Scotland mtb holiday - PLACE NOW TAKEN

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Scotland mtb holiday - PLACE NOW TAKEN

Post by Pen&Paul » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:36 pm


A spare place has unexpectedly become available on the following mtb holiday in Scotland (including Torridon and a day on SKYE): ... il-safari/. Or just read the details below....

It's a small group holiday, just myself and Sue and Sheelagh and Paul Rogers and Keith Mack are booked on plus a comedy Scottish couple who we rode across Wales with last year, so no jerks in the group! There's just one (male) place available and a possibility that you may get on the trip for half circa £500 (payable pronto).

Dates 19th to 26th May. We are being picked up at Warrington by the tour company, so you only have to get yourself to there, not all the way to Scotland! They will drop us back there at the end of the week. Secure car parking has been arranged.

Let me know ASAP if you are interested, by email please: pjharrisonmscltd(at)

Pen x

More details here:

Ultimate Scotland Wild Trail Safari 2019


Big mountains, awesome trails and stunning scenery make the mountain biking in the Scottish Highlands among the best in the world. This a real trip of a lifetime: we sample a little of everything on offer as we journey east to west across the Highlands, riding different trails every day.

The scenery is amazingly diverse: from the Caledonian pines of Rothiemurchus to the slabby, bare slopes of Torridon. The riding is equally as varied. During the week we’ll enjoy a little of everything - from remote 4x4 tracks, miles from the nearest road, to long, rocky mountain paths and sinuous peaty singletrack that sneaks through heather-covered glens.

What to expect

Getting ready for a week-long trip anywhere is complicated. Getting ready for 6 days of mountain biking in fairly full-on, remote locations is a pretty major task. With 8 guests, all with different levels of fitness and experience, there’s plenty of room for misunderstanding.

These notes will help you find out what to expect during the trip and what to bring. If there’s anything else you need to know, or want to check, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Sample itinerary

Please note that this is totally dependent upon the weather, the group and the trail conditions and could alter considerably.

Day 1

Meet at the Holiday Inn, Woolston Grange Ave, Warrington WA1 4PX at 10.00am – this is just off the M6 at Junction 21 (We’ll arrange airport collections for those flying separately). We’ll then load the bike trailer, hop on the minibus and settle down for the long trek north – hopefully leaving by 10.15am.

First night in Aviemore. Dinner and trip briefing in the Winking Owl pub, Aviemore.

Day 2

Rothiemurchus/Lairig Ghru

Distance: Various options

Ascent: Various options

We’ll have an easyish ride on day 1, riding from the door of our accommodation into the lovely Rothiemurchus Forest. We’ll enjoy some great, reasonably straighforward singletrack as well as some incredible scenery. We’ll round off the morning with the bottom section of the Lairig Ghru, one of the best short trails we’ve ever ridden, and then meet the minibus for a late-ish lunch.

Second night in Aviemore. Dinner in the Cairngorm Hotel

Day 3

Glen Tilt

Distance: 50km

Ascent: 1,000m

The classic Glen Tilt circuit is about 55km with 1,000m of ascent, we can cut a lot of it out by using the minibus to take the pain out of the first climb. It sounds huge, but it’s actually nothing like as tough as it sounds. The big attraction of this route is the scenery and the remoteness of it all. A lot, but not all, of the miles are on good 4x4 tracks that literally fly by, and after an afternoon swim under the Falls of Tarf (anyone brave enough?), the last 20km are predominantly on a slightly downhill 4x4 track.

Third night in Aviemore. Dinner in La Taverna Italian restaurant, Aviemore.

Day 4

Glen Affric

Distance: 29km

Ascent: 500m

This is another big day among breath-taking scenery. It starts on an undulating, rough but mainly rideable track that leads up Glen Affric to a remote hostel. From there, it can be slow going as we climb on a mixture of surfaces to a high col. It’s exhausting and frustrating in places but it leads to some of the best technical singletrack we’ve ever ridden, and this drops us down to the west coast where the bus will be waiting.

Fourth night in the Torridon Hostel. Dinner in the wonderful Torridon Inn.

