Words by Heather Irvine
Riding in Scotland is magical. I have been fortunate enough to have ridden in a number of locations across the world, and my conclusion after a trip to Scotland is always the same - nothing else compares.
Having ridden my mountain bike in Scotland before, it was my first time experiencing it on my road bike.
Perthshire is just an hour and a half from Glasgow and offered two days of utter cycling serenity. Exceptional road surfaces, no cars and stunning vistas were just the tip of the iceberg. With the help of Wilderness Scotland, we were treated to two breathtaking routes - the first 86km in length and the second, 112km.
Day 1 Ride: Loch Tay and Glen Lyon
Distance: 53.3 miles
Starting from our base just outside Kenmore - we cycled along the south side of Loch Tay to the village of Killin. The first 25 miles of this route included few undulating hills, some of which were sharp enough to raise the heart rate, but nothing too hectic.
Killin itself was beautiful. Standing on the Bridge of Dochart we took a moment to take in the scenic falls below us.On our way again, we continued around the left side of the loch towards the Ben Lawers mountain range. The scenery here took my breath away - in fact I was so distracted, I barely even noticed the four mile climb to the reservoir.
We then took a fast descent into the wild Glen Lyon which as 30 miles is Scotland's longest glen.
Thinking at this stage, the ride could not get any better - we were treated to the most phenomenal tea stop. Buttery, sugary, goodness filled my mouth as I tucked into the most incredible homemade shortbread I have ever tasted.
Back on the bikes again, we headed towards Fortingall, home of the famous Fortingall Yew Tree which is said to be a staggering 5,000 years old making it the oldest organism in Europe.
6 flat miles brought us back to the Lodge so a well earned bath.
Here is a snapshot of the route profile:
Day 2: Schiehallion and Glen Errochty
Again we were treated to the spectacular scenery on day 2. Leaving the Lodge, we had a short spin to warm up the legs before hitting out the first climb of the day, heading around the iconic mountain of Schiehallion which is one of Scotland's best-known hills and dominates the Southern Highlands.
We then followed the trail towards Loch Kinardochy and around to Braes of Foss, before descending towards Kinloch Rannoch. From there the route climbs towards Trinafour before flowing downhill to the village of Blair Atholl and Blair Castle.
Blair Castle is well worth a pit stop. Cycling up the long driveway to the Castle we were treated to the sound of bagpipes in the distance. Much to our delight, Blair Castle was very cycling shoe friendly so we ever squeezed in a quick tour of the castle.
From there we followed a winding back road, through the Pass of Killiecrankie and onwards to the finish point at Fonab Castle in Pitlochry.
A snapshot of the profile:
Wilderness Scotland planned and guided the routes above. The guys there know every single inch of incredible road and mountain biking in the highlands so if you are planning a trip up there sometime soon and want to make it one to remember, we would highly recommend checking them out.
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