|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||10 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||May 11, 16; Jul 4; Aug 22, 2015|
|Start city:||Inverness, Scotland|
|End city:||Inverness, Scotland|
If you're looking for a mountain bike tour that's a little bit special and combines the most beautiful and unspoilt landscapes of the Scottish Highlands with excellent local food, drink and hospitality, our new 'Tastes and Trails of Scotland' mountain bike tour is for you.
This Highland mountain bike tour takes in the majesty of the Cairngorms National Park; the pure, white sands of Arisaig; the breath-taking wilderness of the Isle of Skye; and the mystery of Loch Ness.
During your week-long tour you'll experience some of the more remote, and off-the-beaten-track corners of the west coast - not just by bike - but by steam train, boat, car and on foot, ensuring that you soak up as much of the culture and natural beauty of Scotland as possible.
Read a blog post from our operator partner, H&I Adventures: 6 things you never knew about Scotland >
Learn more about guided tours.
Scotland named 2014 "Best Bike Destination" by Outside Magazine.
Day 1: Arrival to Inverness and bike preparation
On the first day of your mountain biking vacation in Scotland you’ll be welcomed by our guide at Inverness airport (or train station) at around noon, and then transferred to the eastern Cairngorms, and the new mountain bike trail centre at Glenlivet, to tune bikes and have a quick ride on the nice flowing trails there.
We will stay in a lovely B&B in Aviemore, the adventure capital of the Highlands, where we’ll enjoy a delicious meal made from locally-sourced produce in one of the pubs. If we’re lucky, there may even be a local band playing!
Overnight in Inverness.
Day 2: Ancient forests of the Cairngorms National Park
Today we’ll explore the delights of the Cairngorms National Park, the UK’s largest and most bio-diverse national park. We’ll cycle from our accommodation in Aviemore, into the Rothiemurchus estate and one of the last remaining ancient Caledonian pine forests. We’ll enjoy superb double and single track trails around secluded lochs and through open glens: very typical Highland scenery.
We’ll return to Aviemore for a late lunch and maybe even some home-made cakes in the Mountain Café, before heading south to Dalwhinnie distillery for a tour and tasting session – the perfect end to your fantastic day in the heart of the Highlands!
Overnight in Aviemore.
Day 3: Fort William and Glen Nevis
We’ll continue south this morning, after a hearty breakfast, to Fort William and the Outdoor Capital of the UK. We’ll go for a lovely walk along Glen Nevis, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain.
In the afternoon we’ll saddle up for a short mountain bike ride along part of the West Highland Way, before heading back to our bed and breakfast and freshening up for our beautiful seafood dinner.
Overnight in Glen Nevis.
Day 4: The magic of the Jacobit Express steam train
Today we’ll catch the Jacobite Express steam train from Fort William to Mallaig and sit back and enjoy one of the best train journeys in the world. The Jacobite Express is more famously known as the ‘Hogwarts Express’ from the Harry Potter films and you’ll experience first-hand the magic of this journey, including the celebrated Glenfinnan viaduct.
We’ll have lunch in Mallaig then take a boat trip round the coast to spot some of the local marine life and sea birds that make this spectacular part of Scotland their home.
We’ll finish the day in the tiny coastal village of Arisaig where we can take a walk along the sandy shores and do a little beach combing before another delicious home-cooked meal.
Overnight in Arisaig.
Day 5: Over the sea to Skye
This morning we’ll take the ferry and make the 30-minute journey from the mainland over to the Isle of Skye. You can explore some of the local craft shops and buy some gifts for home, then we’ll go on a short nature walk next to the harbour to an otter hide and see if we can spot any of these elusive animals.
After working up a bit of an appetite we’ll head to Kinloch Lodge and our tremendous Michelin-starred lunch. This is not something to rush and by the time we finish lunch it will be mid-afternoon and we will drive to the north of the island, to Portree and our accommodation for the night.
On the way, we can stop for a walk at the Old Man of Storr, one of the many geological wonders in this area.
Overnight in Portree.
Day 6: Fairy pools and fishing villages
This morning we’ll stock up on a hearty breakfast then make our way south for a bike ride out to the ethereal Fairy Pools. This is a glorious spot and you’ll get some amazing photographs.
We’ll then leave Skye behind and head for the stunning fishing village of Plockton, back on the mainland. Here you can walk around the village, visiting the local gallery and shops. We’ll enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants, famous for its fresh seafood and locally-produced meats and cheeses.
