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pedal scotland


Often described as Scotland’s Route 66, the North Coast 500 offers an incredible journey for road cyclists. Beginning and ending in the city of Inverness, the tour will  let you experience Scotland’s ever-changing landscape from your saddle. From vast lochs to sandy beaches and towering mountains, you will also have the opportunity to witness world-class wildlife that will make you want to get back in the saddle and explore more every day. 

Day 1 (Non Riding Day)

Meet your local guide at the designated Hotel in Inverness. If travelling by public transport, we can also meet you at Inverness train station and arrange the luggage/bike transfer to the hotel. You will attend a meeting with our tour leaders in preparation for tomorrow’s ride, followed by an evening meal. 

Day 2: (105 km)

Today we will start our ride by pedaling around Inverness Castle, where we can stop for a few pictures. The route will then follow the River Ness west, getting out of the city through Inchmore. We will then head to Beauly and Muir of Ord, home to then Glen Ord Distillery and a national monument of Scotland, Muir of Ord Fort. Passing the village of Contin, you will have the opportunity to see the impressive Rogie Falls with wild salmon leaping upstream. Here, we will ascend to Loch Garve and Loch Luichart, accomplishing the first climbs of the tour. Once at the small village of Achnasheen, we will follow River Carron to arrive in the pretty town of white-washed cottages, Lochcarron, where you will spend the night. 

Day 3: (129 km)

On this day, we will begin our ride with a climb before descending to the mouth of the River Kishorn. At Tornapress we turn off the main road* and accomplish the third highest road in Scotland, Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle). Just beyond the pass, you will be able to enjoy one of the most stunning views of the sea and the Isle of Skye from a large layby, where we will be stopping for some pictures. We will descent to Applecross and continue along the north coastal road until reaching Loch Torridon, where we will hopefully have time to stop at Applecross Smokehouse and enjoy some smoked salmon, trout or cheese. Here you might also have the chance to spot sea otters near Shieldaig Islands, while looking at some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole Scotland. We finally cycle through Kinlochewe and ride northwest to get to the village of Gairloch, where you will spend the night. 


*Please note that if you’d prefer a more leisurely ride today and want to skip the Bealach na Ba climb, it’s possible to continue north at Tornapress to Sheildaig and have more time to relax on Loch Torridon. This option would reduce today’s ride to 84km.

Day 4: (90 km)

Our ride today will be shorter, but it will feature some considerable climbs. We will begin northwest to Poolewe, at the south side of Loch Ewe, and cycle around the large mountainous area of Dundonnell and Fisherfield Forest, commonly nicknamed The Great Wilderness. We descent to Little Gruinard Beach, an immaculate stretch of sandy beach overlooking Gruinard Island, and we climb up and out of the bay before descending alongside Little Loch Broom, with the peaks of An Teallach (The Anvil) to our south. Our climb of the day begins at Dundonnell, it will be steep at first but easing off as the landscape opens up. You will be able to admire vast moorlands and the stunning view to Sgurr Mor and other peaks. During the descent, we will pass Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature reserve, a mile-long canyon with rushing waterfalls and a Victorian suspension bridge. We continue to descend, following the River Broom to Loch Broom, until we reach our destination for the evening Ullapool. Here, we suggest taking some time to relax for tomorrow’s ride but also to explore the town with its selection of restaurants and bars with live music. 

Day 5: (129km)

Today is perhaps one of the toughest days of our North Coast 500 adventure, but it will surely be worthy. We will begin with a short climb from Ullapool before descending to a swathe of grey pebbled coastline, Ardmair beach. We then take a left at Drumrunie and follow Loch Lurgainn, with the stunning peak of Stac Pollaidh to our north. We head northwest and accomplish a tough climb through heath and moorland, before crossing the River Kirkaig and passing through the remote township of Inverkirkaig. We then arrive at the picturesque village Lochinver where we will regroup. With over two hundred lochans (mini lochs), we will cycle around these bodies of water and admire some of the most beautiful landscapes of the journey, including a viewpoint at Drumbeg showcasing this incredible coastline. Today, you will also cross the iconic and innovative Kylesku bridge, a 275-metre long structure spanning Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin. From the bridge we continue along the coast to Scourie before cutting inland to Laxford Bridge. We end the day in Kinlochbervie, the most northerly port on the west coast of Scotland.

