MTB Scotland by train from South

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  • MTB Scotland by train from South
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Caledonian sleeper is expensive- though I’m surprised it’s that much, is that for the full first class sleeper? Airline seats were less last time I costed it. On the plus side, the top of the route- basically Loch Lomond and northwards- is a brilliant trip in daylight, officially one of the great rail journeys of the world…

    One big drawback in Scotland is pretty poor public transport access with bikes- trains are fine but tend not to go to the trails. Nevis gets you close though, I used the northern leg of the caledonian sleeper to get to fort william then rode out each day to the trails. Bikebus from Edinburgh to Glentress might be a good option. Or, try and hook up with locals?

    Don’t get me wrong, the riding up here is superb but the logistics are tricky just because so much of the good riding is in the middle of nowhere… If I was going to fly or spend £100s in travel, I’d be going abroad.

    thanks for getting back to me
    my brother said the same thing…if your guna sped that much to go north…you may aswell go south and go abroad..

    decisions decisions

    Hey guys and girls

    Im in worthing near brighton

    monday to Friday or long weekend

    anyone done a overnight train to Scotland?
    or flown easy jet to go mountain biking?
    any experiences or advice on whats cheaper / easier etc..
    and where would be good to go to some aggressive XC style riding..

    ive seen theres a caledonian sleeper train but the fares are coming in £300 + easy jet are charging £70 for flights £60 for bike £ 25 for extra luggage.

    thanks in advance

    Jon

    rootes1
    Member

    sleeper.. gets booked up early especially for BHW..

    going first gets you a cell sorry cabin to you self… going second means you might have to share, ‘seated sleeper’ means you just get a first class style chair to sit in…

    there is a bar for first cabins..

    I have done all three…. sit night sleep in all and feel wasted the following day…

    you will have to get across london to get to euston will all your stuff and bike… pain.

    sleazy jet from Gatwick would be ideal for you as gatwick is easy from brighton/worthing…

    how about a hire car (enterprise weekend deal) and going the Shropshire? longmydd, eastridge etc

    CraigW
    Member

    You can get the sleeper to Aviemore or Inverness, which have some good options for mountain biking. There are some cheap tickets on the sleeper, though limited numbers, so probably have to book way in advance. http://www.scotrail.co.uk/content/caledonian-sleeper-bargain-berths

    Also the East Coast train during the daytime, takes about 8 hours from London, it has some cheap advance tickets.

    b r
    Member

    You need to look at the total cost of travel, not just the ticket.

    How would you get from the airport (Glasgow/Edinburgh?), onwards.

    With the train you could just get off and then push to your Accom. in FW with your bags – or I’m sure they’ll be a MPV-based taxi around.

    Premier Icon dknwhy
    Subscriber

    I recently went up to Aviemore from London Victoria by coach (National Express). I’m not gonna lie to you, 12 hours on a coach sucks but I went ovenight (11pm – 11.30am there and 7pm-7am back) and despite the hardship of sitting on a coach overnight and only getting a few hours sleep, it worked out to be very convenient (and cheap – £51 return).

    Took my bike in a polythene CTC bike bag as I was bikepacking (doing the Cairngorms loop from Aviemore) but if you plan to stay in Aviemore you could use a normal bike bag as the coach stops in the town centre and there are plenty of places to stay.
    Great natural “wilderness riding” and as Aviemore has a train station, you could venture further afield.

    >Don’t get me wrong, the riding up here is superb but the logistics are tricky just because so much of the good riding is in the middle of nowhere…<

    A lot of the good riding is in fact near train stations – Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Aviemore, Achnashellach, B of O and FW all spring to mind. Agree on the logistics though. I’ve done a reasonable amount of train assisted ‘wild rides’ in the West. Given a little savvy navigation and good hill fitness its infinitely possible to put together some brilliant “aggressive xc.” 😉

    However, it is a faff, has to be planned with military precision and the booking system makes it committing / makes travelling in groups of 3 or more very difficult. Per the example above it’s also outrageously expensive……..That figure quoted is eye watering but even half that doesn’t compete with a flight FFS!

    Been debated here before – if the SG could attack the train issue with the the same zeal they have the new Forth Bridge for example then we’d be getting somewhere.

    If you like train travel then the overnight sleeper can be an amazing experience and part of the journey. Wonderful atmosphere in the bar on the way up, amazing views, travel while you sleep! for me the value in the higher price compared to a flight is in the experience.
    If you just want to get there and get riding then get a flight – might be worth simply hiring a car and giving yourself the flexibility..

