Well we are officially in Spring today, as the clocks went forward overnight marking British Summertime. I love these longer nights and it always puts me in the mood to get out for a walk or, if I’m really energetic, to pull my bike from the shed and head into the Highland countryside for a cycle.
When it comes to cycle routes, we are truly spoiled for choice here in Highland Perthshire. From well-connected (flatish!) routes on the National Cycle Network to thrilling downhill mountain trails and stunning road routes, we have everything anyone with a love for a bike might desire – there’s even a skate park for the kids with BMX!
Of course, cycling in the area has become increasingly popular thanks to Etape Caledonia. Britain’s first closed cycle race for the ordinary cyclist winds a breathtaking route through Highland Perthshire. 5000 cyclists with their families and supporters gather in Pitlochry for this fantastic annual event and the result is a real buzz and a kick start to the season. We are VERY busy over Etape Weekend and we really can’t emphasise enough how important it is to book well in advance (we only have a few remaining properties!)
Etape cyclists often come early to try the route and as they pass Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch, just outside of Pitlochry they are immediately gripped by the sheer beauty of the region. Etape Caledonia is open to all fit individuals between 18 and 80 (who can complete the route at an average speed of 12 mph or 20km per hour).
If 81KM of road cycling seems a bit too much for you then do please check out the amazing National Cycle Network that offers short routes around Perthshire’s towns and connecting routes to other cities and different parts of the UK. Check out the Sustrans web site on www.sustrans.org.uk which has loads of information.
When it comes to road routes and mountain biking, Perthshire is unrivalled in its choice. Trying to narrow down even two or three is impossible! This website is a fantastic resoiurce and one I often recommend to guests coming to enjoy getting out on their bikes and soaking up that clean highland air! www.cyclehighlandperthshire.com
I now the serious cyclists among you will load up the car and bring your own kit. However, if you’re looking to simply add a day on two wheels into yor trip, or of you’d like to get the kids out and about and have no space for the extras then never fear! There are fantastic businesses all geared up and waiting to help you!
Escape Route is the largest and best equipped Cycle Shop in Highland Perthshire – in fact its easily on a level with the very best you will find in any town or city within the UK. It has a fully equipped workshop for cycle repairs, servicing and a state of the art bike fitting service. The have all types of bikes for hire and route advice from cyclists who use the area regularly. Cycle Routes and Maps, Cycling products, plus cycle and outdoor clothing.
Escape Route,3 Atholl Road, Pitlochry PH16 5BX Tel: 01796 473859 www.Escape-Route.biz
Highland Safaris in Aberfeldy gives you a chance to explore the area in a unique journey of discovery along the bike trails of Highland Perthshire. Take in the wildlife, history and awe-inspiring scenery as you take full advantage of their ‘drop at the Top’ Cycling Safaris. They drive you up and give you an effortless hilltop start on a self-guided cycling adventure. There are free route maps and direct access to cycle routes, bike stands, bike wash facilities, air pump and emergency repair kits.
Blair Atholl Bike Hire offers TREK Bikes for the whole family and is perfectly situated for superb cycle routes within the Cairngorm National Park. You can also hire tagalongs and trailers and there is great parking at their shop. They offer route maps and spares for a half or full day hire. You have to book here as they’re not always around, especially in low season.
firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call on 01796 481500. www.blairathollbikehire.co.uk
From a personal point of view, cycling in Highland Perthshire is one of my favourite past-times. The peace and quiet is wonderful, the scenery is breath-taking and the feeling of fresh mountain air, whipping through your hair is unlike any other you will experience. If you’re thinking about it, stop. Just do it!
Hope to see you very soon,
“Great house and garden, tastefully decorated. Kids loved exploring the garden!”
Thank you for the perfect base while we spent four full days at the Blair Castle Horse Trials.
Ard Darach Cottage
"Our second visit to Faskally Cottage here for the Caledonia Etape. Great location, comfortable and well equipped. We will be back for a third visit next year! Many thanks" The Percival family, Northampton