Overnight in Plockton.
Day 7: Plockton - Fort Augustus (6 miles/10 km)
We’ll start today in Plockton on a seal-spotting boat trip around the sheltered coastline. The local seals certainly aren’t camera-shy and you should get some good shots!
Back on land we’ll start making our way back to Inverness, stopping at Eilean Donan Castle along the way, the most iconic and photographed castle in Scotland. After a tour of the castle we’ll head to Loch Ness to conclude our wildlife and history theme of the day with a little Nessie-spotting!
Our final celebratory meal will be in a fantastic river-side restaurant in Inverness, where we can enjoy our last supper and raise a glass to an unforgettable week of adventure in the Highlands of Scotland!
Overnight in Inverness.
Day 8: Departure
We will spend the morning packing the bikes, organising your luggage and transport you back to Inverness train station or airport to say our farewells at the end of an incredible mountain biking vacation in Scotland.
These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability.
The Rumblie, Laggan
Myrtle Bank Guest House, Fort William
The Old Library Lodge, Arisaig
The Torridon Inn, Wester Ross
The Lovat, Fort Augustus
Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.
Bikes available to be rented (reserved in advance at time of booking):
Equipment provided free with rentals:
Available upon request for no cost are cycling bags and a bottle cage.
All bikes are of superior quality and come with hydraulic disk brakes, Fox or Rockshox suspension, Maxxis tyres and high end finishing kit.
The bikes will have FLAT pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.
If you plan to bring your own seat, please ensure that it has a universal seat post.
Helmet rental is not available on this tour. We recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.
The terrain on this tour is moderately hilly. Approximately 80% of the tour is on dirt trails, 15% on dirt or gravel roads and 5% on quiet roads. The maximum daily elevation gain for this tour is 1,312 feet (400 m).
Tour start and end
Nearest airport: Inverness, Scotland
Nearest train station: Inverness, Scotland
The tour begins at Inverness railway station, and in the exceptional cases where we meet elsewhere you will be contacted with details of the meeting point.
A transfer from Glasgow or Edinburgh airport is available at a cost of 175 pounds per transfer, which can be split between up to 8 passengers.
Inverness by rail:
Inverness by coach:
Coach services run from London and other UK cities to Inverness. Regular coaches run from Glasgow (three hours), Edinburgh (three hours) and Aberdeen (two hours) to Inverness. For up-to-date coach timetables and booking information visit: www.gobycoach.com or www.citylink.co.uk.
Inverness by air:
Inverness is becoming increasingly well-served by major and budget airlines from all over the UK and Ireland. For up-to-date timetables and booking information visit: www.ba.com, www.easyjet.com, www.ryanair.com, www.easternairways.com or www.hial.co.uk.
If your group requires transfer from another Scottish airport, please ask.
Tips on getting to and from your tour
Weatherspark.com offers information on average weather conditions at most destinations throughout the globe. Type a destination in the search box, and select "Averages," and you'll find a range of information such as average high and low temperatures, precipitation, cloudy days, humidity and wind speed/direction.
Of course, if your tour is coming up in the next week, you can also select "Forecast" to get the most current information on upcoming conditions.
Scotland's rich history and culture are evidenced in its large cities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow. But it’s the rolling green hills and dramatic moors of the Scottish countryside that mark this as a top destination for international travelers.
The "lochs" (lakes) are popular sites, particularly the famous Loch Ness and its alleged sea monster. The romance and drama of the barren moors covered in thick fog is an unforgettable sight. The coastal areas of Scotland feature craggy cliffs and many world-class golf courses. The tiny islands dotting the coast are home to quaint fishing villages and fantastic seafood.
Read more about this tour here: Tastes and Trails of Scotland: the highlights
H&I Adventures specializes in exceptional guided mountain bike adventures in some of the most spectacular locations in the world.
We personally research and test all of our tours before taking any bookings. We're committed to responsible tourism and use local guides/ drivers/ fixers in all our destinations, and contribute to local conservation efforts.
Our guides are among the best in the industry and give our customers a truly memorable experience. We offer skilled advice on all of our tours - no matter what level - to ensure our customers get the most out of their trip with us.
Please take the time to read and understand the conditions of booking set out below prior to booking your mountain bike tour with H&I Adventures Ltd. We strongly recommend that you also read all the details set out in the web page relating to your trip prior to booking to ensure that you understand the itinerary and style of the trip you are undertaking.
