Advise me : Long weekend in Scotland – good singletrack and whiskey
I am needing the help of the Scottish branch of the Singetrackworld massive!
Coming on a flight from Austria to Edinburgh, my team wants to make a 3 day break in Scotland to enjoy some great trails and some distillerys.
I guess we would need to get the train from Edinburgh to ???, and we would want to base ourselves in one place so as not to carry heavy loads.
Any help, pointers, advice would be appreciatedPosted 6 years agoSannySubscriber
Aviemore for the win as you can visit a whole raft of distilleries in Speyside.
You can get a direct train from Edinburgh.
Rothiemurchus and the Cairngorms are on your doorstep. Bothy Bikes in Aviemore would be my first port of call for route advice and bike hire.
I wouldn’t recommend the Borders if you want to tour distilleries. Also, the lack of train service is a royal pain in the chump.Posted 6 years agopistolaMember
If you don’t know any trails then I would think a trail centre would be your best bet – just follow the waymarkers rather than having to stop and check a map at every junction… For only 3 days, peebles and innerleithen is the obvious choice as loads of trails and facilities and only minimal travelling time from Edinburgh – so more riding time!Posted 6 years ago
I’m guessing that you’re not going to want to spend a lot of time on a distillery tour. Maybe fit one in over the three days?
Pitlochry has a distillery, a railway station, lots of accommodation and a selection of singletrack from the town.
Aviemore is a bit further North and gets you into the Cairngorms. No distillery in the town, but you could take a wee train trip to Dalwhinnie for a half day. It would even be possible to link this in with half a day at the Laggan Wolftrax trail centre.
Garve has a railway station and close by you have Glen Ord distillery and lots of singletrack, including the world famous Strathpuffer course.Posted 6 years agobinnersSubscriber
I’d recommend staying at the The Glentress Hotel. Its got to be the most bike-friendly hotel ever. And you ride from the door out onto the trails. Innerliethen is a fantastic days riding.
They have a fine variety of Whiskies behind the bar, which they are in no hurry to call las orders on while you’re all working your way through the single malts. As all our collective hangovers bore testament too, the last time we stayed there 😀Posted 6 years agoepicycloSubscriber
Dingwall/Strathpeffer area distilleries:
Black Isle brewery
Probably based in Inverness is your best bet.
South to Aviemore one day (but they don’t really know how to make whisky that far south)Posted 6 years ago
North to Ross-shire the next
West to Skye the nextstevewhyteMember
What is more important to you the Trails or the whisky? 😀
When are you coming? All of the 7 Stanes are great and some good pubs about them too.
Head north of more natural trails(& better whisky), but be aware of the weather if you are coming before April.
So nice trails around Aberfeldy and Kenmore.
Lets face it Scotland is the best place to go mountain biking so you will not go wrong awywhere.Posted 6 years agobajsyckelMember
If you have only 3 days in total and your only option is using the train then you are pretty limited if you want both distilleries and riding and to base yourself in one place the whole time without traveling for too long. I’d limit your search to the main train line between Edinburgh and Inverness. Every stop from Perth north has riding close by that would be worth doing, but only a few have straightforward access to distilleries, and the likes of Aviemore and Pitlochry have lots of tourist facilities and good bike shops.
I’d say the area around Aviemore is the obvious destination for a riding weekend – around 3 hours on the train from Edinburgh, almost unlimited singletrack for all eventualities/ weathers/ seasons/ tastes, on the river Spey so Speyside malts are nearby (you could plan 1 good day of riding to and from classic distilleries of your choice).
Pitlochry is closer (around 2 hours) with plenty of good riding, very close to Edradour distillery via some nice riding (some other large ones further away).
Blair Athol has a Bells distillery (I think – that may not be interesting anyway) and is between Pitlochry and Dalwhinnie. Good riding in the southern Cairngorms from here, but a variety of singletrack is harder work to find than other places I’ve mentioned.
If you are big fans of the whisky you could stay at/near Dalwhinnie and ride around Ben Alder (an interesting mountain), Laggan Wolftrax (a trail centre) and the western edges of the Cairngorms. You could do this from Newtonmore, Kingussie or Aviemore for different riding options though. The distillery is on the doorstep and about the same size as the rest of the town put together.
