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Scotland - Wild About Argyll

Guided Gravel Riding Tour




8 days

Prices from

$2,180 P.P.
Come and experience some of the finest gravel riding the UK has to offer in stunning Argyll, Scotland’s Adventure Coast. Each day you’ll ride along picturesque lochs, cross rugged peninsulas, pedal through serene spruce forests and past ancient castles with each viewpoint beating the last. 
The joy of gravel riding in Argyll lies in being able to get into nature and experience the natural wonders with few visitors around, and with a steady variety of fun riding surfaces to keep things interesting on the bike. 
Your riding starts in Helensburgh, a handsome Victorian coastal town on the Firth of Clyde and the starting point of this route as well as another famous one, the John Muir Way. It’s not long after climbing out of Helensburgh that we enter Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, and we follow Glen FruinGleann Culanach and Glen Douglas before reaching the top of Loch Long and continue around the Ardgarten Peninsula to Lochgoilhead. 
We continue down the shores of Loch Goil and wind past Holy Loch to the main coastal town of the Cowal peninsula, Dunoon. From here we ride north along Loch Eck, via Glenbranter Forest and a final climb through Glendaruel to stop at PortavadieA morning ferry crosses Loch Fyne before we leave the stunning shoreline and climb to the highest point of the route for some tremendous viewsBefore long we pass Castle Sween the oldest stone castle in Scotland and follow Loch Sween toward Lochgilphead.  Our finish winds back to Helensburgh via Hell’s Glen, Glen Croe and Loch Lomond in the shadows of some towering Scottish peaks.
This holiday is aimed at those who have enjoyed Skedaddle road cycling or mountain bike trips and want to have a taste of gravel riding in a remote area, as well as gravel riders wanting to see what this fabulous location has to offer. 


  • Rugged landscapes and spruce forests on the Ardgartan Peninsula
  • Scenic shoreline riding on Loch Goil, Loch Long and Loch Eck
  • Pairing Scotland’s finest seafood with local whisky and craft beer
  • Deep glens beneath towering mountains in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park
  • Sunsets across Loch Fyne at Portavadie
  • Chance to spot otters, red squirrels and white-tailed eagles

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Day 1
Arrival – Helensburgh

Our meet-up point will be in the elegant Victorian holiday town of Helensburgh with its long promenade, tree-lined streets, attractive parks and views across the River Clyde. Helensburgh Central and Helensburgh Upper train stations both work as arrival points depending on where you’re starting your journey. Mid-afternoon our guides will stop by Glasgow Airport if needed to collect anyone arriving by plane before reaching Helensburgh and assisting those arriving by train.

For those arriving by car, you will be able to leave your vehicle in Helensburgh as we’ll be returning here at the end of the trip.

Over the evening meal in Helensburgh you’ll have the chance to get to know the rest of the group and chat with the Skedaddle guides about the next few days of riding.

Day 2
Helensburgh to Lochgoilhead
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1200 Metres Approx.

Today we start our journey climbing fairly gently out of Helensburgh on a mix of gravel tracks and quiet roads, following the Three Lochs Way on a route following an ancient coffin road known locally as the Highlandman’s Road. We head north past Garelochhead via Glen Fruin and Gleann Culanach before dropping down to the waters of Loch Long at Glen Douglas and into the village of Arrochar.

Soon we climb, beneath the shadows of Ben Arthur (“The Cobbler”) and the Arrochar Alps, into Ardgartan and Argyll Forest, the oldest Forest Park in Britain. More views of Loch Long await and a scenic stop at Corran Lochan before our climbing is rewarded by a challenging downhill to Lochgoilhead following the Duke’s Path. The village offers picturesque views down the loch, in an area famed for its wildlife (red squirrel, pine marten, otter, red deer, seals, porpoises, eagles and buzzards) and as a filming location for the Connery-starring Bond film From Russia with Love.

Day 3
Lochgoilhead to Dunoon
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1250 Metres Approx.

From Lochgoilhead the route follows a quiet road along the loch heading south before reaching Carrick Castle. The road soon ends and the route follows a track continuing along the shore before joining a forest track with a few climbs above Ardentinny Beach. We stay off-road for a forested stretch climbing into the heart of the Cowal peninsula amongst the hills, returning to Loch Long at Blairmore and its pier which dates to 1855, where we can refuel and catch a breath looking out across the water.

We climb back into the forest heading north on a mix of gravel road, wider track and singletrack heading toward Lock Eck, passing Benmore Botanic Garden with its Redwood Avenue. Soon, cycling on the road we pass the car park at Puck’s Glen, where time allowing we have a chance to stop and walk a section of the trail through this dramatic gorge said to be home to mischievous spirits, with several waterfalls and towering Douglas firs. Good footwear is essential here, either grippy mtb-style cycling shoes or a change of footwear from the support vehicle.

Not long left go now, we ride via Holy Loch and past Hunter’s Quay ferry terminal into Dunoon, our stop for the night.

Day 4
Dunoon to Portavadie
48 Miles / 78 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1400 Metres Approx.

