Highlights of Lochs, Glens and Bens tour
- Cycle through spectacular scenery to the Victorian Spa village of Strathpeffer
- Observe local wildlife in it’s natural habitat including Osprey’s at Loch Ussie and Loch Garten
- Panoramic views of Loch Ness and the Great Glen
- Experience the majesty of the Moray Firth Dolphin
- Quality farmhouse accommodation on Brahan Estate
Day 1: Strathpeffer Total cycling distance 35 km
Following arrival, briefing and welcome meeting we will leave from our farmhouse accommodation on the working Highland Estate.The route is a mixture of forest tracks, single track and quiet country roads.The scenery is ever changing and wildlife is a plenty with deer, birds of prey, otters and foxes to name but a few. Your friendly guide will tell you about the history of the area and lead you round the estate's many features before heading for Loch Ussie. The short ascent comes at the start of the day and the views are spectacular. At it's highest point we will see Castle Leod, home of the Mackenzie clan and made famous recently with the popular "Outlander" series. A nice decent leads us into the Victorian Spa Village of Strathpeffer where we can visit the old railway station with its quaint shops and museum. The village sits in the shadow of one of Scotland's Munro's- Ben Wyvis. After lunch, we head West on forest tracks running parallel with the famous North Coast 500 route, to the village of Garve. Leaving Garve we will then head to Rogie Falls waterfall. To finish the day, a visit to the Ord Distillery where you can sample a dram of the famous Glen Ord whisky.
Day 2: Loch Ness Total cycling distance 28 km
We leave from Clachnaharry Point, Inverness which is the North Eastern entrance to Thomas Telford's Caledonian Canal. We navigate the towpaths through the locks leading out to Torvean where we join the Great Glen Way cycle route. After a short ascent, the route is a mixture of forest paths and single track with views North to Ben Wyvis and to the South, the magnificent shores of Loch Ness with its steep valleys either side and a world-renowned vista. (the route so far is a moderate cycle). Arriving at Abriachan, we will have our lunch and you can then experience the Abriachan woodlands trust learning about the local wildlife and woodland habitat. We then continue our trip along forest paths where the scenery opens up showing the full panoramic views of Loch Ness, the Cairngorm mountains are also visible from here. As we start our descent into the village of Drumnadrochit you will have excellent views of Urquhart Castle, which sits on the shore of Loch Ness. There will be time to visit some of the village's attractions and pick up a souvenir or two before heading back to base for your well-earned meal.
Day 3: The Cairngorms National Park Total cycling distance 32 km
A short mini-bus journey will take us to Rothiemurchus in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park and close to the renowned ski resort. The first part of our route takes us along cycle paths running through the Caledonian Pine forest to Loch Morlich (which must have one of the highest sandy beaches anywhere in the UK). Circling the Loch we will arrive at the Internationally renowned outdoor centre at Glenmore Lodge before following natural paths and trails to the "Green Loch", named because of the colour of the crystal clear waters. Further on we visit "Ryvoan Bothy" (we will explain what a bothy is on the tour) before passing through Loch Garten nature reserve to the village of Boat of Garten. Here we will board the steam train to Aviemore where we will pick up the bikes again and continue back to our start point at Rothiemurchus. A distillery visit may be a possibility on our way home.
Day 4: Black Isle Total cycling distance 30 km
Despite being referred to as the Black Isle, it is not an Island but a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Moray Firth to the east, Cromarty Firth to the north and Beauty Firth to the south.The reference to "Black Isle" is to do with the rich dark farming soil. The area is famous for its large population of dolphins, with over 200 recorded there. The route we follow is mostly quiet country roads which wind through the area, bordered by farmland and forests. We will pass through some quaint Highland villages before stopping at Chanonry Point, one of the best places for viewing the dolphins from the shore. Looking directly over the water you will see Fort George on the south of the Moray Firth.