Biking and Bagging -- A biking and hiking tour through Scotland

From Aug 24 - Sept 21, 2007 Mike and I joined Alan and Jan on a biking and hiking adventure in Scotland. We rode though some of the Western Isles and Highlands.

Our route

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back at home
Originally uploaded by Calypso Orchid
Sigh -- the trip is over. We are back at home. I wish we were still out there riding!

Overall, Scotland was an excellent place to cycle. The country has lots of great back roads, as well as a good biking network -- especially the long distance routes like NCR #7. The hiking (hill walking as the Scots call it) is truly exceptional. Not the same deep wilderness experience that you can get in the Canadian back country, but lots of high and exposed ridge-walks with the most stunning views. Scotland is also home to some very interesting geology, and this is evident in even the mildest of hill walks.

The people of Scotland are one of the greatest things about visiting the country. Everyone we met was helpful, pleasant, and very proud of their country. Sure, we were doing the tourist thing, so many of the people we met were geared up for us. But, we spoke with a lot of people who weren't in the tourist industry -- all the folks in Glasgow who gave us ideas about where to stay, people who stopped to pass the time of day on the side of a mountain, locals who started up conversations with us in pubs -- all great ambassadors for Scotland.

The weather is the only thing that might give someone pause when planning a biking/hiking trip to Scotland. It is not so much that it closed in and gave us a torrential drenching for days on end (Mike and I never had a full day of rain on this trip -- we did have days where we got wet, but there always seemed to be a dry spell sometime during each rainy day), rather that the weather changes very rapidly. So, you have to be ready with gear that works for you.

Our final stats:
Mike lost 15 lbs on this trip. Mary lost 10 lbs.

Total kilometres: 1361 km
Average per day: 62 km/day

Total money spent in Scotland (for Mike and I together): 1820 pounds
Average per day (for Mike and I together): 70 pounds

Most expensive B&B was 65 pounds and the cheapest was 44. The average price was 50.

Eating out in Scotland, even in pubs, can be very expensive. We found that the breakfasts at the B&Bs were so huge that we didn't need a big lunch, and/or dinner. We had a small camping stove with us, and a mess kit, so we bought a lot of our food at supermarkets. This really helped to keep the cost down and made sure that we got our veggies and fruits. Favourite local food product (other than the Lagavulin scotch and local beers) was the smoked cheddar cheese from the island of Arran.

All in all, an excellent trip. I'm sure we'll get back for more riding in the north and A LOT more hill walking and hiking. We only "bagged" two Munroes (mtns over 3000 feet) -- there are lots more to try our hand at!


Pictures and route info:
Bike and Bagging picture collection
Every post in the blog, and all of the picture sets have links to Google Map, with our route sketched out.

No comments: