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Cycling Holiday in the UK

Imagine your own spacious, comfortable holiday barge complete with the attentive crew looking after you, the excellent cook spoiling you with delicious food, and friendly skipper making sure you get the most of your holiday! On this holiday, you will traverse the wonderful Highland scenery on your bike while enjoying activities and comfort of the barge, sightseeing, or relaxing. It’s all here for you as a guest aboard one of Caledonian Discover's barges. Enjoy this Great Glen journey for a bunch of experience you can bring home!

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point-to-point
  • Terrain: Trails, mostly two paths roads along the canal
  • Starts in: Banvie
  • Ends in: Inverness
  • Difficulty level: Easy (Cyclist doesn't need to have a certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10-30 miles per day)
  • Total Distance: 65 Miles / 105 Kilometers
  • Type of bike: Hybrid bike
  • Maximum number of participants: 12 persons

Highlights

  • 65-mile cycling tour
  • Cycling instruction and gear
  • Inclusive of bike hire and crash helmets
  • Service of local guides and maps
  • 3 nights' accommodation
  • Freshly cooked meals

Styles


4 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 12 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Facilities

  • Luggage room / storage
  • Laundry

You will be accommodated in a twin en-suite cabin on the barge which provides comfortable accommodation while you stay. The power showers, with hot water available all day, are perfect at the end of an enjoyable day exploring the Great Glen. The salon area is an ideal space to relax and discuss the days' experiences before joining your fellow guests and crew around a large communal table for the meals.

The barge will be Fingal of Caledonian that has been running successful cruises since 1996. It is 39 meters long and has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and up to six crew members. Fingal of Caledonia has seven steep steps down from the deck into the boat at both ends.

These have good handrails and Caledonian Discovery is very used to helping people up and down but the boat is in no way wheelchair accessible. Occasionally at anchor, access to and from the shore is by the smaller RIB support boat. Access to this boat is by a short ladder up to Fingal’s deck.

Down below in Fingal, there is a single step at each end of the cabin passage and single steps again up into the en-suite and into the shower. There are six ensuite cabins with a large (three feet and six inches) lower berth and a standard (two feet and six inches) berth above.

All berths are six feet and three inches long, have underfloor heating, heated towel rail, good storage, and a large opening window. Bed linen and towels are provided. There is plenty of hot water and the showers are good and powerful. There is also a laundry / drying room on board. Please advise the crew should you wish to use the washing machine.

Program

This "Bike and Barge" mini cruise allows you to cycle the length of the Great Glen from coast to coast. You will have two full days of 23 and 27 miles of guided biking (37 - 44 kilometers) and two part days at the start and finish to complete the journey. These few days are an enjoyable way to cover the full 65 miles by bike as you only need to carry what you need for the day while your accommodation with comfortable saloon and resident chef follows as you cycle the Glen.

Caledonian Discovery, with two comfortable barges, each carrying a dozen guests, has operated activity holidays up and down the Caledonian Canal, including Loch Ness, for over twenty years. They are now promoting their bicycle itineraries through the "bike and barge” idea which is aimed at those who want to combine comfort with as much exercise as they are in the mood for that day.

Step aboard, unwind into "Highland time", and relax into the gentle world of life afloat. Each day brings new scenery to enjoy and new options to choose from. Today, you could opt for one of those gloriously lazy holiday days just sitting on the deck watching the world go by and you might just manage a wee amble before dinner.

For the more adventurous, there are bikes on board for your exclusive use. You will explore towpaths, forest tracks, and quite scenic roads with no heavy panniers to weigh you down. Of course, you can also choose to stay aboard, relax, and enjoy the cruise.

Itinerary

Day 1: Banavie - Gairlochy

A scenic towpath walk or cycle for 10 miles from Banavie to Gairlochy is an option on the first afternoon. Alternatively, you can cruise with the barge and take in the scenery in a more relaxed manner. Views of Ben Nevis and the Grey corries on your right are to be enjoyed.

Day 2: Fort Augustus

During the day, there are options to cycle parts or complete the whole distance of 23 miles over metalled undulating roads. The first loch, to bicycle beside, is Loch Lochy offering wonderful views of the hills of the Great Glen. The second Loch of the day is Loch Oich, with the route following a disused railway line between Inverness and Fort William. This section of the route has been upgraded for cyclists and is a joy for all users.

