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8 Days Magnificent Cycling Tour in Scotland, UK

Aviemore, Cairngorms National Park, Highland, Scotland, UK

Stunning Cycling Tour UK

Bainton Bikes welcomes you to stunning Scotland, Speyside, and Moray coastal cycling holiday. The carefully selected cycling routes offer the best way to see the finest sights this wonderful part of Scotland has to offer. From magnificent natural views, historic castles and the finest whiskey distilleries in the world, you will cycle your way through the outstanding rural countryside with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the splendour of the unspoiled landscape. Each day has carefully selected lunch and refreshment stops to ensure a wonderful time is had both in and out of the saddle.

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Difficulty level: Easy (Cyclist doesn't need to have certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10-30 miles per day), Moderate (Cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometime, 31-45 miles per day)
  • Total distance: 174 miles / 281 kilometres
  • Vacation type: Leisure
  • Type of bike: Touring bike and tandem bike
  • E-bike: Available to rent

Highlights

  • 6 days od cycling activity
  • Starts in Aviemore and ends in Nairn
  • Opportunity to have Glenlivet Distillery and Cooperage tour
  • Visit Spey Bay, Tomintoul Museum, Kinloss Abbey, and Brodie Castle
  • Luggage transfer and mechanical support van
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks
  • 7 nights' accommodation

Styles


6 days with instruction
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Accommodation

Bainton Bikes has very carefully selected the best accommodation along the route, using independent award-winning hotels wherever possible who all provide a luxury overnight stay.

Night one: Welcome to Scotland

  • Central location in Aviemore
  • Short walk to the centre

Night two: Relax in Grantown-on-Spey

  • Unique shops to explore
  • Perfect location to enjoy some locally smoked Salmon

Night three: Quaint Ballindalloch

  • A chance to relax in this peaceful location
  • Take time to enjoy the natural beauty

Night four: Vibrant Dufftown

  • The "Malt Whisky Capital of the World"
  • Fantastic selection of pubs, shops and restaurants

Night five: Historic coastal town of Buckie

  • A busy small town with its own large harbour and Marina
  • Perfect location to explore the Moray Coastline

Night six: Historic Elgin

  • Thriving town packed of great shops and distilleries
  • Enjoy exploring the local castle and cathedral remains

Night seven: Ancient fishing port of Nairn

  • Enjoy a walk along the beautiful beach
  • Last chance to enjoy some fine Scottish cuisine

Program

Overview

Breathtaking views and centuries-old traditions come together around the spectacular River Spey, Scotland’s fastest flowing river. Renowned for its salmon, its castles and above all for its whisky, Speyside offers something for everybody. This tour will enable you to savour the very spirit of Speyside and the Moray coast as we follow the river on its journey, seeing the forests, mountains, and the villages that it passes on its way to the sea.

You will have time to pause at some famous distilleries and see something of the Fiddich and the Livet that feed into the Spey, before arriving at the coast with its dolphins and views across to the Black Isle.

This tour is guided with set dates. Bainton Bikes has scheduled stops at their favourite sights, eateries, distilleries, and hotels. The guides will ensure you don't miss a thing. This luxury guided holiday includes hotel bookings, luggage transfers, dinner on three evenings, lunch every day, and entrance to attractions.

Arrival day

Arrive in Aviemore.

Day 1: Aviemore to Grantown-on-Spey

The first day is an easy day to help introduce this beautiful part of Scotland, the Spey valley.

You depart Aviemore and head towards the hidden Loch Eilein and her castle remains before you head towards the Glen More Forest Park on the edge of the Grampians before turning north to follow the east side of the beautiful River Spey. You will be seeing a lot more of the Spey as it forms the constant factor in the exploration of Speyside’s distilleries. You turn off after a few miles to enter the wonderful Abernethy Forest, home to pine martens, wildcats, numerous deer, and breeding area at Loch Garten for the rare osprey.

You head to Nethy Bridge for a warming Scottish lunch. Afterwards, you join the Speyside way and ride off-road, skirting the edge of the Hills, passing by the Castle Roy before following the River Spey into Grantown-on-Spey, famous for its salmon fishing and smokehouses.