The terms and conditions set forth in this agreement constitute the entire understanding and agreement between you the trip ‘Participant’ and H&I Adventures Ltd (H&I Adventures) with respect to any and all bookings, tours and transactions made with H&I Adventures.
By submitting a booking form online, you accept all of the terms in this agreement and direct us to perform services on your behalf. All persons named in this booking (‘Participants’) are subject to this agreement. By submitting your booking form online you affirm that you have made all other Participants listed in the booking aware of these terms – regardless of how final payment is made – and that all Participants accept these terms.
Cancellation by you
A cancellation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation of the cancellation. We do not offer any refund on monies paid for a cancellation made by you, therefore we strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance at the time of booking which will cover cancellation fees.
If you leave, or have to be removed from a trip for any reason after it has commenced we are not obliged to make any refunds for unused services. There are no exceptions to this cancellation policy, including for reasons related to weather, terrorism, civil strife, family or medical emergencies, or any other circumstances beyond our control.
Cancellation by H&I Adventures
We may cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events it is not viable for us to operate the planned itinerary. If we cancel your trip, you can transfer amounts paid to an alternative departure date or alternatively receive a full refund. In circumstances where cancellation is due to external events outside our reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable expenses and non-refundable deposit paid. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking including, but not limited to, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance excess, or non- refundable flights, train or bus tickets.
If you wish to transfer from one trip to another you must notify us at least 60 days prior to the proposed departure date. A fee of GBP £50 per person per change will apply. If you notify us less than 60 days prior to the proposed departure date the refund policy applicable to cancellations will apply. No amendments are permitted to your booking within 10 days of departure.
Acceptance of risk and responsibilities as a tour Participant
You acknowledge that the nature of a mountain bike trip is adventurous and participation involves a degree of personal risk. You will be visiting places where the political, cultural and geographical attributes present dangers and physical challenges greater than those present in our daily lives. We use information from government foreign departments and reports from our own contacts in assessing whether the itinerary should operate. However it is also your own responsibility to acquaint yourself with all possible relevant travel information and the nature of your itinerary. You
acknowledge that your decision to travel is made in light of consideration of this information and you accept that you assume the personal risks attendant upon such travel.
You also acknowledge and clearly understand that during the course of the trip certain risks and dangers may occur, including but not limited to the hazards of travelling in mountainous regions. You agree to assume all risks associated with the journey and agree that no liability will attach to H&I Adventures or to any member of the tour group in respect of death, personal injury, illness or delay of the passenger, or for any loss of or damage to the property of the passenger during the course of the trip, howsoever caused. H&I Adventures reserves the right to decline, to accept, or to retain any person as a member of any party at any time.
I agree to indemnify (meaning to defend and to pay or reimburse) H&I Adventures against any claim by anyone arising in whole or in part from an injury or other loss suffered or caused by me in connection with my participation in an H&I Adventures tour.
Limitation of liability
H&I Adventures acts only as an intermediary for certain independent suppliers that provide lodging, meals, transportation, and other activities or goods and services connected with your tour (‘Supplier’ or ‘Suppliers’). You acknowledge that you are aware and clearly understand that these Suppliers are independent contractors, are not managed by H&I Adventures, and are not agents or employees of H&I Adventures. A Supplier’s services are subject to the Supplier’s own terms and conditions and the local laws and regulations of the relevant country. H&I Adventures will not provide any refund for a Supplier’s delay, cancellation, overbooking, or strike.
H&I Adventures shall not be held responsible for any damages caused by the total or partial failure to carry out the contract if such failure is due to the theft of bicycles or injury as a result of cycling either on- or off-road, and in particular, injuries as a result of either inadequately maintained and services personal equipment, or failure to wear the correct safety equipment, most notably cycle helmets.
H&I Adventures will not be deemed in breach of this agreement or otherwise liable to you, by reason of delay in performance or non-performance of any of its obligations under this agreement to the extent that any such delay or non-performance is due to any Force Majeure. ‘Force Majeure’ means any circumstances beyond the reasonable control of H&I Adventures, including without limitation acts of God, terrorist activities, insurrection, explosion, flood, tempest, forceful wind, fire or accident, war or threat of war declared or undeclared, sabotage, civil, disturbance, labour strikes, requisition, sickness, quarantine, government intervention, weather conditions, and unforeseen circumstances.