Your destination for the day is the iconic Loch Ness, reached by an enjoyable ride along the canal path to Fort Augustus. The barge will be cruising from Gairlochy to Fort Augustus, initially entering Loch Lochy with stunning views down the length of the loch and mountains all around. You will arrive at Laggan Locks then continue along the gorgeous tree-lined section of the canal named Laggan Avenue before entering the small and very picturesque Loch Oich.

The next section of the journey is along the canal. After passing the second bridge, which carries the main road the A82, the barge will travel by Cullochy and Kytra locks before arriving in Fort Augustus where it will berth for the night. Again, guests are welcome to relax and enjoy the cruise.

Day 3: Foyers

The morning will involve the descent of the five locks of Fort Augustus. The barge will then be cruising the full length of the mystical Loch Ness taking in some stunning scenery including waterfalls, castles, and mountains. You will stop off at Foyers before continuing up the loch past Urquhart Castle to Dochgarroch. Guests are welcome to relax, enjoy the cruise, and try a bit of Nessie spotting.

There will also be the option to leave the barge in the morning and cycle on the south side of Loch Ness giving fantastic views from above Loch Ness. Cyclists, if they wish, could split their journey and either cycle the 14-mile journey to Foyers or in the afternoon cycle from Foyers to Dochgarroch, a 13-mile cycle ride.

Day 4: Dochgarroch

A walk or a towpath cycle of seven miles from Dochgarroch to the top locks at Muirtown basin in Inverness makes up the last morning.

Location

The cruise starts from Fort Augustus to the Muirtown lock on the Caledonian canal in Inverness, Scotland, UK.

Food

Caledonian Discovery understands after a day of exploring the Great Glen's trail and paths, food is hugely important. The resident chef prepares meals for all dietary requirements. Caledonian Discovery has a great reputation for freshly prepared good food and their chefs are happy to cater for all dietary needs.

Breakfast includes porridge, cereal, yogurt, and fresh fruit, followed by toast and a hot cooked option. At lunchtime, you have homemade bread, soup, and fresh salads. Packed lunches are individually prepared for guests who are out and about. Dinner consists of a main course with two options, dessert, and cheeseboard.

A local produce is sourced wherever possible including fresh fish from Mallaig, wild Scottish venison, and Aberdeen Angus beef. Home-baking often welcomes you back on the boat after an afternoon of activities. Meals are informal with guests and crew sitting together around a large table. Stories about adventures are shared and plans are made for the following day.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

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

What's included

  • 65-mile cycling tour
  • Instruction and equipment for your activities
  • Inclusive of bike hire and crash helmets
  • Service of local guides and maps to enhance each trip
  • Freshly cooked meals
  • 3 nights' accommodation

What's not included

  • Alcoholic drinks (reasonably priced)
  • Transport to return you to the cruise start point (available for 40 GBP per person for up to eight people)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving direction via Perth

  • Inverness is reached by the A9 via Perth.
  • Follow signs into the city and then take the A862 out of Inverness signposted to Beauly.
  • Look for a roundabout with a PC World store on the left and a Co-op to the right.
  • Go straight across this roundabout and after about 100 yards cross a small bridge where the road crosses the canal.
  • Then, take the first left turn, along Canal Road.
  • Continue along this narrow road and after a series of locks, the barge will be moored at the top.

Driving direction from Fort William

  • Take the A82 along the Great Glen through Spean Bridge and Fort Augustus.
  • Shortly after passing the "Welcome to Inverness", sign there is a Golf Club (Torvean) on the right-hand side, look for General Booth Road on the left just before the club sign.
  • Follow this for 1.3 miles and turn right down Canal Road.
  • This brings you to the canal at the top of Muirtown Locks where the barge will be moored.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Inverness Airport (INV) or Glasgow International Airport (GLA).

From Inverness Airport (INV), a shuttle bus service is available hourly to the city center from where a 10-minute taxi ride to the canal and the start of your holiday is available. Taxis are also available from the airport. From Glasgow International Airport (GLA), taxi and shuttle bus service are available to the city center. From the center, several trains and buses leave for Inverness daily.

Arrival by train

There are good connections to Fort William and Inverness by rail and coach from Glasgow. There is also an overnight sleeper service from London Euston to both Fort William and Inverness.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
4 days / 3 nights
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Availability

Arrival: Tuesday October 25, 2022
Departure: Friday October 28, 2022

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