Day 5


Distance: 17km

Ascent: 300m

After 2 big days this is a shorter day that sees us cross the Applecross Peninsula on some sumptuous singletrack that delivers us to a great pub or tea shop. It would be rude not to grab lunch here.

Fifth night in the Torridon Youth Hostel. Dinner in the amazing loch-side Gille Brighde restaurant in Diabaig.

Day 6


Distance options from 25km to 46km

Ascent: 600m to 1,200m

There are a few options for this day depending upon weather and how everyone’s feeling. The biggest of the classic loops is around 46km with 1,200m of ascent and is a real monster – probably best done in good weather only. Opt-outs are available if anyone’s really feeling it (this is a holiday after all!). Whatever happens, we’ll have an epic day in one of our favourite places to ride.

Sixth night in the Torridon Youth Hostel. Dinner in the Shieldag Coastal Kitchen

Day 7

Sligachan, Skye

Distance: 18km

Ascent: 270m

We’ll have a lot of travelling today as we head first to Skye to ride, then south for our final night in Ballachulish. The Sligachan Glen trail is awesome – we follow sandy and rocky singletrack the length of the glen, passing beneath the jagged peaks of the Cuillin Ridge (of Danny Macaskill fame). The trail visits a stunning remote beach, where toe-dipping (or more) is optional.

Seventh night in the Ballachulish Hotel

Day 8

Return to England

Included in the original trip price:

• All accommodation: 7 nights of B&B or private hostel rooms

• Cooked breakfasts and packed lunches (evening meals are at your own expense)

• All travel in Scotland: 16-seat minibus with a professional driver and bike trailer

• All guiding

Not included in the original trip price

· Getting to and from the meeting place

· Travel insurance and personal equipment

· Evening meals

· Incidental expenditure such as alcohol, bike spares and laundry

A typical day

It’s quite likely that no 2 days on this trip will be the same. But we can try…

We’ll have breakfast together at a time agreed the previous evening, and then load the bikes onto the trailer and hop on the bus. Most days, it would be good if we were ready to ride at this stage so there’s no major faffing when we’re dropped off (where parking might be awkward for a bus and trailer). But this won’t always be possible so we can discuss it in the briefing or on the day.

Remember to bring a small post-ride bag to leave in the bus with dry clothes and shoes to put on after the ride.

On days when we’re moving to different accommodation, we’ll obviously have to pack all our overnight stuff too.

In the evenings, it will be ideal if we can meet for a pre-dinner drink and have a chat about the plans for the next day. Armed with the latest weather forecast and a few maps we’ll come up with something that will suit everybody.

Riding skills and fitness

Many people ask us about the riding and their skills and fitness. It’s a hard one to answer as difficulty is so subjective and we can have up to 10 different riders, all with different fitness levels and technical abilities.

Riding skills
Firstly, the riding isn’t as tough as it sounds. We’ve chosen routes that give a real Scottish flavour but still make for an enjoyable holiday.

There will however, be some big ups (including a fair bit of pushing for sure), some long days (possibly 6-8 hours or more) and some technical downs (some of which probably everybody will walk a few metres). As long as you can keep smiling when you’re tired and pushing your bike then you’ll be fine.

In terms of riding ability, this trip won’t suit anyone who isn’t happy riding red grade trails in typical UK trail centres (please ask us if you would like more detail).

It’s much more about stamina than speed or strength. There are some long days and we won’t be racing anywhere. On the bigger days, we’ll ride at a relaxed pace that can be kept up all day. We’ll also take more care than we would at a trail centre as a bad fall in a remote place is not good news.

The best training for this kind of trip is actually just getting out riding – preferably longer distances at a steady pace. 30km at a steady pace will be more useful than 15km at racing speed, so if your local trails are short, slow it down and do 2 laps! Check out this blog by Matt Mooney of MTB Fitness regarding preparing for this kind of holiday ... b-holiday/

I’m sure everybody will have their own strengths and weaknesses and everybody will have good days and off days. If we pull together as much as possible, a strong team will achieve way more than a bunch of fit individuals.

There is always the option to sit out a day at any point if your legs need to recover.

Bike cleaning and maintenance

We’ll have secure storage for bikes overnight and a hose, brushes and a full cleaning kit, supplied by Fenwick’s Bike Products, so you can clean your bike after riding

We’ll also have a bike stand and some tools for fettling and repairs. Please bring any tools that are specific for your bike.

