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Highland Fling - Town and Country


7 Days Road Cycling

From £695

  • A tour of fame and fortune.

  • Quiet country lanes.

  • Windswept moors and enchanted forests

  • Expansive views every pedal of the way.

  • Fine castles and whisky galore.

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Highland Fling - Town and Country

From the heart of Scotland’s central lowland’s to Highland Perthshire this cycle tour will take you on a journey of ever changing scenery. You’ll pass through pleasant villages and towns and some very attractive countryside. You’ll ride across windswept moors and through dark enchanted forests. You’ll experience views that span an entire county and ride past some of Scotland’s most exclusive addresses. There’ll be an opportunity to visit grand gardens in castle grounds, a famous distillery and no doubt see some wildlife along the way. The cycling is mostly leisurely – with occasional challenges. The trail winds along quiet country lanes taking in destinations such as Dunblane with its famous Cathedral, although today it’s probably better known as the home of tennis star Andy Murray. Then there’s Gleneagles Hotel and its famous golf course. Crieff just along the road is home to the distillery responsible for the production of Famous Grouse Whisky. Farther north Dunkeld, or more specifically the countryside around it is said to have been an inspiration to Beatrix Potter who penned what eventually became her first book ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ here in 1893. And Pitlochry with its Festival Theatre, although not world famous, is certainly renowned amongst theatre goers who travel from across the UK to enjoy a show. 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, 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. Alternatively choose from one of many walks in the area. Stirling also has swimming pools open to the public.

  • Day 2 - Stirling to Crieff 35 mi / 56 km

    On day one of the tour proper we have the choice of two routes. One explores destinations like Dunblane and sites of historic interest while the other tracks across a windswept muir (moor) and passes a distillery. Both these choices involve some climbing in the early stages but they are similar lengths, the muir option being the more challenging of the two. The routes eventually converge along a quiet country lane and we cycle passed Glen Eagles Hotel and golf course. Next we travel through the affluent and bustling town of Auchterarder before again taking to quiet country backroads. Soon we cycle by Strathallan Castle and its neighbouring airfield where it’s possible to book a parachute jump. A short way along the road we crest a hill and are presented with fabulous views of our destination with the southern mountains rising steeply behind it. From the hilltop we blast downhill toward the River Earn before turning sharply to follow a quiet tree lined avenue into Muthill. Now might be a good time to stop for lunch. A long gradual climb extracts us from Muthill and we ride along a high ridge from where we can enjoy expansive views over the southernmost reaches of Perthshire. Cycling along more tree lined avenues soon we arrive at Drummond Castle where paying customers can take a leisurely stroll through the castle gardens. From here a swift downhill section deposits us on the final flat stretch into Crieff.

  • Day 3 - Crieff to Dunkeld 37 mi / 59 km

    Another day another choice. Of two options today one is shorter but incurs more traffic along about half its length while the other explores quieter back roads. Both offer expansive views over south Perthshire, take in castles, a distillery and share the same final stretch to Dunkeld. Our preferred option is the longer of the two, not only because it experiences less traffic but because it is generally more interesting. We start the day with a near circumnavigation of Crieff first following a quiet single-track road through a peaceful valley. A very brief section on a busy A road leads to a short but fun downhill stretch before we turn to the north and begin climbing. At this point our trails diverge and the easier option follows an occasionally undulating but mostly flat road. It too eventually turns north passing across the River Earn and through quiet country villages before continuing along quieter single-track roads. Our preferred option climbs, gradually in the main, but there’s a short sharp steep stint that leads onto a high plateau to the south of Glen Almond. We cycle through farmland and forestry passing tiny villages and country estates as we go. After shaded woodland stretches on undulating trail we find ourselves on open moorland in a remote enclave of Perthshire nestling in the foothills of the Grampian Mountains. We breeze along now through golden fields of wheat passing an isolated churchyard and entrances to grand country estates. At Bankfoot the routes link up and we trundle along easily passing lochs and more villages on the final stretch to Dunkeld.