If H&I Adventures and/or any of its Suppliers are affected by Force Majeure, they shall be entitled to, and may in their sole discretion, vary of cancel any itinerary or arrangement in relation to the tour. Regarding civil unrest, once H&I Adventures has investigated the prevailing situation, as it deems fit, it shall remain in H&I Adventures’ sole and absolute discretion whether to proceed with the tour.
Minimum: General Policy: For the majority of our trips the minimum age is 18 years. In exceptional circumstance we may allow children between 12 and 18 years-old, accompanied by a responsible adult, to join one of our tours. This decision will be at the discretion of H&I Adventures.
Maximum: General Policy: For the majority of our trips we have no upper age limit though we remind you that our trips can be physically demanding and a Self-Assessment form is required for all clients 65 years and over.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all H&I Adventures travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it.
It is important that you read carefully all trip-related documents that you receive from us as soon as you receive them. It is your responsibility to contact us if any information is incorrect. We cannot accept liability if you do not notify us of any inaccuracies within seven days of your receipt of those documents. This agreement, a waiver of liability and assumption of risk agreement and, if required, a medical statement must be submitted by you. If you fail to submit this and other necessary documentation prior to departure, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you and impose the cancellation fees described in this agreement.
Passport and visas
You are responsible for ensuring that all necessary travel documents are valid and effective and in your possession for the entire tour. Passports are required for travelling abroad and should be valid for at least six months after your date of return. We suggest that you apply for or renew a passport early. Other required documents may include visas, permits, and vaccination certificates. You assume complete responsibility for checking and verifying any and all passport, visa, vaccination, or other entry requirements. You are also solely responsible for any adverse consequences resulting from incomplete or defective documentation. While we may provide information or advice on matters such as visas, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage, and special equipment in good faith as a courtesy to you, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions as to the information provided.
You appreciate and acknowledge that the nature of this type of travel requires considerable flexibility and you should allow for alternatives. The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but it is understood that the route, schedules, itineraries,
amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local circumstances or events.
Change of itinerary
While we endeavour to operate all trips as described we reserve the right to change the trip itinerary. Please refer to our website before departure for the most recent updates to your itinerary.
After departure: We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure as a result of weather, local circumstances or events outside of our control. In such emergency circumstances the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you: please refer to the Trip Notes for your trip for details of Emergency Funds which you agree to carry, to be used in such instances.
Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itinerary such as visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights.
Authority on tour
Our group trips are run by an H&I Adventures guide. The decision of the guide is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any person participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a guide, or interfere with the well-being of the group, the guide may order you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. In such a circumstance, where a traveller is removed from the trip, H&I Adventure accepts no responsibility for their transfer back to the tour end point or any costs incurred therein. Any transport arranged for the traveller in question will be at the sole discretion of H&I Adventures.
We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our responsible travel guidelines.
Errors and omissions
Although we have made a concerted attempt to verify the accuracy of statements made in our trip documentation including brochure, website and trip brochure we cannot be held responsible for any error, omission or unintentional misrepresentation that may occur.
If you have a complaint during your tour, you must promptly notify H&I Adventures or your tour leader of the problem so that they can attempt to remedy the situation. Failure to do so while you are on tour will extinguish or reduce your ability to claim compensation from H&I Adventures. Further, if you attempt to address the problem on your own without using this notice procedure, you assume responsibility of added costs you may incur and forfeit any potential refunds.
If you are not satisfied after using this notice procedure, you must submit your complaint in writing to H&I Adventures within 14 days of the tour’s end date. H&I Adventures will not accept liability for claims received after this period.
Tour start date
It is your responsibility to be ready to embark on the tour as specified in the itinerary. H&I Adventures is not responsible for any losses due to cancelled or missed flights, changed flight itineraries, late arrivals, or early departures. Our responsibilities do not commence until the appointed time at the designated meeting point.
In the event that any term or condition contained in these Booking Conditions is unenforceable or void by operation of law or as being against public policy or for any other reason than such term or condition shall be deemed to be severed from this contract or amended accordingly only to such extent necessary to allow all remaining terms and conditions to survive and continue as binding.
You agree that H&I Adventures may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos, or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other Participants of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicising our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other Participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.
Updating of terms and conditions
H&I Adventures reserves the right to update and/or alter these terms and conditions at any time. It is your responsibility to be familiar with these terms and conditions. The latest terms and conditions can be found on the H&I Adventures website www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/booking.
The laws of Scotland govern these Booking Conditions to the fullest extent allowable. Any disputes in connection with a trip or these Booking Conditions must be initiated in the courts of Scotland.