Day 6: (119km)

On this day, we will carve our way through moorlands and climb alongside rocky outcrops and wild plains to Loch Taebhaidh. From here, we will descent to sea level at the Kyle of Durness, finally reaching the north coast of Scotland. Continuing east, you will be able to admire magnificent coastal scenery with turquoise tropical beaches. If time allows we will explore Smoo Cave,a limestone cave where we can hopefully spot seals. Before beginning the biggest climb of the day around the edge of Loch Eriboll, take a moment to admire the beautiful Ceannabeinne Beach. After descending, we will cross the Kyle of Tongue and then climb up again to the village of Tongue. Continuing on the road, we will cross the River Naver and climb up above the sandy estuary. From Bettyhill we cycle east, to our overnight stop at Melvich.

Day 7: (114km)

To avoid riding the busy and dangerous A9, our journey diverts from the official North Coast 500 route. Today we head south from Melvich, witnessing a change from wild and rugged coastline to wild and rugged moorland. To begin with, we follow the spectacular RIver Halladale south, popular for the abundance of birds but also a well known salmon fishing location. Watch out for Forsinard Flows, an RSPB nature reserve home to breeding waders, hen harriers and red deer. Here you will have completed the top of the first climb of the day, where we will continue to Kinbrace and then head west to Syre, home to the beautiful red-roofed church. We continue southwest and ride along one of the most charming roads in the country, following the River Naver to Loch Naver. Today we will also stop at the Altnaharra Hotel, a popular hunting and fishing lodge, and from there we follow  River Vagastie up to the Crask Inn. Finally, we will descent to our hotel in the highland village of Lairg. 

Day 8: (122km)

Having enjoyed a traditional Scottish breakfast, we start the last riding day by heading south from Lairg past the Falls of Invershin. We follow the Kyle of Southerland, a community project promoting sustainable tourism development, to Bonar Bridge then onto Ardgay. We then tackle a challenging 3.5km climb, the Struie, which offers a spectacular view of the Dornoch Firth. This is followed by a brilliant descent, continuing south towards Evanton and the Cromarty Firth, where you will notice a difference in the roads with more civilisation. We will cross over the River Conon and then head south to accomplish the last major climb of the journey. Through Millbuie and Findon Forest to Rosemarkie, keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins, grey seals and Fort George. Last few miles left, we will ride

Southwest to cross Kessock Bridge and arrive in the city of Inverness again. 


Congratulations, you’ve just cycled our North Coast 500 route, it’s time for a celebratory meal and our final night together.

Day 9 (Non Riding Day)

Enjoy the last Scottish breakfast in our hotel and the trip ends. If you need help with transferring your bicycle and luggage, we can arrange a transfer service.

Trip Highlights


    • Experiencing the ever-changing scenery of Scotland
    • Climbing the iconic Bealach na Ba with views of the Isle of Skye
    • Spotting deer and countless birds of prey in glens, forests and vast moorlands
    • The magical sandy beaches of the north coast
    • The remote pine tree-lined tarmac of the hinterland
    • Sampling incredible local ingredients including smoked salmon and world-famous whiskey
    • The rich marine inhabitants, sea otters, whales, seals and dolphins
What's Included?

What’s included:


  • Cycle guides
  • Support vehicle and bicycle mechanic
  • Snacks and water whilst riding
  • 8 x night’s hotel accommodation (twin sharing)
  • 8 x breakfasts
  • 8 x lunches
  • All luggage transported during your trip
  • GPX files of the route
  • Comprehensive joining instructions and kit lists
  • Friendly advice and support in the lead up to your trip


What’s not included:


  • Bicycle and helmet
  • Parking fees in Inverness
  • Transport to and from start and finish points
  • Evening meals, personal drinks and snacks
  • Travel/bicycle Insurance