Day highlights

  • Loch Eilein and Castle Ruins
  • Loch Eilein Crofters House
  • River Spey
  • Castle Roy
  • Osprey Centre
  • Loch Garten

Key facts

  • Distance: 24.3 miles / 39.1 kilometres
  • Elevation gain: 787 feet / 240 metres
  • Difficulty: Easy

Day 2: Grantown-on-Spey to Ballindalloch

From Grantown, you follow around the Hills of Cromdale, briefly stopping in the picturesque Bridge of Brown (famous for its tearoom and old bridge) before heading to the lunch destination in Tomintoul, where you visit a traditional restaurant to enjoy a lunch of local produce. You will join the famous A939 road, often the first road closed by snow in the winter between Tomintoul and Cockbridge. You turn off the A939 towards Tamnavoulin and then head to Glenlivet, where you first visit the Castle of Blairfindy followed by a visit to the famous Distillery for a guided tour and tasting experience.

After a warming dram, you continue through Glenlivet passing by the Tower of Drumin and follow the River Livet until it joins the Avon, before arriving at the Delnashaugh Hotel at Ballindalloch, with the fantastic castle the main feature for this quaint village, perched high above the junction of the Avon and the Spey.

Day highlights

  • Bridge of Brown
  • Tamnavoulin Distillery
  • Glenlivet Distillery tour and tasting
  • Blairfindy Castle
  • Drumin Tower
  • Ballindalloch Castle

Key facts

  • Distance: 27.68 miles / 44.54 kilometres
  • Elevation gain: 1959 feet / 597 metres
  • Difficulty: Medium

Day 3: Ballindalloch to Dufftown

Today, you descend to the Cragganmore distillery where you join the off-road waterside path, the Speyside Way. You ride alongside the river here towards Knockando distillery (and nearby Cardhu), before following the top road through to Archiestown, where you stop for a lovely lunch.

Afterwards, you descend back to the Speyside Way, stopping along the way to marvel at the tantalizing Speyview Waterfall before heading down to Charlestown of Aberlour with its famous distillery and the home of Walkers Shortbread (where you will have time to explore the shop) before heading to Craigellachie. Here, you first stop at the Cooperage to learn the history and method for making the whiskey barrels, and later you pause for a special whiskey tasting session in The Quaich (founded in 1893, the world's leading whiskey bar, housing over 900 single malts).

Afterwards, you pass Macallan just above the famous Craigellachie bridge designed by Thomas Telford. You ride for just a short distance when we pick up the Speyside Way again to take you to the overnight stop at Dufftown. As well as Balvenie castle, Dufftown is home to Glenfiddich and The Balvenie distilleries so you should sleep well!

Day highlights

  • Speyside Way
  • Knockando and Cardhu Distillery
  • Aberlour distillery
  • Speyview Waterfall
  • Walkers Shortbread Factory Shop
  • Craigellachie Cooperage
  • The Quaich special
  • Whisky tasting session
  • Dufftown distilleries
  • Balvenie Castle

Key facts

  • Distance: 33 miles / 53 kilometres
  • Elevation: 1959 feet / 597 metres
  • Difficulty: Medium

Day 4: Dufftown to Buckie

Today is an easier day, ending early by the beautiful coast of Moray Firth, offering fantastic views across the North Sea.

You begin by following the route of the Keith and Dufftown railway along the river Isla (‘the Whisky line’) before the first stop at Drummuir Castle, which is located in a very splendid wooden glen. After a brief stop, you continue up to the town of Keith where you stop for lunch and an opportunity to visit the memorable Strathisla Distillery.

After lunch, you leave Keith behind and have time to enjoy Scotland's natural beauty: you have a leisurely ride through the tantalizing countryside with wildlife, forests, and rivers, and hopefully, catch sight of an osprey overhead. You end the day early in the coastal town of Buckie, allowing plenty of free time to explore this historic town.

Day highlights

  • Drummuir Castle
  • Keith
  • Strathisla Distillery
  • Aultmore Forest
  • The Nook

Key Facts

  • Distance: 26 miles / 41.8 kilometres
  • Elevation gain: 408 feet / 124 metres
  • Difficulty: Very easy

Day 5: Buckie to Elgin

You begin today by exploring the coast of the Moray Firth. You leave Buckie behind and pass the old wartime RAF station at Upper Dallachy before arriving at Spey Bay. Spey Bay is an important centre for watching and monitoring dolphins and other whales which are relatively common in the Moray Firth.

A short distance back from Spey Bay, you pick up the cycle trail and old railway line that leads you traffic free over the Spey to Garmouth. You head east passing by ‘Innesmill’ Stone circle towards the beach in Lossiemouth where you stop to enjoy the lunch of locally caught fish with chips, a British Classic!

