Highland Cycling Guide

There are harder jobs than heading to Scotland to test our latest cool weather kit. We know how lucky we are, which is why we prepared this guide of our rides so you can explore the Highlands too.

16.9.2018 – Words by Isadore team

Heading into the wilderness for us doesn’t mean necessarily that you want to camp in the wilderness. And since we appreciate a warm shower and good meal after our rides, we hooked up with Airbnb to find accommodations close to Invershin. If you can’t find anything on Airbnb or HomeAway, then this website www.cottages-and-castles.co.uk is quite helpful especially for this area.

But an even better option, especially if you are starting in Invershin, would be the Invershin Hotel Bunkhouse & Bar. We found it when looking for an authentic Scottish pub. It is owned by a lovely family, and a great place to eat and drink, and it offers lodgings, but be only found out about that too late. We were quite sad not to have stayed here.

If you Google Invershin, the Wikipedia write-up will not even hint at what a perfect jumping off point this is to explore the Highlands. But Invershin is one of the last towns that is accessible from the south on a standard two lane road. All roads from there, whether heading north or northwest, will be amazingly scenic, and only one lane roads. You’ll have to be aware of the laybys or passing points if another car happens to be coming from the other direction.

And even at the peak of the holiday season, the roads are pretty quiet with friendly drivers who were perfectly polite to cyclists on the roads.


THE RIDING

Route 1.

You will enjoy the most scenic and breathtaking roads and views when you ride northwest from Invershin to the small fishing village of Kilesku. The road passes by Carbisdale Castle, Oykel Bridge, Loch Borralan and past the mystic Ardvreck Castle and then climbs all the way from Loch Assynt up to Kylesku, with its famous Kylesku Bridge, which according to the locals, is the only bridge in the UK that is bent.

Download Strava GPX file

Route 2.

Leads to Kylesku, but around from the northern side. It's quite a detour, compared to Route #1, but we loved this route because you are almost constantly riding along the water, whether it's one of the many Loch in the area or along the sea coast. Starting from Lairg, a small town on the south bank of Loch Shin, which is almost 20 km long, continue around Allt Ceann Locha where you likely get more than a whiff of the mystical surroundings. Then take a left at Laxford Bridge and ride all the way to Kylesku along the coast.

Download Strava GPX file

Route 3.

This was our longest and most epic route. Basically set out from Invershin heading directly north. This route has everything packed into it that you would need to experience the real Scottish Highlands, all in a one day of riding your bike. You will ride along the Lochs, though empty valleys and green pastures, over hundreds of years old bridges all the way up to the coastal roads with its stiff north Atlantic gusts.

Download Strava GPX file

TIPS:

  • If you look around closely, you are certain to spot many deer stags and bucks, often feeding surprisingly close to the roads.
  • Don't forget to use an insect repellent. During the holiday season you will encounter these tiny, almost invisible creatures called the midges and they love to suck on blood.
  • The mobile phone reception is pretty weak in most of the valleys and around the Lochs. So be prepared to do some offline soul-cleansing for couple of days.
  • And of course, expect cooler temperatures and unpredictable weather even during the summer months.

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