From Dunoon our route climbs inland up a gravel track with views over Holy Loch and heads north on the opposite side of River Eachaig to pass yesterday’s route and on to the shores of Loch Eck. After a stunning section along the shoreline we reach Glenbranter Forest and the first of today’s two main climbs. The forested section allows glimpses to the west with stunning views as we ride beneath Beinn Mhòr, Cowal’s highest peak.

Joining the road, we follow the Cowal Way along Glendaruel, following the river for a few gentle miles before we head off-road again and enjoy our final climb of the day, with a few steeper sections (luckily only for a few miles), rising between the hills of Cruach nan Tarbh and Cruach nan Caorach. A lovely descent over the final 10 or so miles ends our day, crossing Acharossan Burn and rejoining the road a few miles outside Portavadie, where (provided timings have worked out) there will be chance to enjoy the indoor and outdoor pools at your accommodation for the night, where you can enjoy a sunset looking west across Loch Fyne.

Day 5
Portavadie to Lochgilphead
43 Miles / 69 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1250 Metres Approx.

A morning ferry provides excellent views out toward the Sound of Bute and Firth of Clyde, as well as glimpses of the route ahead. Heading north from the picturesque fishing village of Tarbert, we leave the ferry terminal, past Tarbert Castle and ride north on the shores of Loch Fyne.

After this gentle warm-up we leave the loch and face our only real climb of the day, heading inland across Knapdale to the highest point of the trip at Allt Dearg wind farm. This inland section is all on gravel roads and your climb is rewarded with great views of the Clyde and Loch Caolisport in the west. After a quick descent we pass St. Columba’s Cave on the shore of Loch Caolisport before reaching Ellary and climbing again, off-road for a short and sharp climb heading toward Kilmory and its 13th century chapel. We continue on past Castle Sween on the east bank of Loch Sween, heading on the road and then a section alongside the Crinan Canal to our overnight stop at Lochgilphead. Time allowing there may be an opportunity to head to the nearby Argyll Beaver & Wildlife Centre to meet the beavers of Knapdale (or at least see evidence of their knawing!).

Day 6
Lochgilphead to Inveraray
43 Miles / 69 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1000 Metres Approx.

After a hearty breakfast we retrace our path along the Crinan Canal before crossing the Islandadd Bridge at the edge of the Moine Mhore National Nature Reserve, a vital ecosystem of lowland blanket bog and watery habitats home to coastal birds, otters and a rich diversity of wildlife. We continue on to Baluachraig and its wealth of history – Nether Largie Standing Stones and Temple Wood Stone Circle as well as several ancient cairns.

Some gravel riding takes us further past Kilmartin and the roofless renaissance ruin of Carnasserie Castle. At the Eurach Standing Stones we turn onto a minor road and soon reach Loch Awe via some lovely off-road trail. We follow the road along the southern shore of Loch Awe for a short while before riding up into Eredine Forest and tackling the main climb of the day. Following along the Abhainn a Bhealaich river and several others we enjoy around 20 miles of off-road riding on a mix of gravel and forest track returning to Loch Fyne.

A scenic finish along the shore of Loch Fyne takes us into Inveraray, a traditional county town of Argyll. The town showcases Scottish Georgian architecture and has some great attractions including the jail and courthouse turned museum as well as the neo-gothic Inveraray Castle, which remains the family home of the Dukes of Argyll. Inveraray is a great setting for dinner tonight and good night’s rest before our final ride!

Day 7
Inveraray to Helensburgh
50 Miles / 81 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1150 Metres Approx.

Our final riding day begins with a short climb up past Inveraray Castle and across River Aray with a short off-road section before re-joining the old military road at the attractive Garron Bridge. We stay on the road for the remainder of the north shore of Loch Fyne, passing Dunderave Castle and taking in tremendous views across the water. After rounding the loch and passing through Cairndow, we join a trail that takes us up past The Tinkers Heart, an important site to Scottish Travellers. We then continue climbing on the road and down through Hell’s Glen before our final cheeky climb of the tour! We follow a lovely track just above the road following Gleann Mor in the shadow of Ben Donich, almost as far as the Rest and Be Thankful pass. A detour to the top offers fantastic views across the old valley road engineered by General Wade.

Continuing on a gravel track away from the busy road, we follow Glen Croe back to Ardgartan and rejoin the road. Passing Arrochar we pick up the Three Lochs Way and main road briefly into Tarbet for some photo opportunities from the banks of Loch Lomond. The West Loch Lomond Cycle Path offers a relaxed finish to the tour, with views of Ben Lomond, Conic Hill and passing the charming village of Luss. From Arden we follow the A818 for a few miles back to Helensbrugh for a celebratory dinner together.

Day 8
Departure – Helensburgh
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, saying goodbyes and making tentative plans with your new pals for the next Skedaddle adventure, your guide team will assist those departing Helensburgh by train and then transfer those of you returning to Glasgow Airport. The short journey will depart at approximately 9:30.

For those with time to spare, there are many more attractions nearby and within easy reach via train, car or bike! The nearby village of Balloch at the base of Loch Lomond is the starting point of Skedaddle’s popular Lochs & Glens leisure cycling holidays and is home to many cafes and restaurants along with popular walking trails with more views up the loch.

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The Cycling


The Wild About Argyll Trail features a good mix of off-road riding as well as some minor, quiet roads, with the occasional busier section of road where unavoidable.

The route takes advantage of some terrific forest roads and tracks, composed of gravel and hard-packed surfaces, some rougher paved sections, grassy and occasionally muddy single track, and some looser surfaces on select single track sections which are a bit more technical. Given the location on the west coast of Scotland, rain and mist can be expected over the course of a week-long trip, leaving some parts of the trail muddier than others. You can find more information on riding on gravel surfaces here in our Guide to Gravel Trails.

There are some steeper climbs and the occasional faster descent particularly when the route winds its way inland away from the shore. The route peaks at 450m but there is regular rolling terrain at mostly reasonable gradients, with each day taking in roughly 1100m to 1300m ascent and descent. A good degree of riding fitness is advisable for this tour.

For this trip we recommend gravel bikes with a minimum tyre width of 38mm. The route may also be suitable for cross country mountain bikes fitted with minimally treaded XC tyres if bringing your own. We wouldn’t recommend this route for road bikes unless fitted with a minimum of 38mm and a rider comfortable and experienced in tackling the off-road nature of these trails.


Gravel Riding Grade

Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day.

For gravel and off-road riders with experience, good fitness and a decent level of skill.

Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher-grade tour.

The gravel trails encountered are a mix of vehicle width and non-technical singletrack.

Trails can vary more in width and in surface type.

You will need to choose your line more carefully and might need to move from one side of the trail to the other to find the smoothest line and the best grip/least rolling resistance.

If you’re bringing your own bike, we would recommend a minimum tyre width of 38mm.

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 regularly ride off-road, although you’re not necessarily into full-on mountain biking. You enjoy getting into the countryside and getting away from roads and traffic. You’re happy with climbing and descending off-road on vehicle width trails. The occasional cheeky section of singletrack with some roots or rocks to navigate over and around doesn’t worry you. You’re likely to own your own gravel bike, cyclocross bike or mountain bike. You might have tried one of our Grade 2 or 3 mountain bike trips or higher-grade road trips.

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Dates & Prices


Late Availability

We want you to know which tours are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

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
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 17/09/2023
Return Date
8 days
Start Date
Return Date
8 days
Start Date
Return Date
8 days

Whats Included Tick

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

B) Meals as per 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) GPX files available upon request

G) Glasgow airport and Helensburgh train station transfers on day 1 and day 8

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport / train station transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

The arrival point for this holiday is Helensburgh, where we will meet up and overnight before our first day’s riding. If travelling by car you will be able to leave your car in Helensburgh for the duration of the trip.

If you would prefer to catch the train, Helensburgh is served by two train stations. Helensburgh Central has direct trains to Glasgow (half hourly service, approx. 45 minutes). Helensburgh Upper sits on the world famous West Highland Line, one of the world’s great scenic railway lines. Either station is fine and we will be able to offer a transfer just after 4pm on arrival and an early morning station transfer on departure. Train journeys to Helensburgh Central from London typically take 7 hours connecting at Edinburgh Waverley and passing through Glasgow Queen Street. Bike reservations aren’t needed on certain services, but it is best to avoid peak times. Please check with Scotrail and other operators well in advance to ensure you can travel with your bike.

Please aim to arrive by around 16:00 on the Sunday afternoon.

For those who must fly, we include a transfer from Glasgow airport at 14:30 on the arrival day, and a return transfer from Helensburgh at 9:30 on departure day. Journey time is approximately 45 minutes.

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 and logistics. Please note – If you make alternative travel arrangements, which fall outside of the group schedule, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.


For this tour we use a mix of B&Bs, country inns, lodges and small family-run hotels.

In Helensburgh, where we start and finish the tour, we use a mix of family run B&Bs and small hotels with good access to the waterfront, shops and restaurants. All accommodation is convenient and accessible for public transport.

Should you prefer to head home after the final day of riding there is a £50 reduction. It will however have been a long day and we don’t recommend this if you’ve a long journey ahead.

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 don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have gravel bikes available to rent.

These bikes are typically full carbon Giant Revolt / Liv Devote, great bikes with good quality components. These bikes are set up tubeless on gravel-specific wheels and have 700×40c tyres on the Revolt and 700×38c tyres on the Devote. They provide a comfortable riding position and wide range of gears, running a 2×11 drivetrain with 32/48 chainrings and 11×34 cassette. They are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes.

If you do decide to rent and would like us to provide a helmet, please let us know at the time of booking, otherwise you should bring your own helmet with you.

Please also let us know if you plan on bringing your own clip-in pedals, or if you will use the flat pedals which our rental bikes come fitted with.

Given the variety of shapes and sizes of on bike luggage and the fact the mechanisms for fitting them varies so much, we aren’t able to safely accommodate customers own frame bags and on bike luggage on our hire bikes. This holiday has vehicle support and the riding group will meet the support vehicle at regular intervals, so you should be able to get away with using jersey pockets to carry any ride essentials. You are welcome to use a small back-pack on sections where you think it’s necessary.

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