The Scottish Highlands Website     You are not logged in [superman] [] [Ecreator] /files/graphics/admin/toolbar_validate/files/graphics/admin/toolbar_edit/files/graphics/admin/toolbar_frontpage/files/graphics/admin/toolbar_controlpanel

Print-friendly version

Mountain Bike Holidays In The Highlands

The rough and rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands is ideal for the sport of mountain biking.  Imagine enjoying the thrill and adrenaline rush of this exciting sport against a backdrop of some of the most majestic, awesome natural beauty in the world.  Challenge yourself with a mountain biking trek through the Highlands of Scotland and experience the adventure of racing through the Highland countryside.  Whether you want to tough it out over rugged mountain paths and speed down the hillsides or enjoy a forest amble on a well-maintained trail, there is a perfect mountain biking experience for you here in the spectacular Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands offer Britain’s absolute best mountain biking experiences.  There are miles and miles of purpose-built trails, and there are many off-road, unmarked routes through the wilderness that are considered the best in all of Europe.  You can choose to go completely rugged and take your chances through the wilds of the Highlands, or you can follow specially-maintained tracks which are both challenging and diverse.  If you prefer, you can even head out on forest roads and estate roads, various single-track country lanes, and even drove roads across the hills.  Take off with your friends and family, or perhaps book a mountain biking adventure experience through one of the many outdoors centres and mountain biking centres throughout the Highlands.

Before you go, be sure you understand the sport of mountain biking in order to ensure that you have the best possible experience.  Generally, mountain biking means riding specially-built bicycles off-road, through rugged terrain.  The bikes used are specifically for this sport, which means they are stronger and more durable than regular in-town bicycles.  This type of bicycle riding does require endurance, good balance, and good bicycle-handling skills.  Avid mountain bikers are usually independent sorts who rely on their own skills and knowledge to keep them safe and on their bikes.  Because a rider is often out in remote areas, it is imperative that they be prepared and carry their own necessities like water, maps, first aid kits, and tools for any bike repair that may need to be done.  If you are not entirely sure about these aspects of the sport, it is best to book a ride through a mountain biking centre and go in a group with an experienced guide.

Mountain biking can be broken down into a variety of categories, as well.  Here in the Highlands, you will mostly find people engaging in cross-country, trail riding, all mountain, and downhill riding.  The area is perfect for any one of these types of mountain biking.  While cross country mountain biking is good for those with a more limited experience of the sport, it does require good stamina and fitness.  Keep this in mind before you head off for a miles-long trek! 

Proper equipment is as essential to mountain biking as it is to any other sport.  First, of course, is the bike itself.  Dual suspension, wider tyres, and more upwardly-shaped handle bars are part what makes a mountain bike.  Tyre treads are lugged, and tyre rims are very strong.  Disc brakes and special gearing also add to those aspects which make the bike more suited for the sport.  It’s also a good idea to have gloves, possibly even padded.  A helmet is a must—falls do happen in the sport of mountain biking.  Clothing should be comfortable and also help protect you from a fall.  Shoes should have good gripping soles.  Finally, body armour pads are usually worn.  They may be thin neoprene sleeves, or heavier styles depending upon the type of riding and the terrain.

Centres which offer mountain biking experiences are well-situated near to the best trails and tracks.  Mountain Bike Highlands and Islands, located in Cromarty, provide a full mountain biking service.  They will apprise you of trails in the region, rent you a bike for the day or longer, or take you out on guided trail rides wherever you wish to go.  They also offer mountain biking holidays, corporate events, and team-building.  Scottish Mountain Bike Guides on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands can arrange mountain biking holidays in the Northern Highlands and Skye.  They offer courses, classic rides, self-guided and guided holidays, wild camping, and custom tours.  Wilderness Scotland runs mountain biking holidays through the West Highlands, in some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain out there.  Bothy Bikes in Rothiemurchus, Cairngorms, hires mountain bikes and gives advice on trails in the area.  Craggan Outdoors in Grantown-on-Spey uses the Glenbeg Estate for its trails, nestled amongst breath-taking scenery.  They offer a variety of guided sessions.  You can hire your bike through Craggan Outdoors, as well.  Full On Adventure in Aviemore runs mountain biking courses, and they offer holidays and multi-activity programs including mountain biking. 

Highland Wildcat Trails is a purpose-built set of trails all around the north Highlands area of Golspie.  One of their tracks features the longest mountain descent in the UK, from the summit of Ben Bhraggie to sea level.  Highland Wildcat has trails for all abilities of riders.  The Forestry Commission of Scotland also maintain excellent mountain bike trails all over the north of Scotland.  The Carbisdale Trails are challenging tracks with fantastic views over the Dornoch Firth and Bonar Bridge.  Learnie Red Rock Trails are single-track trails on the Black Isle, many of which are so narrow and tight that it takes an experienced rider to get through.  At one point, sections have been cut out of two trails to allow bike handlebars to pass through!  This set of trails is generally for the more experienced, but there are portions for new riders, as well.  The Great Glen Cycle Route is an extremely hilly trail in spots, and is best suited for those who are experienced and fit riders. 

Mountain biking is a fantastic way to experience the Scottish Highlands.  If you go cross country, you can cover a lot of ground and see things the average visitor might not get to see.  The environment is stunning and is a truly awe-inspiring backdrop for some of the best mountain biking in the world.  Bring your own mountain bikes and gear, or hire a bike for a day.  Get on to some of the miles and miles of trails available, or go with a guide who can take you off the beaten path.  However you choose to experience your mountain biking adventure, you are sure to want to come back for more.  Plan your route today and get active in the Scottish Highlands!