See the kit list below.


Yup, we’re guiding so you don’t need them. But if you like following routes on your own maps, it’s best to discuss that with us in Scotland in case plans change and you bring the wrong ones! If you just want printouts or GPX tracks of where we’ve been when we get home, let us know and we can sort it.


It is possible to do laundry in the Torridon Hostel.

Riding ethics

There’s no getting around it, a group of mountain bikers on a trail will be pretty conspicuous, and we’ll have some impact on both the landscape and other trail users.

As a company, we’re 100% committed to minimising our impact in every way we can. We operate a strict ‘pack it out’ policy for all litter (including apple cores, banana skins and orange peel). We want to try to leave as little trace of our passing as possible.

While we’ll enjoy some epic descents and trails during the week, please ride at a speed you can control and at a speed that reflects your line of sight and abilities.

We’ll almost certainly meet walkers in places and I’d love any interaction to be as positive as possible. Let’s give mountain bikers ‘a good name’!

For more information check out Do the Ride Thing and also the websites listed at the end of these notes.


In the Scottish Highlands we could experience everything from hot sunny days, wet and windy days to full on winter blizzards. I’ve made many trips to Scotland at this time of year and I’ve generally had good, clear weather so we could hope for more of the same. When packing, please bring winter and summer clothing so we can make more informed decisions about what to wear and carry on the day or the night before. Midges could possibly be an issue at this time year so please bring a good repellent - we recommend Smidge


We don’t need medical insurance in Scotland, but I strongly recommend travel insurance just to cover you should you get injured or fall ill before the trip or during it.

Useful websites

Kit list

The weather can be very varied in Scotland so we need to be prepared. We’ll have a briefing every evening to give you an up to date weather forecast and plan the next day. We can share some of the kit to keep packs as light as possible, although on very remote days we need to cover all eventualities.


Midge spray


Midge net (optional but useful)



Small hand luggage bag for spare clothes/shoes for after the day’s riding

Riding kit

Some items can be shared between the group. Please let us know asap if there’s anything you haven’t got that you may need.

· Hydration pack big enough to carry everything in the list below – suggested size 15L to 20L

· Water and snacks – gels, energy bars, jelly babies etc

· Lunch (this will be provided but you’ll need to carry it)

· Dry bag to keep everything dry inside your pack

· Mini pump for your valve type

· Inner tube (even if you use tubeless)

· Tube patches (preferably self-adhesive)

· Tubeless repair kit (if you use tubeless)

· Tyre levers

· Multi-tool

· 1 set of spare brake pads

· Rear gear hanger for your bike (essential – a broken hanger can bring a premature end to everybody’s day)

· Cable ties

· Duct tape (we suggest wrapping 1m around your pump)

· Power link for your chain type and speed

· Mobile phone - in a waterproof case or plastic bag

· Small personal first aid kit

· Any medication you need

Recommended clothing

· Helmet

· Knee and elbow pads (recommended)

· Cycling shorts and/or waterproof shorts (or trousers)

· Wicking base layer or cycling jersey

· Mid layer (fleece or soft shell)

· Windproof and/or waterproof jacket (depending on the weather forecast)

· Insulated jacket or warm emergency layer

· Woolly hat or buff

· Riding glasses

· Gloves (worth having a spare pair if it’s wet)

· Waterproof socks

· Cycling shoes (you must be able to walk in them!)


Your bike needs to be ready for the rigours of the mountains – steep and rocky climbs and descents. A lightweight x-country bike probably won’t be strong enough for the descents and a downhill rig will be too heavy for the climbs. Just about everything in between will do the job.

Tyres are important. Lightweight racing tyres are easily torn. We recommend good trail or all-mountain tyres such as Maxxis High Rollers and we generally have less problems with tyres that are set up to run tubeless.

Please make sure your bike is ready for 2 days of hard riding. Anything that looks slightly suspect will almost certainly break. Please talk to us if you have any concerns about anything.

There are good bike shops in Aviemore and the surrounding area but after that, we’ll need to be self-sufficient.
Last edited by Pen&Paul on Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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