  • Day 4 - Dunkeld to Aberfeldy 19 mi / 30 km

    This morning we start with a delightful cycle along the banks of the River Tay. Once across the bridge we join a quiet country road bordered on one side by heavily forested hillside and the river plain on the other. We cycle on through pretty hamlets and passed country and farm estates following the course of the Tay all the way Aberfeldy. We switch riverbanks a couple more times and pass through the picturesque villages of Strathtay and Grandtully. At Grandtully it may be possible to watch kayakers tackling the rapids while enjoying locally made chocolate and a cup of tea. From here Aberfeldy is short rumble along a riverside path suitable for hybrid bikes or on the Tay’s northern bank there’s a relatively quiet on-road alternative.

  • Day 5 - Aberfeldy to Pitlochry 38 mi / 61 km

    Today we start with a jaunt across the River Tay taking the bridge built by General Wade’s architect William Adam back in 1733 following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. On the opposite bank we turn west and cycle past Castle Menzies along the flats of Strathtay. Soon we find ourselves climbing up through the pass of Keltney on the eastern flanks of Schiehallion one of Scotland’s highest mountains. From the top we begin a gradual descent on quiet single-track roads towards Kinloch Rannoch on the shores of Loch Rannoch. After a brief sojourn for refreshment we continue eastwards and head for Loch Tummel. We pedal easily along the shores of Dunalastair Reservoir and then climb steeply near the head of the reservoir. The steepness eases and the climb becomes more gradual and soon we began a long coasting descent through woodlands. Before long we’re back on the flats as we trundle effortlessly into Tummel Bridge. The route now climbs out of Tummel Bridge before dropping down again to the shores of Loch Tummel. The trail undulates for a stretch before we are faced with longer steeper climbs and some fun downhill stretches amongst the trees beyond the head of the loch. We continue along flanked by wooded hillside one way and a plunging ravine the other. The River Tummel tumbles away below us as it carves its’ course through the mountains before flowing into Loch Faskally which marks our final approach to Pitlochry.

  • Day 6 - Pitlochry

    Spend the day exploring the woods around Loch Faskally, climb a hill, get a spa treatment or go to the theatre. Pitlochry offers visitors lots of options for filling their time.

  • Day 7

    The tour ends after breakfast. You can return to Stirling via train or we can arrange transfers for you. Please contact the office to discuss.

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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.

  • Dunblane

    The historic town of Dunblane lies six kilometres to the north of Stirling straddling the Allan Water just below Sheriff Muir. It’s probably best known as the home town of famous tennis player Andy Murray whose family still live here. The town’s most prominent feature is its cathedral which dates from the 11th century. The cathedral is located at the heart of the old town on the banks of the Allan Water which has cycle paths on either bank. One of our cycle routes passes right by the cathedral and crosses the river.

  • Braco

    The pleasant Perthshire village of Braco has some fairly impressive evidence of its Roman past. A quick study of an Ordnance Survey map shows that north of the village there were several sites which are recognised Roman fortifications and encampments. The most impressive of these is located just outside the village on the east side of the main A822 road. Our cycle route passes by this site on pleasant woodland tracks. We recommend taking a few moments to stroll around the remains.

  • Blackford

    Lying north of the Ochils and just south and west of Gleneagles and situated right beside the main A9 road is Blackford. People have been residing in this locale since the bronze age but the village did not begin to coalesce until the 19th century once the woolen mill was built in 1802. However, due to an abundance of water in the area, a brewery - one of the earliest in Scotland - had been established as far back as the 15th century. According to official documents, on returning from his coronation in Scone, King James IV, the last British Monarch to die in battle and great-grandfather of James VI and I, purchased a barrel of ale from Blackford’s brewery. The village still profits today from the area’s bountiful streams. Aside from Tullibardine Distillery where malt whisky’s produced on the site of an old brewery, Highland Spring ships its bottled spring water all over the world.