    TM

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    Travel on the Sleeper regularly to home (at least once a month), always in the cheap seats, and although it’s not the same as sleeping in my own bed, I don’t sleep badly. Forget comments about it booking up fast, especially for BHs – my next journey up if this BH and I only booked the tickets on Fri with no problems. In 12 months I’ve only once not been able to spread out across 2 seats and get my head down. One thing to note though – in the seats the heating is either full on Sahara Desert baking hot or Siberian Arctic freezing cold…

    The big advantage for me is travelling overnight in dead time so there’s no wasted time during the day – any flights I could book are mid-afternoon and, whilst the flight itself may only be c£70-80, the associated cost of either train/bus or parking mean that flyiong is more expensive, both monetarily and time wise, than the Sleeper. That said, I’ve got a Railcard – costs me £100 for a return from Nottingham to Elgin via Inverness or Aberdeen.

    As others have said, the train stops at some stations where you can get off and just ride straight on to a fantastic route – any of the stations along the A9 between Perth and Inverness particularly. I often cut short and get off in Aviemore, to meet up with the family driving down from Elgin, to spend the weekend in the Cairngorms…

    And it’s a damn sight more scenic than flying as well…

    oh and there’s an excellent almost traffic free route across london from Victoria to Euston. Goes right through the middle and we did it on a Friday evening and was just great fun 🙂 TfL website can spit out the details..

    TM

    flatfish
    Member

    For me from Bristol to Blair Atholl it’s going to cost,

    Sleeper £256

    Sleazy jet £140

    We travelled with bikes by train from Kent to Oban and then by ferry out to the Western Isles for a 10 day tour a few years back. It wasn’t without some challenges (we missed our first connection due to a delayed train on the first leg from Kent to Victoria which then had a knock on for the rest of the journey…) but was great fun to do.

    We travelled during the day as we got return tickets for around £65 by booking ahead. Flying is definitely quicker but you do have to factor in the faff factor of having to be at the airport early (and getting there in the first place!), queuing etc – all that drives me up the wall and even with multiple delays our journey wasn’t too bad at all – we left home in Kent around 9am and were in the pub in Oban, having checked into the B&B, by around 9pm in the evening. Read etc on the way up so it was all quite relaxing and very scenic for the last bits in particular – we went up via Edinburgh on the ECML and then came back down the West Coast. Probably best for a longer trip though…

    I’ve travelled on a separate occasion to Fort William on the sleeper (without bikes) and it is a great experience if you like train travel – we had a few beers and a meal in London after work on the Friday, hopped on the train around 11pm – had a couple more drinks in the bar before bed and then woke up the next morning to breakfast on the West Highland Line. If you’re organised you can get bargain berths – see links below:

    http://www.scotrail.co.uk/content/caledonian-sleeper-bargain-berths.html
    http://www.simonvarwell.co.uk/2011/07/six-ways-to-get-scotrail-sleeper-bargain-berth-tickets/

    In both cases, booking ahead and ensuring you’ve reserved spaces for your bikes is the key thing.

    EDIT: Regarding costs, remember you’ll also need to add in airport parking / other travel to airport, car hire or train / taxi fares when you get there, and a suitable bike bag if you don’t already have one and can’t borrow one.

    flatfish
    Member

    For me the airport is on the other side of our valley so I can get the wife to drop me off in 10 minutes.
    Inverness airport sadly don’t store empty bike bags but Inverness station do so a quick bus ride could see me sorted for storage of the bag.
    Then train down to somewhere like aviemore is only around a tenner on the train.

    Still makes it about £100 cheaper to fly.

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    proflexforever – Member
    Hey guys and girls

    Im in worthing near brighton

    monday to Friday or long weekend

    anyone done a overnight train to Scotland?
    or flown easy jet to go mountain biking?
    any experiences or advice on whats cheaper / easier etc..
    and where would be good to go to some aggressive XC style riding..

    ive seen theres a caledonian sleeper train but the fares are coming in £300 + easy jet are charging £70 for flights £60 for bike £ 25 for extra luggage.

    thanks in advance

    Jon

    A quick check of the Scotrail Caledonian Sleeper page reveals a return fare of £167 for a journey departing Worthing c1930 on a Thursday night, arriving in Aviemore at c0730 on Friday, return departing on a Monday evening from Aviemore c1930 and arriving back in Worthing at c0930 on a Tuesday. That’s for a spot in the seated carriage – as I’ve mentioned above, not uncommon to be able to have a couple of seats to yourself to stretch across and get some decent kip… If you have a railcard can knock off a fair chunk of that cost as well so could end up much cheaper than EasyJet and considerably less hassle.

    djglover
    Member

    I couldn’t sleep in the sleeper, even with ear plugs the rummble of the train kept me awake.

    I’d fly next time or drive, anything but the sleeper

    rootes1
    Member

    I couldn’t sleep in the sleeper, even with ear plugs the rummble of the train kept me awake.

    yep shocking to sleep on I have done first, second class and ‘seated sleeper’

    felt like death next day after each… whilst in first i had an air compressor switching off and on under the carriage..

    the sleeper ‘could’ be good but not in the dated configuration it is now

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)

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