Mark Beaumont’s top 10 cycle routes in Scotland
This week, Scottish adventure cyclist Mark Beaumont is riding around Scotland’s coastline, from Dumfries to Edinburgh, as part of his training for the Artemis World Cycle in July.
The Artemis World Cycle will see the ultra-endurance athlete attempt to travel 18,000 miles around the world in a record-breaking 80 days.
Mark has revealed his 10 favourite rides in Scotland.
Top 10 cycles in Scotland
Following part of the National Cycle Network (NCN) 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.
The sea views are fantastic as you travel around this beautiful island. 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.
Travel from Shetland’s main town of Lerwick to the ancient capital of Scalloway. The rotue heads through stunning island scenery to be rewarded with a panoramic view of Scalloway and the sea.
Keep an eye out for a wonderful variety of wildlife, including osprey, kingfishers and otters, on this flat, circular route around the banks of Loch Leven. Enjoy the views to Lochleven Castle, which is situated on an island in the loch.
Tour four famous abbeys, Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh, on this scenic but challenging route through the beautiful Borders countryside.
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 marshland and woodland of two Scottish wildlife reserves, Gailes Marsh and Shewalton Wood.
The paths at Devilla Forest pass through atmospheric expanses of woodland, which are the perfect habitat for wildlife including red squirrels.
Set on a former railway line, this traffic-free cycle route passes through the rolling countryside. At Maud you can travel on to Fraserburgh or Peterhead, both with beautiful beaches.
Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends take cyclists through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery on the North Coast 500, which is billed as Scotland’s answer to Route 66. The route includes the famous Bealach na Ba (pass of the cattle).
Cycle around this stunning tidal estuary and soak up beautiful views of a 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 cup of tea or coffee.