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Milngavie to Pitlochry Explorer


12 Days Trail Cycling

From £1265

  • Ideal for families. Off road trails and quiet country roads.

  • Easy relaxed riding with the opportunity to make it more challenging.

  • A ride through history.

  • George Buchanan country.

  • Rob Roy McGregor country.

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Milngavie to Pitlochry Explorer

This is a fabulous tour full of opportunity and variety. The cycling can be ultra-easy or a wee bit challenging. That’s up to you. We start you off with some easy trail cycling on pleasant woodland paths that quickly lead to the first of many panoramic feasts. Early on in this journey you're treated to views of Loch Lomond and Scotland’s southern Highlands. Of course you’ll see loads more lochs and several roaring rivers. At times the temptation to jump in will prove too much. And why not? You’ll penetrate deep into the heart of vast forests and enjoy spectacular mountain scenery on a trail that follows quiet country lanes, forest paths, cycle tracks and coveted single-track if you so desire it. You’ll enjoy Highland hospitality each day and there’s a chance to complete part of the journey on board a paddle steamer. Every second day can be solely for relaxing or for exploring the locale by bike, foot or any other means including canoe and raft. Each destination you visit has something to offer whether it be outdoor activities or even a night at the theatre. We recommend you pack a swimming costume and camera. NB All our tours can be shortened or extended to suit. Just call or email our office.

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Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Stirling

    Arrive in Stirling and book into first night’s accommodation and pick up bikes. Choose from a mix of cycling trails and visit sites of historic interest along the way.

  • Day 2 - Milngavie to Aberfoyle 24 mi / 39 km

    We start by cycling on pleasant woodland paths following the course of a river for the first few miles. The trail climbs gradually passing a couple of small lochs before it emerges from the forest at what is the highest point on this stretch. A wide open vista stretches out before us and we are treated to spectacular views of The Campsie Fells, Ben Lomond and the Trossachs that form the southernmost tip of Scotland's Highlands. Following a swift and bumpy yet exhilarating descent the trail flattens out as we ride along an old disused railway for several miles. The path cuts through farmland passing a distillery and several small hamlets before joining a quiet single track road for the final stretch into the village of Drymen, an ideal spot for lunch or even your first overnight stay. From Drymen the route quickly climbs to the highest point of the day with fabulous views over the Carse of Stirling and surrounding hills and a brief glimpse of Loch Lomond before dropping down into the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. A short ride on single-track roads and forest tracks shouldered by Victorian aqueducts leads to the quiet village of Aberfoyle.

  • Day 3 - Aberfoyle

    An opportunity to explore in and around Aberfoyle. Take a ride deep into the Queen Elizabeth Forest and discover tranquil loch’s or maybe a fairy hill or the source of the mighty River Forth. Cycle around a loch and take a trip on a paddle steamer. Climb a hill. Climb a mountain. Ben Lomond and Ben Venue or on the doorstep. Go canyoning in the Devil’s Pulpit or try out the high wires course at Go Ape.

  • Day 4 - Aberfoyle to Callander 14 mi / 23 km

    Today there’s a choice between three routes. Each offers something slightly different while all prescribe forest trails and loch-side riding. The expansive views of the previous days are replaced with magnificent mountain scenery. This is the Trossachs – gateway to the Highlands. Two of the routes are rideable by all while the third is more suited to fit cyclists with at least some technical mountain biking experience. One of the easier options involves delightful forest riding and an optional trip on a paddle steamer or alternatively you can opt for a fourteen mile cycle. The other routes are slightly shorter but offer equally stunning scenery with a chance to ride some excellent loch-side single-track. And all share the same glorious ride along the shores of Loch Venachar to finish.

  • Day 5 - Callander

    Explore in and around Callander. Enjoy clifftop walks along the Crags above the town. Climb the fabulous Ben Ledi or head out into Glen Artney and tackle the mighty Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin two of Scotland’s most southerly Munro’s that can be taken together. Go fishing on Loch Venachar or the River Teith or ride the rapids on the Teith down to Doune where the popular tv series Outlander was recently filmed.

  • Day 6 - Callander to Killin 25 mi / 40 km

    An easy ride into history is today’s theme. For most of the way the trail follows the route of the old Callander to Oban railway with only short detours for a spot of off-roading or to visit Balquidder, site of Rob Roy MacGregor’s grave, the infamous Scottish outlaw immortalised in several texts and popular films such as Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson. The first mile or so is on a well-manicured path running between two rivers. Soon the trail crosses a main road and joins a reasonably smooth (in the process of being tarmacked) woodland track marking the beginning of a gradual climb northwards. This particularly picturesque section is notable for the rapidly flowing river tumbling by just beyond the trees. Soon we emerge onto a quiet single track road, with the bulk of Ben Ledi rising steeply on our left and the glistening flat expanse of Loch Lubnaig on the right. Beyond the loch we briefly disappear into dense pine forest before reaching the village of Strathyre. From here we are posed with a choice of routes. The longest and one of the most pleasant swings us round by Balquidder, located at one of Scotland’s most idyllic spots. All routes converge again at Kingshouse and continue along the path of the old railway as it dots between forest and open hillside. At Lochearnhead be sure to look east and enjoy the views over Loch Earn to St Fillans. Beyond Lochearnhead we enter Glen Ogle known for its rugged beauty and soon cross its iconic viaduct before reaching the highest point of the day. From here it’s an easy whoosh downhill through the forest to Killin at the head of Loch Tay.

  • Day 7 - Killin

    There’s no rest for the wicked. Killin sits at the confluence of two rivers and several valleys making it a great base to explore from. Hop on your bike and cycle into Glen Lochay or Glen Dochart and discover the delights each has to offer. A spot of wild swimming in the deep rocky pools in Glen Lochay may prove too tempting. Head for Ben Lawers where it’s possible to climb several of Scotland’s highest mountains in one go. Hire a Canadian Canoe and paddle down the River Lochay to Loch Tay. Take a packed lunch or catch your own with a fishing rod.

  • Day 8 - Killin to Aberfeldy 24 mi / 38 km

    You take the low road and I’ll take the high road. After enjoying the spectacular Falls of Dochart in the heart of Killin we take a peaceful tree lined avenue along the southern shore of Loch Tay. Before long we are posed with the choice of staying on the undulating tarmac all the way to Kenmore or of taking to the hills for a bit of high adventure. Either way you’re rewarded with spectacular views over Loch Tay to the Ben Lawers group of mountains opposite. There’s a chance to visit a hermits’ cave, view some fabulous waterfalls plummeting into deep ravines or try to time travel by touching a standing stone from a stone circle like the heroine Claire in Diana Gabaldon’s novel Outlander, an historical romance that was recently adapted for television. The final stretch of this journey can be done off or on road. The on road route is gentler on the legs and lungs being almost entirely flat and a mile or so shorter than the off-road option. However, the off-road trail is easy enough once the initial climb is out of the way and boasts elevated views of the surrounding countryside and of course no traffic other than walkers, cyclists and wildlife and probably the odd sheep or highland coo.

  • Day 9 - Aberfeldy

    Time to relax! Or maybe not. Aberfeldy is well served when it comes to outdoor activities. There’s boating, canyoning, canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting. Hiking, golf, archery, swimming and a skate park. On road cycling, off-road cycling and mountain biking. Castles, distilleries and a cinema. And along at Kenmore the Scottish Crannog Centre provides a fascinating insight into how we lived back in the Iron Age.

  • Day 10 - Aberfeldy to Pitlochry 15 mi / 24 km

    We start the day with some pleasurable riverside riding which takes us down to the villages of Grandtully and Strathtay. From here we trundle effortlessly along the northern bank of the River Tay before switching to the south bank. Pushing on through farmland and woodland we soon cross the river again and ride northwards into the Tummel Valley leaving the Tay behind. After a long gradual climb we begin to descend toward the River Tummel and the last leg of our journey to Pitlochry.

  • Day 11 - Pitlochry

    An attractive Victorian town, Pitlochry is a popular destination for all sorts of travelers. Its' spa’s, theatre and local distillery attract plenty of visitors and the hydroelectric visitor centre due to open in autumn 2016 should also prove a draw. But it’s main attraction has to be the surrounding countryside which is spellbindingly beautiful. You can enjoy gentle woodland walks around the shores of Loch Faskally or hike up nearby Ben Vrackie. Cycling is popular here and in May thousands descend on the town to take part in the Etape Caledonia. Local lochs and rivers provide sport from fishing to white water rafting. And of course being Scotland there’s a golf course.

  • Day 12

    Transfer to Stirling.

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Destinations

  • Stirling

    The historic city of Stirling, once Scotland's ancient capital, in the words of the eminent broadcaster David Dimbleby, has a castle "that rivals Edinburgh's". And so it does. Steeped in history this attractive rural city features in the story's of many of Scotland's and the United Kingdom's most famous historical figures including William Wallace and King James VI and I. James Stewart, known as King James sixth of Scotland and first of England and Ireland was the first king to rule all three nations at once. He spent most of his young life at Stirling Castle which it is thought was originally erected either during or sometime before the 12th century. Stirling is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with open countryside all around that can be accessed within minutes from virtually anywhere within the city. Our accommodation is located in Kings Park, an affluent Victorian district situated below and adjacent to the old town. You are ideally placed to explore both the town, it's parks and the fabulous woodlands and country lanes nearby. All can be easily reached on foot or by bicycle.

  • Milngavie

    Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy) is an affluent suburb situated in the north of Glasgow. It's 15 minutes away from Glasgow airport by car and 25 minutes by train from the city centre. Although not a holiday destination in itself considerable numbers of tourists, probably more than 30,000, pass through the town each year. This is because Milngavie is the traditional starting point for one of the world's most famous long distance walking trails - the West Highland Way. Within a 5 minute stroll from the train station lie the gates to this fabulous route. Walkers, cyclists and runners gather here to be photographed before undertaking their great journey.

  • Killearn

    Although our route barely glances the outskirts of Killearn we felt given its historic significance as the birthplace of George Buchanan that it was worth mentioning. The attractive village sits on the edge of a moor overlooking the confluence of the Blane and Endrick Valleys. A one-time farming village today it serves as an affluent satellite of Glasgow. It’s most famous son George Buchanan, born in 1506, was a prominent Scottish scholar and tutor to King James VI of Scotland who later became King James I of England and Ireland also. James was the first monarch to rule all three kingdoms simultaneously. He also ruled over Wales at this time but technically Wales is a principality. A 31metre tall monument has been erected in Buchanan’s name near the village Kirk and can be seen from miles around. A detour into the village would add roughly two miles or just over three kilometres to your journey.

  • Drymen

    Drymen is a relatively small village nestling just a few miles from the shores of Loch Lomond. It sits at a crossroads of the ways. The West Highland Way passes through the village while the Rob Roy Way starts here and the John Muir Way passes by only a couple of miles away. Despite it's size, Drymen is a lively wee place, supporting two hotels and numerous bed and breakfasts. With friendly bars and good quality eateries it's a popular haunt for locals and tourists alike.

  • Aberfoyle

    Aberfoyle, often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Trossachs’, is a pleasant and peaceful village situated at the foot of the Menteith Hills and amidst the vast Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The hills are particularly significant because they mark the line of the Highland Boundary Fault which runs through the island of Arran on the west coast to Stonehaven on the east coast and separates the Highlands from the Lowlands. Another prominent feature of the village is the River Forth that runs through its centre before winding its way across a vast flood plain to Stirling and then Edinburgh where it enters the North Sea. The village is busy through the day with day trippers but generally quiet later in the evening. However, there are still enough customers buzzing about to ensure the couple of inns providing food and one or two café/restaurants remain open.

  • Callander

    Like Aberfoyle just over the hill, Callander straddles the divide between the Highlands and Lowlands. It sits just beyond the eastern tip of the beautiful Loch Venachar at the foot of the forested Menteith Hills. It’s the largest village in the Trossachs and supports numerous hotels, B&B’s, restaurants and bars and is busy most of the year round. The centre of Callander is distinctly Victorian with many of that eras more substantial villas now operating as small hotels or guesthouses. However, many remain as family homes in this relatively affluent town. The River Teith runs right through the villages’ heart providing a particularly pleasant outlook for well placed residences on its banks and sport in the form of fishing and canoeing. Another great site from the village is that of Ben Ledi, a magnificent looking hill and one reasonably easy as well as pleasing to climb.

  • Strathyre

    A fairly small village, Strathyre resides in a particularly picturesque part of the Scottish Highlands. Nestling amongst the trees of the forest that shares its’ name and straddling the River Balvag a stroll from one side of the village to the other is a walk through nature itself. Woodland walks and a footbridge link the villages’ two halves at the southern end while an attractive old stone humpback bridge provides the umbilicus upstream. For visitors there’s an inn and a café for meals and providing accommodation along with the inn there’s also a couple of B&B’s.

  • Balquhidder

    A large parish or a very small village, whatever Balquidder’s designation it’s a delightful wee place. Rolling into the village along the Sustrans cycle route from the south we pass several attractive stone-built homes, mostly working farmhouses and cross a couple of old humpback bridges. The village is simply pretty with a handful of quaint cottages dotted throughout. It has one small tea room despite receiving lots of visitors who mostly come to see the infamous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor’s grave or are heading further into the glen to visit the site of his onetime house at Inverlochlarig. Roundabout there are a couple of B&B’s and a few miles away to the west there’s an hotel, Monachyle Mhor and to the east the Mhor 84 motel.

  • Lochearnhead

    Situated at the western end of Loch Earn the views from Lochearnhead can be spectacular. They’re even better if you climb above the village on the Sustrans cycle track. From up here, on a clear day you can easily see St Fillans at the eastern end of the loch. In the village there are several attractive old stone buildings including a pretty wee cottage with thatched roof. For visitors there are a couple of two-star hotels or four-star B&B’s but limited choice for eating out other than the hotels. The village shop doubles as a post office and sells takeaway tea and coffee.

  • Killin

    Killin is a pleasant Highland village corralled by two attractive rivers that flow into Loch Tay. The Falls of Dochart formed on the river bearing the same name are a wonderful site and draw many visitors to the area in themselves. The River Lochay is a more serene beast that gently meanders around the village, conveniently providing mooring for boats adjacent to properties along its bank. There are several shops in the village including an outdoors shop that hires out mountain bikes and Canadian Canoes. For sleeping, eating and drinking there are also several options in the form of hotels, inns, B&B’s, guesthouses, restaurants and bars.

  • Ardeonaig

    Ardeonaig is a pretty little hamlet on the southern shores of Loch Tay. Not much more than a collection of farm buildings, cottages and country houses it manages to boast a hotel that is renowned for its quality. The Ardeonaig Hotel is a four star establishment that serves as a watering hole to walkers, cyclists and day trippers as well as providing comfortable bedrooms for overnighting guests.

  • Kenmore

    Kenmore is blessed with some tremendous views over Loch Tay towards the Ben Lawers group of mountains on the loch’s northern shore. The village itself is pleasing on the eye too with a picture postcard bridge crossing the River Tay. And then there’s the pretty main square with rows of cottages running down two sides and shouldering the Kenmore Hotel on one of the sides. At one end on a promontory sits the village kirk overlooking both loch and square. Opposite is the grand arched entrance to Taymouth Castle Estate. The castle is currently being renovated and its new owners plan to open an upmarket hotel. Guests might even be able to arrive by plane using the loch as a landing strip.

  • Aberfeldy

    The Highland town of Aberfeldy is a bustling centre of activity. Along the main drag traditional Victorian buildings house shops, banks, hotels, and tea rooms. Step away from here and you’ll find yourself in residential streets full of Victorian terraces and villas many with gardens full of brightly coloured flowers, mature trees and sumptuous hedgerows. At the northern end of town the five arches of General Wade’s Bridge span the River Tay below four sculpted obelisks protruding skywards near the centre of the bridge. It is a simple yet stunning piece of architecture.

  • Grandtully

    Grandtully is a beautiful wee village on the south bank of the River Tay. And despite its size boasts a primary school, chocolatier, hostel, inn, coffee house and a water sports centre. From the inn it’s possible to watch white water rafters and kayakers careering down the rapids below. Less than a minute’s stroll across a bridge adjacent to the inn and water sports centre car park is Grandtully’s nearest neighbour Strathtay, also very attractive. What Strathtay lacks in chocolatiers and inns it gains in a village shop and golf course. And like Grandtully has some fabulous Victorian houses.

  • Pitlochry

    Grand hotels, castles and country homes reside alongside impressive examples of Victorian engineering in a truly stunning mountain setting amidst forests of pine and oak and beech and alder and more. With glistening Loch Faskally and the tumbling Tummel River right at the heart of this spellbinding picture, the allure of Pitlochry is patently obvious to see. It’s no wonder that this town is one of Scotland’s most popular visitor destinations outside of Edinburgh. Besides the usual attractions of spas, a distillery, fine restaurants and quality accommodation Pitlochry also boasts a theatre which is responsible in itself for many of the towns’ visitors. The theatre keeps the punters rolling in all year round with many acclaimed productions to see performed by theatre companies from near and far.

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Hotel, B&B, Inn or Guesthouse

We normally arrange 3 or 4 star bed and breakfast accommodation in guesthouses and hotels. We can also arrange for 5 star accommodation on request depending on availability. Some of the accommodation we offer has no official rating but we are satisfied that it meets a suitable standard of comfort and that the hosts deliver acceptable levels of service. We routinely inspect all accommodation offered and all accommodation must be approved by us before we book it for our clients.

In most cases rooms will have en suite facilities. On occasion two rooms may share the same facilities. That is two rooms accommodated by members of the same party.

Where possible we seek accommodation with access to leisure facilities such as a swimming pool. These may be hotel or municipal facilities.

Below is a sample list of accommodation options for this tour.

  • Stirling Highland Hotel - Stirling

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    Built in 1854 as the city’s High School, the Stirling Highland Hotel sits on the same rocky crag as Stirling's Castle. Certain rooms afford commanding views over the surrounding countryside with sight of the Gargunnock Hills, Carse of Stirling and Trossachs on one side and the Ochill Hills and Forth Valley on the other. It is a four star establishment with an AA rosette restaurant as well as swimming pool, gymnasium and spa facilities.

     
  • The Bield - Aberfoyle

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    The Bield is a large Victorian house built of sandstone in 1900. The Bed and Breakfast rooms are decorated to a high standard and there is a comfortable guest lounge to relax in. We are able to provide safe storage for bikes.

     
  • The Knowe - Callander

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    Built at the beginning of the twentieth century and enjoying many original Victorian and Edwardian features. The Knowe has been a Guest House for over 25 years providing superb Guest House accommodation to numerous travellers from all over the world.

     
  • Bridge of Lochay Hotel - Killin

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    The Bridge of Lochay Hotel is owned and run by Amanda Clark and Bob Stevenson who, along with their team of friendly staff, aim to offer the very best Scottish welcome and hospitality - our motto is 'nothing is too much trouble'. The hotel is situated on the banks of the River Lochay along our route. It's an ideal spot to rest and recuperate before continuing on your journey.

     
  • Moness House Hotel & Country Club - Aberfeldy

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    A traditional warm Scottish welcome awaits you at the Moness Resort. Set in 35 acres of picturesque countryside, in the heart of stunning Highland Perthshire, Moness provides an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area. All guests have access to our leisure facilities of a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, hot tub as well as table tennis, pool table and many others.

     
  • Craigatin House - Pitlochry

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    This beautiful early Victorian, former Doctors house, has been transformed into an award winning, luxury, boutique Bed and Breakfast, providing a unique blend of the traditional with the luxury of contemporary design. Standing peacefully in two acres of manicured gardens with private off-road parking, Craigatin can be found at the northern edge of Pitlochry town, just a 5 minute, flat walk, from the town centre where the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, good pubs and restaurants, shops and all local attractions can be found.

     

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We've got it covered

Included

  • Cycle Hire - high quality serviced hybrid, mountain bike or adventurer (see notes).

  • En route support (see notes).

  • Accommodation in selected hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts or guesthouses.

  • Specified meals (See notes).

  • Detailed route descriptions and colour coded maps.

  • Specified transportation.

  • Daily baggage transfer of one bag (suitcase / backpack) per person.

Not Included

  • Travel Insurance.

  • Travel not specified - airport transfers etc.

  • Electric Cycle Hire.


NOTES:

  1. All breakfasts are included as standard. Lunch and dinner are not included unless otherwise specified. Packed lunches are available from most accommodation providers on request. Please ask the accommodation host when on tour. Prices and offerings vary between establishments.
  2. All accommodation providers will cater for clients with special dietry requirements. You must inform us before travelling if any travellers have specific dietry needs in order for accommodation hosts to make appropriate arrangements. We cannot guarantee special dietry needs will be catered for unless we are forewarned.
  3. Most of our routes pass by several eateries so it is usually possible to pick and choose where to have lunch each day. However, on routes (days) where you will not pass an eaterie we advise that you order a packed lunch from your accommodation host. All of our accommodation hosts offer packed lunches. Charges vary from establishment to establishment.
  4. We provide you with a good quality bicycle that is regularly serviced.
  5. If you encounter a technical issue with the bike provided we will either fix it or replace it with another suitable bike. Our support staff can be summoned to your aid en route.

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The best time to go

This tour is available from March - October. The quietist times being between March and May and September and October with July and August being the two busiest months.

Spring
In late March the days grow longer and warmer and the first shoots of young life begin to appear. The fields are full of newborn lambs and wildlife everywhere is once again on the move. The mountain tops are often still capped with snow and even at low levels the last gasps of winter may still be felt with a slim chance for late snow showers. By April spring is in full flow and temperatures can soar into the late teens Celsius although a maximum of around thirteen degrees Celsius is more in line with the norm. Trees have regained all their foliage and nest building is in full swing. The chatter of busy birds can be heard everywhere.

Summer
By May and June the days are long and bright. Around the time of the summer solstice in mid June it's often possible to read by natural light until past 11pm at night. And out on the hill the red deer are fawning. By July and August days are at their warmest with average temperatures around nineteen degrees Celsius although temperatures have been known to climb into the late twenties and even as high as thirty. Most destinations are buzzing with activity during July and August as these are the traditional school summer holiday months. September in Scotland is quieter out on the trail and temperatures generally remain in the high teens. In the rivers salmon can be seen running as they strive to swim up river to their spawning grounds.

Autumn
October is one of the most atmospheric months to be out and about in the wilds of Scotland. The trees gradually turn from green to many shades of brown and orange and when they finally fall they form huge billowy piles on the ground, a couple of feet deep in places. Around the middle of the month the red deer rut gets under way and the bellowing stags can be heard for miles around.

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Call or email now to make a booking or enquire about your options

Please note our office is closed from Friday 29 June 2018 to Sunday 15 July 2018. Where possible we will respond to email enquiries.

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In Brief

  • 11 Nights

  • Easy

  • Trail Cycling

  • From £1265 Per Person

  • 102 mi / 164 km

  • From: Milingavie

  • To: Pitlochry

  • Available: March - October

  • Min. Age: 9

  • Suit Tagalong:

  • Suit Trailer: