood. Whilst certainly an off-road section, it isn’t too technically demanding (even for those not used to off-road riding) with the trail wide.

At Laggan Locks, we say goodbye to our foray through the forest with the route, whilst still not on the road, better surfaced and pretty much flat as we skirt Loch Oich. Popping out of the trees at Aberchalder, we rejoin the canalside towpath for the final 5 miles to Fort Augustus.

Situated on the most southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way, this historic and scenic hamlet is where we’ll stay, with our evening meal taken at one of its small restaurants.

Day 7
Fort Augustus to Inverness
34 Miles / 54 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 850 Metres Approx.

Our final day on the bikes is a real cracker and will certainly end the trip in style. With only a few hundred metres to warm up the legs, we are soon tackling one of the classic Scottish climbs as we head up Glendoe which at just over 5 mile in length climbs around 366 Metres / 1200ft over the distance.

Your reward, however, is an equally long stunning descent (with no turns) that will flip your grimace into a grin as you speed down this wide road before continuing on to the Falls of Foyers, situated on the southern shores of Loch Ness. Our final 20 miles take us beside Loch Ness (monster spotting, anyone??) before our final rural roads lead us into Inverness. Congratulations!! You’ve Skedaddled the Caledonia Way and it’s time for celebrations after a week of incredible cycling and scenery.

Day 8
Departure - Inverness
  • Meals: Breakfast

Transfer back to Glasgow Airport (GLA) where you pick up your cars, hop on a train, plane, or perhaps extend your holiday. This is an amazing drive with breathtaking scenery, allowing you a few more photo opportunities before we bid you farewell. For those who travelled up to Glasgow by train, Inverness offers great connections without the need for returning to Glasgow for onward connections. *For those travelling by train to London Euston, you may wish to depart from Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The route is part of the National Cycle Network and follows traffic-free cycle paths and quiet rural roads. There are forest trails with some roots and stones, and forestry roads with small sections of rough track with chunky, looser gravel. Notably on Day 5 where there is no alternative option.

There will be ups and downs on most days, with very few flat sections. Most days have frequent but short climbs, however there are some longer hills dotted throughout. With this in mind we would recommend a decent level of fitness to enjoy the route.

We recommend either a hybrid bike, gravel bike or a mountain bike fitted with semi-slick tyres. Parts of this route are not suitable for a road bike so they are not recommended. E-bikes with sufficient battery capacity are suitable for this tour, let us know your make and model and we’ll double check all is fine!

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4: Active

Distances generally between 30 and 50 miles per day / 48 and 80 kms per day

For those who cycle frequently

Will include some long and / or steep climbs

Includes varying terrain (some sections may see you cycling over uneven, unpaved or loose ground)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You ride quite frequently at home and perhaps enjoy cycling as one of your forms of exercise. Weekends will occasionally see you spending the day in the saddle exploring routes which take in some steep climbs. These tours may also see you riding over varying terrain and so it’s preferable if you have some experience of riding on uneven / unpaved ground. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 4 holiday to be fit and healthy, and ready to take on an achievable challenge.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
07/05/2023
Return Date
14/05/2023
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,695.00
Start Date
25/06/2023
Return Date
02/07/2023
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,695.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Access to the Skedaddle App for holiday information and navigation

G) Ferries integral to the itinerary

G) Scheduled transfers on arrival and departure days

What's not Included Cross

A) Personal clothing and equipment

B) Travel insurance

C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.

D) Bike & helmet rental (available if required)

E) Travel or flight costs and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

F) Single room option (may be available if required)

G) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres

H) Other optional activities

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Join us at Glasgow Airport or in Ardrossan for a transfer to the start of the tour in Campbeltown. The tour finishes in Inverness, with transfers back to Glasgow.

For those travelling by car or plane, to join the transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive at Glasgow Airport (where you can leave your vehicle) by 10:00 for an 11:00 transfer to Ardrossan. From here we take the 13:50 CalMac ferry to Campbeltown and arrive at 16:30.

At the end of the tour there will be a group transfer back to Glasgow Airport, with an estimated arrival time of 14:00. Please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check-in for your chosen flight or car parking times.

If you are travelling by train then from you can take the train to Ardrossan Harbour and meet the group at the ferry terminal. At the end of the tour if departing by train from Inverness then there will be a train station drop off at 08.30. Outside of this it is a short walk to the station from the accommodation with taxis also regularly available. If travelling on to London you may want to consider the Caledonian Sleeper from Inverness to London Euston.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday, and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfers, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

In the UK we use good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and family-run guesthouses that are cycle friendly, located close to the cycling route and showcase the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting.

Where possible we prioritise locally owned businesses and those offering locally sourced food, drink and speciality products. This all promotes sustainability in-line with our responsible travel policy.

All our UK trips are operated on a double/twin-share basis.

Single occupancy rooms can be provided for a supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Bike Hire

If you would like to rent a bike we have hybrid bikes available.

The hybrid bikes are generally Giant Roam or Liv Rove with a large 27 speed gear range, semi-slick tyres and a relaxed riding position.

Helmets and panniers are provided on request with all our hire bikes along with an emergency repair kit including a spare innertube, bike pump and bike lock.

E-bikes with sufficient battery power are suitable for the route. If you are planning to bring your own e-bike, please let us know the make and model of your bike and we can check its suitability.

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News, Reviews & Stories

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