Other suggestions mentioned by others… Epicyclo’s suggestions are great for a 3 day trip, but not if you have to be based in one place only and maybe not if you need to coordinate riding/ distilleries with the train and flight times (for this reason I’d personally rule out anything north of Inverness). Fort William is and Garve are out for this reason too. Ignore suggestions for Glentress/ Innerliethen if you want to visit distilleries and use the train. Neither are close to a distillery or a train line unfortunately (though both are close to Edinburgh and definitely worth a visit for other reasons).
If you chose to hire a van/ people carrier (which might actually be good value for money depending on the size of your group) then the options are increased and you are able to visit a much wider range of distilleries/ areas to ride. Also, you might find it tricky to coordinate flight times and train timetables with reasonable time to make the most of the riding with just 3 days available, so van hire might be worth considering for this reason too.Posted 6 years agopolyMember
Getting the train could be a bit of PITA in itself:
the great powers that designed Scotland’s transport infrastructure didn’t join the dots properly and so there is no train station at Edinburgh Airport. Assuming you are Austrians arriving in a country where we drive on the wrong side of the road, with all your kit and bike bags (presumably for shipping the bikes) it could be an interesting/eventful ride into town to get on the train. Some of it is cycle path – but its not inherently obvious to the uninitiated or those with no prior knowledge. You won’t be able to take bikes on bus, and taxis will probably be uncooperative.
I think Glentress is a stupid idea – why would someone fly in from Austria to ride around in circles in the trees. The path is OK – but if you are going to fly to Scotland to go mtbing you don’t want to do it on a manmade trail in a forest (unless it has been raining for weeks or there is several inches of snow everywhere).Posted 6 years agobajsyckelMember
wallace- that’s not how I intended it but I see how that reads badly. What I was meaning was that once you have to mess with trains and flights (and distilleries) then going more than 3 hours or so on the train eats too much into your riding time IMO. To me, if starting on a train at Waverley that includes riding north of Inverness (inc. Ross, the Black Isle, Sutherland… etc.)… I meant that most Western Highlands stuff (eg Fort William) would also be out for this reason – i.e. travel coordination/ timings, not longitude/latitude relative to Inverness. 😉Posted 6 years agoSelledMember
Thanks all for the suggestions, this gives me some reasearching. I am
EnglishBritish, hence I have been assigned to research this. No fixed plans yet, but I can imagine it would be August as this is when we normally do our long weekend away.
Thanks also for the reminder on the spelling of Whisky – easy mistake to make but can easily upset the wrong people 🙂
I do like the sound of Inverness and then days out from there, I have always wanted to go to Skye, so this would also satisfy that. The trail centres I am not so keen on – we are looking for an adventure and allthough I appreciate that trail centres offer some great riding they don’t fulfill the adventure thing.
@Druiidh – I’ll definetly be in touch when I have some dates, would be good to meet up with some people with local knowledge, in return of course I am sure that anyone from the team would also offer the same in our area -> The Tirolean Alps.
If its interesting to you, our website is http://www.teamsuddendeath.at, but most reports and articles are in German, but some good pics of our activities.
Again thanks to all.Posted 6 years agoCaptainMainwaringMember
Agree with the others who suggested Aviemore. It’s got more rides from the door than you could do in 2 weeks, a good selection of accomodation, and the Spey valley is nearby which is the sort of Bordeaux of the whisky world.
If you want to minimise travel time and hassle, and get maximum flexibility for riding and distillery tours it would be really worth renting a car/van for the trip. Not that expensive if booked well in advancePosted 6 years ago
bajsyckel – I was just being a little pedantic!
If hiring a van, then a lot more possibilities. Fort William comes more into the equation. If you have not been to Scotland, then IMHO, for scenery, you cannot get much better than Glen Coe, and there is some superb riding round there. Devils Staircase, Ciarin Path, Loop round Ben Nevis, the trails at FW as well. Although FW is not that nice, it has the facilities. It also opens up access to Skye – you drive to Mallaig and get Ferry over. Again superb scenery on the way (take coastal road). Nice distillery on Skye – Talisker.
Best distilleries are on Islay, but not worth it if you have only 3 days and want to do some riding.Posted 6 years ago
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