Perthshire in Scotland is seeking to promote itself as a gravel riding destination, with the launch of a website detailing eleven routes around the area. This includes free GPX downloads so you don’t get lost. Singletrack contributor and round the world singlespeed rider Markus Stitz has helped plan the routes and make this video to promote them.
The sun is shining, the breeze is keeping the midges at bay, and Markus is happily sitting down to remote dinners of couscous with a side serving of whisky. At least, we assume that’s what’s in the hip flask – it is Scotland.
The video tells the story of the Drovers roads, used to take cattle to and from what was once Scotland’s biggest cattle market. These days, the routes make for some great and varied gravel riding through remote countryside.
Markus comments: “Designing the various routes made me aware of not only the rich history of Highland Perthshire and the Tay Valley, but also of the huge variety of landscapes that can be found across the area. I sought to use the story of the cattle drovers to draw parallels with the adventurous spirit of bikepacking nowadays, while showcasing the immense beauty of the area, not just for cyclists. I hope the new film and the route network will encourage more people to explore the area and will also give locals new ideas to experience their immediate surroundings.”
The different routes are designed as day journeys for different ages and abilities, but can also be combined or shortened by using quiet roads or cycle paths. They are graded as easy, straightforward, challenging or expert. The different criteria for the grading and detailed route descriptions with pictures are available on the website. While the routes have been designed for bikes with tyres 35 mm and wider, they will also appeal to mountain bikers and make great day trips for touring cyclists.
If Perthshire seems like a long way away, eight of the routes have helpfully been planned to be within reach of a rail service, including the Caledonian Sleeper train. Whisk yourself off into a movie, catch the Sleeper overnight to somewhere remote, then pedal off to somewhere even more remote. Sounds pretty romantic, doesn’t it? Or, the build up to a tense horror movie, where howling winds mask the sound of a roaming beast, hungry for human blood washed down with a side of freeze dried pasta.
Pack your sporks, anoint yourself with Smidge, charge your mapping devices, and go find some Perthshire gravel.