After lunch, you venture over the wonderful beach bridge over the outflowing Lossie, before heading along the dunes on the coast closely passing past Gordonstoun school where Prince Charles was educated. You will stop briefly for a refreshment and soak in the coastal atmosphere in Burghead, before turning back to Elgin with its spectacular ruined cathedral, distilleries and shops where you will spend the night.

Day highlights

  • Spey Bay dolphin, whale, and osprey watching
  • Spey Bay Dolphin Centre
  • Lossiemouth
  • Coastal dunes
  • Sculptor's cave
  • Clashach Cove
  • Moray Coastal trail and lighthouses
  • Burghead fort, well, and harbour
  • Quarrelwood
  • Elgin distilleries, castle, and cathedral (remains)

Key facts

  • Distance: 36.26 miles / 58.35 kilometres
  • Elevation gain: 1122 feet / 342 metres
  • Difficulty: Medium

Day 6: Elgin to Nairn

You leave Elgin and head for Kinloss to stop briefly and explore the Abbey remains, before crossing another famous salmon river, the Findhorn, before pausing to admire Sueno's Stone, at 6.5-meter Scotland's largest standing stone, and make your way into the town of Forres for lunch.

After lunch, you will visit the local distillery of Benromach for the final distillery tour and tasting session: today you take the Contrast Tour, offering a leisurely guided tour followed by a tutored tasting of four drams from the whiskey collection.

You leave Forres behind and head to the elegant and grand Brodie Castle on the way and also at the site of the battle of Auldearn together with Boath Doocot, a reminder perhaps of the value of doves in the winter when food was scarce.

You arrive at the ancient fishing port of Nairn where you finish the tour, in time perhaps for a walk along the beautiful beach before heading back to the hotel for a wee dram.

Day highlights

  • Kinloss Abbey
  • Findhorn River
  • Sueno's Stone
  • Benromach Distillery
  • Brodie Castle
  • Auldearn battle site
  • Rodney's Stone

Key facts

  • Distance: 28.79 miles / 46.33 kilometres
  • Elevation gain: 701 feet / 214 metres
  • Difficulty: Easy / medium

Departure day

Depart to your hometown.

Bikes

Bainton Bikes uses high quality touring bikes for the excursions, all of which are fully serviced and set up for your safety and comfort. Rear pannier bags are supplied as standard as well as touring pack to help carry small items of luggage or shopping picked up along the way. Electric bikes and tandems are available.

  • Make and model: Dawes Mojave or Gazelle Chamonix
  • Frame Material: Lightweight aluminium
  • Handlebars: Butterfly comfort bars
  • Saddle: Comfort sprung saddle
  • Gears: Shimano 21 gears, with mega range (offering easy pedalling gear for hills)
  • Gear Shifter Shimano: Rapid fire
  • Tyres: Schwalbe marathon offering strong puncture resistance
  • Wheels: Double wall rims, with double butted spokes offering extra strength
  • Equipment: Ortlieb - rear pannier bag; rear rack pack - provided for unguided groups, contains inner tubes, tools to adjust saddle, pump and basic tools (unguided one per couple); cycle computer (set in kilometres); Kryptonite or Abus D-Lock; handlebar map holder

Location

This tour will take place in Scotland, UK, including Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey, Ballindalloch, Dufftown, Buckie, Elgin, and Nairn.

Food

Breakfast: Start your day right

  • Full traditional Scottish breakfast included every day
  • Vegetarian and light options available

Lunch: Traditional lunches

  • Enjoy classic pub grub in country inns
  • A number of great locations on the route - carefully selected
  • Enjoy classic Scottish dishes like Neeps and Tatties or the famous Haggis

Lunch: Fine lunch dining

  • Contemporary fine lunch dining available
  • Selected restaurants which use local produce

Afternoon drink stop: Enjoy a drink in a picturesque location

  • Stunning locations
  • Great selection of pubs and cafes
  • Fantastic selection of local whiskies

Dinner: Traditional Scottish pub dining

  • Great food in great pub locations
  • Local produce served in classic settings

Dinner: Fine Scottish dining

  • Culinary delights await
  • Local produce served as fresh as possible
  • Enjoy dining in picturesque locations

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 days’ cycling activity
  • Tour guide from hotel to hotel
  • Luggage transfer
  • Mechanical support van
  • Entrance to osprey Centre (donation)
  • Glenlivet Distillery tour
  • Forres Distillery contrast tour
  • Cooperage tour
  • Visit Spey Bay visitor centre and museum
  • Visit Tomintoul museum, Kinloss Abbey, Brodie Castle
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 7 nights’ accommodation

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 17% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 14 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 1 days before arrival.
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