Scotland Tour – Speyside to Rosemarkie
- Tour duration: 3 days, 4 nights
- Total length of tour: 120 miles
- Total cycling time: 15 hours 15 minutes
The Scotland Tour takes you through the beautiful Scottish Highlands, travelling through traditional Scottish villages, ancient woodland, exposed moorland, coastal roads and rolling green pastures along the way.
Your tour will begin at our Speyside Club Site – a relaxing site nestled in woodland. The nearby Spey Bay is home to The Whale and Dolphin Society Wildlife Centre offering a number of lookout points for dolphin spotting. There is also plenty to do nearby including the famous distilleries in the area - Speyside houses over 50 of them, with several close to the campsite. Other attractions local to Speyside include the Walkers Shortbread Factory and the Strathspey Railway running trains from Grantown-on-Spey to Aviemore.
The first day of your tour will see you travelling across the Highlands to Nairn, where you will have the opportunity to see an array of Scottish countryside. This pretty campsite is set in the Highland forest and is close to a Blue Flag Beach where you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of dolphins playing in the sea. This campsite is perfect for culture lovers, with several castles, battle sites and forts in the area.
Day 2 of your tour will see you travelling south west towards Dingwall, where you will spend the third night of your tour. Dingwall is a great base for exploring the Scottish Highlands, so you may want to spend some extra nights here to see the area. The area is well-served by the railways, so you could take train trips to Kyle of Lochalsh or Thurso and Wick. Other local attractions include Ben Wyvis Nature Reserve, Moniak Castle and Loch Ness, where you can go in search of Nessie.
The final leg of your holiday will take you to Rosemarkie, a popular campsite on the shores of the Moray Firth. This site has beautiful views across the bay where you may be able to spot dolphins, or you could take the short walk to Chanonry Lighthouse to watch the seals.
Inverness is a bus ride from the campsite, while Black Isle Brewery, the ruins of Castle Urquart and Black Isle Wildlife Park are all nearby.
Leg 1: Speyside to Nairn
On the first leg of your holiday you will travel north from Speyside to Nairn. The route takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Scottish Highlands, travelling through sleepy villages, ancient woodland, exposed moorland and rolling green pastures along the way.
This leg of the tour is approximately 39 miles long and will take around 5 hours to cycle. The quiet country lanes seem to stretch for miles, with lots of interesting places to stop and explore en route.
The route passes directly by the entrance to Brodie Castle, and if time allows, do stop to take a look around. Rich in history and heritage - and not to mention stunningly beautiful - Brodie Castle has been sensitively restored to show exactly what daily life was like for one of Scotland’s most ancient clans. The estate covers 71 hectares and boasts landscaped gardens, a woodland walk and a nature trail, rich with wildlife.
There are a number of pubs and cafes that you could stop at en route to refuel, particularly in the towns of Forres and Nairn. The town of Nairn has the gorgeous Moray Firth as its backdrop and is famous in golfing circles for its two championship golf courses. The town is also renowned for its Blue Flag beaches and clean promenades; in Victorian times, Nairn was known as the ‘Brighton of the North’.
Leg 2: Nairn to Dingwall
On the second leg of your cycling holiday through the Scottish Highlands, you will be travelling west from Nairn to Dingwall. This leg of the tour is 36 miles long and will take around four and a half hours to complete.
This is a lovely leg of the tour passing river bridges, forests, woodland and open countryside – with lots of wildlife en route.
About four miles into the journey you will pass Geddes Trout Fishery, where rod hire and day passes are available if you wanted to spend a few hours fishing while on your journey. The tour also takes you through the centre of Inverness and Eastgate Shopping Centre just over half way through the trip – so you could stop off for some retail therapy!
About 3 miles before the end of your journey you willalso reach Monadh Mor, which is a lovely place to stop if you have the time. Monadh Mor, in the heart of the Cairngorms, is notoriously hard work to climb, but it is a beautiful area for photographs.
Dingwall Club Site is just a short distance from the town itself, and offers plenty of choice for your evening meal. The town is home to a number of cafes, restaurants and takeaways, including pizza, fish and chips, seafood, Chinese, Indian and traditional pub food.
The campsite is also next door to Ross County Football Club, so if you time it right you could enjoy some Scottish football to end the day.
Leg 3: Dingwall to Rosemarkie
On the third leg of your holiday, you will travel from Dingwall to Rosemarkie; travelling along the beautiful Cromarty Firth, riding the ferry to the Black Isle, and cycling through ancient woodland and castle ruins as you descend into Rosemarkie.
This leg of the tour is approximately 45 miles long and takes around 5 hours and 45 minutes to complete. With stunning scenery in all directions, the Black Isle is not actually an island, but a peninsula. The exact origin of the name is unknown, but could be associated with witchcraft in medieval times.
En route you will pass through Tain, Nigg and Cromarty, giving you plenty of opportunities to stop for something to eat at the many pubs and cafes. This part of the tour is rich in Pictish history, with the pretty towns and villages en route linked by the ‘Pictish Trail’. The trail gives you the opportunity to visit ancient Pictish standing stones carved with unique symbols. Other than these distinct symbols etched into stone and jewellery, very little is known about the history of the Picts as very few written records survive, but it is thought that they lived in the area during and shortly after the Romans ruled Britain.
Tain is Scotland’s oldest royal burgh with a charter dating from 1066. If you have time, do check out the town’s stunning architecture.
Perhaps the highlight of any tour around the Black Isle is the possibility of spotting dolphins and seals playing in Rosemarkie Bay, and the end of the route gives you the opportunity to pitch your tent on the shores of the bay, relax and watch the sea.