  • Auchterarder and Gleneagles

    Our cycle route shoots through the outskirts of Auchterarder but we’ve given it a mention here as a place to stop for coffee or lunch. It’s a bustling wee Perthshire town with a reputation for glitz and glamour. The town is relatively affluent but the reputation is probably more as a result of its proximity to Gleneagles Hotel which is situated on the edge of town. Gleneagles is famous of course for hosting the open golf tournament and international summits. The hotel is situated in what is now Gleneagles Village, largely comprising relatively modern and luxurious homes either privately or hotel owned. The original hotel dates from 1924 when it was completed by the Caledonian Railway Company. During the second world war the hotel became a military hospital and then a miners’ rehabilitation centre before being reinstated in 1947. Since then many millions have been spent maintaining it as a world class luxury establishment.

  • Muthill

    Muthill is a quaint Perthshire village located 3 miles south of Crieff. It has an ancient past with relics found locally possibly dating from around AD 50 when much of Britain was under Roman control. The current village largely dates from the late 18th century when it was rebuilt having mostly been destroyed by a retreating Jacobite army in 1716 AD following the Battle of Sherifmuir. However, near the village centre there is a ruined church dating from the early 1400’s which in turn has been built around a tower reputed to have been erected in the late 12th century. A visit to the village museum will shed more light on this pleasant places’ interesting and sometimes violent past.

  • Crieff

    Crieff is one of Scotland’s historic spa towns and like near neighbour Comrie sits at the confluence of productive rivers while straddling the Highland Boundary Fault. I say productive rivers because one is currently utilised for whisky production and the other used to power local mills. An affluent market town Crieff first grew rich as a cattle trading centre during the fourteen hundreds and later became a prominent player in the weaving industry. Nowadays it’s a popular tourist destination offering visitors a huge choice of things to do. Set amidst some very attractive countryside Crieff sits on the boundary between the Lowlands and Highlands. These two contrasting landscapes greatly complement each other while offering outdoor adventurers everything from delightful riverside walks to full on mountaineering. There are two golf courses, a high ropes course, a distillery, quiet back roads ideal for road cycling and some excellent single-track for mountain bikers. Macrosty Park is great for young kids and there’s also a good adventure play area at Crieff Hydro.

  • Huntingtower

    Huntingtower Castle, previously known as Ruthven Castle has a rather checkered past. Having first been built by Clan Ruthven in the 15th century it was seized by the crown estate twice, first in the late 16th century and again at the turn of the century. Lord Ruthven also titled the1st Earl of Gowrie was involved in a religiously motivated plot against a young King James VI. The incident known as the ‘Raid of Ruthven’ involved the kidnapping of the teenage king who was held prisoner at Ruthven Castle and later Stirling Castle before he escaped 10 months later on a trip to St Andrews. The king initially pardoned Ruthven but in 1584, possibly following another attempted abduction, Ruthven was tried and executed for high treason. The crown seized Ruthven’s estates and forfeited the family’s peerages. The story did not end there though as two years later - in 1586 - the land and titles were restored to the Ruthven family. Only to be stripped away again in 1600 after Ruthven’s sons, John, the 3rd Earl of Gowrie and his brother Alexander were involved in another plot against the king. Both brothers died in what may have been a bungled attempt to kill or kidnap the king while he was attending Ruthven Castle. This time the sequestered castle was renamed Huntingtower and the Ruthven name and peerages abolished. Since these bloody times the castle has passed through the hands of several owners and caretakers and today is in the care of Historic Scotland - visitors welcome. Reaching the castle involves a short detour from our cycle route which passes through the village of Huntingtower to the east.

