Scotland

We are planning a family holiday to try bikepacking Scotland in 2019. The internet and library are your best friends when planning out a trip. I love combing through books and skimming webpages throughout the winter months, when daylight is scarce in the evening and I just want to be cozy warm indoors.

Feel free to comment with any suggestions for useful resources for us, much appreciated.

Resources

The current state of this page is dynamic. I am in the process of harvesting information and resources for our upcoming trip: Scotland 2019, likely May. Check back if you’re curious or planning a similar trip. I will finalize this page when all is said and done so that it can become a resource for others.

Books

  1. Wild Guide Scotland by Kimberley Grant: I’ve got this one on order and am very excited for its arrival!
  2. Scotland by Lonely Planet: A good starting point.

Technical Websites (Online Maps)

  1. Open Ordnance Survey Maps: These are the good maps to get a good scale for biking and adventuring.
  2. Bikepacking Scotland: I’ve really been enjoying the looks of some of the routes that pop up on this site as it grows and the owner of the site is friendly and has offered to help with adapting one of his routes to be more “family friendly” (i.e. ditching the minimal single track that it has).
  3. Scotland – Map | Sustrans: This is a pretty amazing resource full mapped out routes. This coolest aspect is that the routes shown are keyed to show where routes are on-road (purple) or traffic-free (green). We are always looking for the most traffic-free terrain as possible, especially with young kids.
    • Longer Sections of (Mostly) Traffic-free Routes:
      1. Deeside Way: Aberdeen to Ballater, Cairgorms National Park (E/W route, 66 km)
      2. Formartine and Buchan Way: Dyce (just north of Aberdeen) to Maud (N/S route), then Maud to either Fraserburgh (N/S route, 64 km total from Dyce) or Peterhead (E/W route, 21 km from Maud)
      3. Dava Way: Forres to Grantown-on-Spey (N/S route, 35 km)
  4. Trossachs: Cycling Map for the Great Trossach Forest National Park

Paper Maps

  1. National Geographic Adventure Map of Scotland: I love the internet and how much information can be freely accessed, but when I am in the ‘big picture’ stages of planning, I really benefit from having a paper map to help me to solidify my bearings. If you get two copies of a paper map, you can mount them both on a wall to form a picture of the entire country (two maps permits you to mount alternate sides of each map), then you can start adding pins or strings, post-it notes, what have you, to highlight areas of interest (things to visit, terrain that looks particularly appealing, rides of interest, good places to camp/stay, etc.). This is what we are doing to help get familiar with the lay of the land and narrow down where we will go. This map is not useful for planning specific bike routes because the scale is too vague, but it’s a good size for containing dreams and creating a vision. Our next step will be to use the online Ordnance Surveys once we have a better idea of where we’d like to go within our limited 2-3 week period, and probably order some of their paper maps (that are a great scale for route planning specifics, finding bothies, etc.).
  2. Sustrans Shop: National Cycling Network Maps and other maps for cycling or walking.

Blogs

  1. Scotland: Evil Moose Megan’s family bikepacking trip, Summer 2015.
  2. Scotland: While road trip focussed, there is lots of useful general planning information in this guide.

Organisations & Websites of Interest

  1. Mountain Bothies Association
  2. Jacobite Steam Train (“Harry Potter Train”): Fort William to Mallaig

Videos

  1. Mountain Bikes & Bothy Nights by Alastair Humphreys: Magical.