Scottish cycling star Mark Beaumont cycled his way around Scotland’s coastline, from Dumfries to Edinburgh, earlier this month as part of his training cycle around Britain for the Artemis World Cycle in July. The epic Artemis World Cycle will see the ultra-endurance athlete attempt to travel 18, 000 miles around the world in a record-breaking 80 days!
To prepare for such a challenge, it is fitting that Perthshire-raised Beaumont chose to train in Scotland. At just 12 year of age, Mark cycled across Scotland, from Dundee to Oban, after reading about a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling challenge in the local paper. This cycle, at a tender age, launched a lifetime of cycling challenges and a passion for cycling in Scotland.
Mark Beaumont said: “The north of Scotland has the quietest and safest roads in Scotland for cycling. I recently pedalled the North Coast 500 route around Caithness and Sutherland, taking in the Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb. This entire west coast up past Torridon, Ullapool and Lochinver is absolutely stunning. Even further afield, right on the edge of the Atlantic, I am also a big fan of the Hebridean Way, which spans the length of the 10 islands of the Outer Hebrides.”
Feeling inspired to get on your bike now? Check out 10 awesome routes to cycle in Scotland:
Following part of the National Cycle Network Route 780, this terrific, long-distance route spans the length of the enchanting Outer Hebrides island chain. Along the way, enjoy paradise beaches, the Calanais Standing Stones and the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.
Travel from Shetland’s principle town of Lerwick to the ancient capital of Scalloway. Soak up the stunning island scenery as you cut through a ridge of hills and across wild moorland before being rewarded with a panoramic view of Scalloway and the glittering sea.
Look out for the rich variety of wildlife (such as osprey, kingfishers and otters) on this flat, circular route around the banks of Loch Leven. Enjoy the views out to Lochleven Castle, which is situated on its own island in the middle of the loch, and stop for a tasty lunch at places such as Loch Leven’s Larder.
- 4) Isle of Bute
Absorb magnificent sea views as you travel around this beautiful island on two wheels (bikes can be hired locally or you can take your own on the ferry). Challenge yourself to the 23 mile loop around the island or use pedal power to visit attractions such as Mount Stuart House and Ettrick Bay.
Tour the Scottish Borders’ four famous abbeys – Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh – on this scenic (but fairly demanding) route through the glorious Borders countryside. Why not make a day of it and stop off at attractions as you pass by?
This beautiful linear route along the coast from Irvine to Ayr takes in some of Ayrshire’s most picturesque scenery, from the coastline with views out to the Isle of Arran to the thriving marshland and woodland of two Scottish wildlife reserves, Gailes Marsh and Shewalton Wood.
Set on a former railway line, this cycle route passes through the sweeping north east countryside away from the hustle and bustle of road traffic. At Maud you can travel on to either Fraserburgh or Peterhead, both boasting beautiful beaches.
Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb
Cycle around this stunning tidal estuary and soak up beautiful views of this wildlife haven. Look out for summer highlights such as osprey and kingfishers, or waders and ducks in the winter months, and pop into the Montrose Basin visitor centre for a refreshing cup of tea or coffee.
Fancy spotting some red squirrels on your cycle? The paths at Devilla Forest pass through atmospheric expanses of woodland which are the perfect habitat for these elusive little animals.
To find out more about Mark Beaumont and cycling in Scotland, check out: www.visitscotland.com/blog/cycling/mark-beaumont/