Scottish Highlands guide led coast-to-coast mountain bike trip worth the price?

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  • Scottish Highlands guide led coast-to-coast mountain bike trip worth the price?
  • I am looking into doing a coast-to-coast mountain bike ride through the Scottish Highlands in June. There are several companies that provide bike holidays and trips and I have looked into several of them. Honestly, trips like these don’t usually suit me too well as I commonly seek out more distance and challenging terrain that most trips like this offer; I spent some time as a pro XC rider.

    So, would one of these trips be worth it for the amount of money they charge or are there other options that I could consider to really experience the Scottish Highlands mountain biking? I have roughly 10 days in the area.

    Thanks for any suggestions or feedback!

    Premier Icon boxelder

    Choose accommodation in various areas and ride between them. Will it matter not going from one coast to another if the riding is better elsewhere? Sounds like you’re worried that you’ll be a lot faster than other clients?
    Do the highland 450 route – but transporting your luggage will be the issue. Will the companies transport your luggage for a much reduced charge, while you ride variations on their route?

    Premier Icon danti

    Having done the c2c guided from Fort William to Montrose from this book and being used to 40-50 mile days I’d say don’t bother going guided if you’re reasonably fit.

    Scotland Mountain Biking – The Wild Trails by Phil Mckane

    I did it in a small group and we were reasonably fit and could’ve covered it in 3-4 days instead of the 6 it took, and I’ve never been a pro xc racer by any stretch of the imagination!

    You don’t need to carry loads of gear and there’s plenty of other routes in the book such as Tour of the Cairngorms which is a good 2 day round trip for someone fitter.

    If you do have the time I can’t recommend Torridon highly enough for some testing riding.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    Err, it depends. If you don’t know the area then a guide will be able to pick out the best trails, will be aware of how they are impacted by weather conditions and will have other useful skills like fixing mechanicals and carrying out essential first aid (more than sticking on a plaster when you are hours from assistance.).

    Fitness apart, it’s a different skill set.

    Are you planning to camp or bivvy, or are you looking to have gear shuttled around?
    Have you worked out how to get to the start and back from the end?

    I’d get in touch with a couple of guides, explain your issues and see what they say.

    In any case, what’s the rush. You are out there to take it all in, not be riding through it at brakeneck speed looking at your stem.

    b r


    If you are looking at a holiday with a group, sure. If you want to be in total control of speed/distance, then probably not. Or somewhere in between.

    And only you can decide the VFM.

    Guides will help you avoid all the wolves and bears up here.


    Don’t forget the vultures, nobeer: nasty things when you see them circling over the last rider. The guided trip I did yonks ago had the advantages of organised accomodation, capable guides, known route, interesting varied company, team spirit, and a backup transit that took baggage and could serve as a sag wagon. Plus you might be lucky with the weather, or you might be unlucky.

    PSA~ Dont go around september without your passport, in case you cannot get back into the United Kingdom….

    To be honest, i’d plot some routes from the books recom. above and sort out your own accomo. check for towns that have bike shops in case of some kind of major failure.
    and enjoy!!!


    Can be worth it from a logistics point of view inasmuch that accommodation and meals are taken care of and you don’t have to carry your stuff and there’s no navigation but ime the actual riding leaves a lot to be desired.

    Unless you are going with a like-minded bunch there will be a wide range of abilities and this (for me at least) kills it dead. If you can adopt the mindset that the day has no particular purpose or goal and you’ll reach your destination eventually you will probably enjoy it but if you prefer to start at dawn and finish just after lunch having destroyed the ride, you probably won’t


    As others have said, it depends on what you want to get out of the trip. The guided trip you mention costs c. £700 for 6 days riding. That includes transfer to and from Glasgow, Accommodation, gear transfer. Doing it yourself this would be £50 by train. Roughly £35 per night for B&B so £210 for 6 nights; Gear transfer: hard to cost really, £25/day so £150. That’s £410 doing it by yourself. Obviously the guiding company will get deals on B&Bs and will have their own vehicles for transfers and backup.

    I’ve been on guided trips abroad where you are relying on local knowledge – you just have to go with the flow – there’s a destination and if you get there at 2pm then you just grab a beer and chill. Obviously in this country things are a bit easier for us as we know the systems and I’m not sure I’d go guided, the main reason would be the convenience rather than the actual guiding and being shown the trails etc. If you want that convenience then go for it, if you want a testing few days carrying your own kit then do that.

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