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02/05/2018

Discover some of Scotland's most stunning cycle routes with CalMac

Hebrideanway

Mull Circular

Distance - 85 miles, climbing - 5400 feet

Start and finish - Craignure Ferry Terminal, Isle of Mull

Mull is the perfect self-contained island location for a cycling holiday in Scotland, with numerous options for all abilities. Our route is a clockwise loop starting and ending in Craignure, where the ferry arrives from Oban. Hugging the Atlantic coast for much of it, this circuit conveniently has several short cuts options. After a flat start the road heads inland, climbing up and through Glen More. It then pierces its way through Mull's awesome mountainous terrain and the road then loops round the mighty Ben More. At 967 metres, it's a mountains and ocean combination that's hard to better, anywhere.

female cyclist getting on the ferry car deck

Now 35 miles in and at the village of Gruline, there's a useful cut through road that will shorten this route by 37 miles. Carrying on for the full route, the road hugs the north side of Loch Na Keil.  With the flat riding firmly over, the road now becomes an up and down affair. With a couple of particularly steep albeit short climbs, the section flings you out into the western most reaches of the UK. It's a stunning and breath-taking environment, perfect for road biking. There's a couple of short cut options here too, one at Achleck and the other at Dervaig. The main route has a solid two stage climb out of Dervaig and onwards to Tobermory with its beautiful harbour and plentiful refuelling options. Climbing once again, this time out of the village and along the shore line of the Sound of Mull, the terrain eventually levels and it's a largely flat ride back to Craignure.

Kintyre Way

Kintyre Way Sign

Distance: 100 miles, climbing to 4,300 feet,

Start: Tarbert Loch Fyne

The full Kintyre Way trail traverses 100 miles of the peninsula's finest landscapes. Setting off from Tarbert in the north, the walk meanders south, weaving from coast to coast and exploring a vast range of terrain in the process. Dropping into some idyllic bays along the way, take your time to enjoy things here. Carradale with its lovely small harbour and amazing beach is well worth a stop and if you fancy a little dip in Torrisdale Bay, why not? This is not a place where speed is essential. Eventually on the final stretch there's one last climb out of Peninver. With that over, Davaar island, Campbeltown loch and the town itself are all on full display, signally the finish to a truly memorable day's riding.

The Kintyre peninsula provides a spectacular platform for a Scottish cycling holiday. Surrounded by sea, hills and rugged islands, its quiet roads give you some of the most memorable cycle routes in Scotland. The well surfaced, wide and quiet road is a joy to ride. A largely flat ride for now, you soon see the island of Gigha to the west with Islay and the mighty Paps of Jura looking on approvingly. 25 miles in and nearing the village of Clachan, things begin to become more undulating and once you turn west and heads towards Claonaig, the biking changes, a lot. Wide roads become single track with climbing and descending in full flow. The contrast is stark and is part of what makes this ride so special. Now over on the peninsula's east side, Arran in all its rugged beauty comes thundering into view. The climbs are never long but they do zap the energy levels so make sure you're properly fuelled. In any case, the surroundings here are not difficult to draw inspiration from. Remember there's always energy around, it's up to you whether you use it.

Although the Kintyre Peninsula is small and less well-known than the mainland, it has a host of attractions on offer to those keen to discover them. Whether you wish you spot rare wildlife off the shoreline, uncover the region's fascinating history, sample authentic Scottish whisky from its famous distilleries or simply marvel at the incredible views, the Kintyre Way showcases everything this incredible location has to offer.

Hebridean Way

Girls celebrating on bicycles

Distance: 185 miles, climbing to 3100ft

Start: Vatersay

The spectacular islands of the Outer Hebrides have always been a magnet for cyclists seeking quiet roads and a different pace of life.  As you wind your way past stunning white shell beaches here at the very edge of Europe, constantly stopping to visit an antiquity or watch eagles soar overhead, you will lose all track of time. 

Using ferries and causeways to hop between islands, this popular on-road route begins on the Island of Vatersay at the southern tip of the archipelago and ends 185 miles (297km) later at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse in the far north. There is no danger of getting lost as the route is way-marked throughout its length ever since it was officially adopted as National Cycle Network route (NCR) 780. However you might need a map to help you plan detours to visit an historic site or reward yourself with a cake stop. 

You will get lungs full of fresh air and the scenery that subtly changes along the way is awe-inspiring.  In the morning you can be riding beside turquoise seas and passing flower-strewn machair, before heading inland through rugged hills made from Lewisian gneiss which is some of the oldest rocks in the world. But there is absolutely no hurry. This is a journey to savour so take it steady. 

Are you up for the challenge? Book your next cycling adventure here.

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