Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon: A Weekend of Cycling and Munro-Bagging

Although I spent a fair chunk of the Easter break penning the penultimate assignment for my PGDE (I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I was to see the back of that particular one), there was still plenty of time for exploring. We opted for the area around Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon, and while it’s impossible to see everything this area has to offer in the space of a few days, you’re sure to leave wanting more. (I don’t know about you, but I’d far rather a trip ended on that note.) Here’s what we got up to…

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Scotland in Miniature: 5 Days on the Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran is often referred to as “Scotland in Miniature”, and for good reason. The Highland Boundary Fault runs right through the middle of it, splitting the island into two distinct landscapes: the quintessentially rolling hills of the Scottish Lowlands in the south, and the dramatic mountains and glens akin to those in the Scottish Highlands in the north.

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Farewell Islands, Hello Highlands: Loch Ainort to Fort William, via Glenfinnan Viaduct

When we woke, it was blowing a gale. Packing the tent away proved somewhat challenging, as it felt as though at any moment the parts we hadn’t yet rolled up would take flight. On the plus side, the pesky midges had all been blown away.

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A Wheelie Good Day on the Magical Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of those rare places that’s as magical as everyone says it is. It’s stunning, dramatic, other-worldly. Skye is everything everyone says it is – and then some.

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Hebridean Way #4: Shawbost to the Butt of Lewis (and Back to Tarbert via Stornoway)

If you’re contemplating cycling the Hebridean Way from north to south, you’re either bonkers or caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Hebridean Way #3: Ardvourlie to Shawbost (Plus a Detour to Uig)

We woke to grey skies, a few droplets on the flysheet the only trace of the rain that had fallen overnight. Fog hung over the hills we’d crossed the previous evening. We ate a banana each, took the tent down, and hit the road.

Just up the road a small sign announced that we were now entering the Isle of Lewis. A light drizzle set in as we pedalled along Loch Seaforth. We’d gone from cycling in shorts and t-shirts and being roasted to a crisp by the sun to cycling in fleeces and coats and getting a free shower from the clouds in the space of twelve hours.

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Hebridean Way #2: Claddach Kirkibost to Ardvourlie

If I had to pick a favourite day on the Hebridean Way, this would probably be it. Why? We had glorious weather (always a plus), and some of the best views – of both beaches and mountains – from the saddle yet.

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Hebridean Way #1: Vatersay to Claddach Kirkibost

Created in 2016, the Hebridean Way traverses the length of the Outer Hebrides, all the way from Vatersay, in the south, to the Butt of Lewis, at the northern tip. In a nutshell, it’s:


It’s 297km/185 miles of pristine beaches, rugged mountains and open moorland. In many ways, it’s the perfect introduction to bikepacking: a relatively modest distance; stunning scenery; and not too remote if things go pear-shaped.

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Cycling the Highlands and Islands: Fort William to Vatersay

We arrived on the outskirts of Fort William late the previous evening, the last flickers of daylight fading as we pitched the tent by Loch Linnhe. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that water plus woodland means only one thing: being eaten alive by midges in the summer months. And so it was here: the ferocious little blighters were out in force. We slathered ourselves in Smidge, and retreated into the tent as quickly as possible. Time to catch a few hours’ shut eye ahead of our first day in the saddle.

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John Muir Way: Edinburgh to North Berwick

Stretching from Helensburgh to Dunbar, the John Muir Way traverses countryside, cities and coastal towns. It’s 215km/134 miles in all, but with train stations at regular intervals along the route it’s easy to split up into shorter stretches if you only fancy a day in the saddle. We did just that, and cycled a small segment of the route from Edinburgh to North Berwick a couple of weekends ago.

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