Riding The Pictish Trail – a route down Scotland’s east coast

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This nice video from occasional STW contributor, Huw Oliver, and first person to complete the HT550 in winter, Annie Evans, may have you planning a trip. Even if you don’t head off to the Pictish Trail, there are some nice moments in there about getting along on a long ride, and some honesty about not always loving every minute. It’s a great looking route, with lots of interest along the way, and some very varied landscapes. Plus, it’s well away from many of the usual honeypot locations, so you should find yourself with quite trails. Just about time to get out there between the deep snow and midge seasons, eh?

Annie Evans and Huw Oliver investigate a new bikepacking route from the far-north reaches of the UK down to Edinburgh. Along the way, they ride through the former site of the Pictish kingdom, take in breathtaking views, and check out charming Scottish towns.

If you’re new to the idea of planning your own route, or bikepacking, Cycling UK has some new videos aimed at those just starting out. From how to plan a route through to what to pack, there’s an introduction to figuring things out. We all have to start somewhere.

Our next magazine, Issue 148, has a feature on Sleeping Out – to hopefully inspire you to try a night out under the stars – plus Steve Bate’s attempt at a winter HT550 round. If these videos have whet your appetite, be sure to get this issue!

While you’re here…

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Riding The Pictish Trail – a route down Scotland’s east coast
  • shermer75
    Free Member

    Is it easy to get up to Dunnet Head for tye start?

    Free Member

    No, I posted on Bearbones about the rail provision;

    Class 158’s have basically no provision for cycles, the best you can hope for are a couple of ex-catering trolley cupboards. No, that’s not an exaggeration. That’s your ride from Inverness Northwards. If you’re unlucky it’s your ride all the way, if you’re really unlucky it’s a 170 to Inverness. You can book in advance but you’re still at the mercy of some eejit flinging bags in there.

    Pretty sure there was a YouTube video doing the rounds of Lee Craigie stuffing a bike into one to make a point.

    Here are the provisions:

    Train class Reservations required Number of cycle spaces Tandems /Larger cycles such as cargo cycles allowed
    158 Yes 4 No
    170 Yes 2 No
    Inter7City Yes 6 No


    You also have Azumas running to Inverness with whatever provision they have.

    Oh and on top of all that it’s an all day run for me from Largs and I’m only an hour from Glasgow.

    Not trying to put a downer on things but it’s important to manage expectations. It would be nice if they had a 153 from the West Highland line doing the run as well, those buggers have 20 bike slots!

    Full Member
    Full Member

    Some questions already answered here…

    Feeling Pictish

    Full Member

    Is it easy to get up to Dunnet Head for tye start?

    If there’s more than one of you, companies such as Ticket to Ride can taxi you. Not cheap, but very convenient and reliable.

    Full Member

    Is there a bike friendly bus to Thurso?

    My Google Fu shows that there is articles about one but can’t actually see how you’d book one. Maybe need to give Stagecoach a call.


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