  • Bankfoot

    Bankfoot is a bustling wee village situated in the heart of rural Perthshire. It sits to the west of the main A9 road on the old A9 now reclassified as the B867 road. People have lived in this area at least since the Bronze Age or perhaps even as far back as Neolithic times. Evidence of their existence can be found in the numerous standing stones in the area. Today the village largely comprises late 20th century homes although the Main Street is predominantly Victorian. And according to one chronicler Queen Victoria herself is said to have changed horses at a local inn in September 1942, possibly while en route from Balmoral. Two of our route options converge at Bankfoot and the National Cycle Network Route 77 passes through the village. There’s a shop and two inns in the village catering to travelers needs although I believe in Queen Victoria’s day the village supported three inns.

  • Dunkeld

    Dunkeld and Birnham are set in one of the most attractive parts of Highland Perthshire. It’s an area known for its’ fabulous woodlands and mountain scenery and has been a popular destination since the arrival of the railway in 1856. Birnham Wood even makes an appearance in Shakespeare’s Macbeth although the village itself wasn’t established until the railway was built. Birnham on the south bank of the River Tay is joined to Dunkeld via a bridge built in 1809 by the famous engineer and architect Thomas Telford. The area is steeped in a history stretching back to the Iron Age. It is believed that Causantin (Constantine), King of the Picts formed a church or monastery at Dunkeld around 820 AD. And just over a century later Kenneth MacAlpin, mythologised as the first king of Scotland, moved the bones of Saint Columba from Iona to Dunkeld to protect them from raiding Vikings. Later, around the 12th Century work started on the Cathedral which stands to this day. And although partly ruined still performs a role as the parish church. The area has also featured in several battles over the centuries and following the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689, the village was burnt to the ground. Happily restored Dunkeld’s and the surrounding areas’ allure continue to draw visitors. The family of a young Beatrix Potter, famous writer of children’s stories, were regular visitors to the area in the second half of the 19th century. It is said she gained inspiration for The Tale of Peter Rabbit while holidaying at nearby Dalguise. For anyone visiting Birnham and Dunkeld there is simply loads to do. From visiting historic sites and the Beatrix Potter Exhibition which is great for young kids to delightful woodland and riverside walks or some wonderful cycle trails the options are plentiful. There’s also canyoning, rafting, golf, fishing and the Erigmore Estate’s swimming pool in Birnham is open to the public.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kinloch Rannoch

    Kinloch Rannoch is a quiet Highland village straddling the River Tummel at the eastern end of Loch Rannoch. It’s most spectacular view is that of Schiehallion, a fine mountain to the south. The scene down the loch is one of tranquillity and one that might be sought by those seeking peace and solitude. Although small Kinloch Rannoch is the largest settlement in the whole valley and can boast two hotels and a shop complete with post office.

  • Tummel Bridge

    Located a short distance from the western end of Loch Tummel, Tummel Bridge is a tiny settlement straddling the river from which it takes its’ name. In summer the handful of local residents are vastly outnumbered by tourists who pile into the Tummel Valley Holiday Park with the aim of taking advantage of the areas’ natural beauty. The holiday park brings benefits to non-residents too in the form of a shop and restaurant and sports facilities including an indoor swimming pool and all-weather sports courts. Loch Tummel has become a favourite of many including some royals. A location known as Queens View, sited along the loch’s north shore, is said by some to be named so as it was a favoured spot of Queen Victoria who visited in 1866. Others claim the name has older origins, dating back to the late 13th century and Isabella of Mar, first wife of Robert the Bruce. Although technically Isabella was never queen – she died about ten years before Bruce was crowned King. However the name was acquired, it certainly is a view fit for Queens. And one that all can enjoy on any of our cycle trips to the area. Pitlochry is a short bike ride away. Despite its diminutive size Tummel Bridge is a real powerhouse boasting not one but two hydro-electric power stations. They’ve been producing good clean green energy here since the 1930’s - hurrah!

  • 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.

     
  • 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 to 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

  • 6 Nights

  • Moderate

  • Road Cycling

  • From £695 Per Person

  • 129 mi / 208 km

  • From: Stirling

  • To: Pitlochry

  • Available: March to October

  • Min. Age: 14

  • Suit Tagalong:

  • Suit Trailer: