Loch Ness 360 Bikepacking

 

It has become one of Scotland’s great off-road cycling trails. Yet planning a ride can be tricky, partly due to the fickle weather, but mainly due to the mix of surfaces, from tarmac to mud, made trail to loose stones. 
 
Most cyclists wonder, ‘what bike should I use’? We tried to answer this question in our videos, so I’d recommend watching all three. Based on the terrain you see, choose the bike to suit your ability and whether you’re carrying luggage.

Most of the trail was made for walkers, something you’ll quickly appreciate while trying to climb out of any of the towns and villages along the north coast of the loch where the route follows the Great Glen Way, one of Scotland’s long distance routes running from Fort William to Inverness. 

 Incidentally, the trail is best done clockwise if you plan to use a luggage-moving service, as most hikers travel in this direction.

Until a few years ago there was no way to connect the Great Glen Way to the South Loch Ness Trail, another walker’s route, which started at Loch Tarff and ran to Inverness. The so called ‘missing link’ to Fort Augustus was partly funded by SSE’s Stronelairg wind farm (which offers some excellent gravel biking if you have energy to spare). Joining-up the two trails created this new one which circumnavigates one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks. 

 

The Loch Ness Challenge is a series of competitive events on the trail; hikes, cycling and running. Check the website for details. Lochness360.com

The races all go anti-clockwise and that’s how we rode the trail - we think that’s best. However, Ticket To Ride Highlands’ self-guided route goes clockwise because it gives an easier start (and links with baggage moving services). Tickettoridehighlands.co.uk/

If you’d like a guide on your journey, we rode with Kev from 42 Cycling (he’s in the second video). The former soldier knows everyone around here and regularly eases the visits of cyclists from Europe and beyond. 42cycling.com

Some cyclists set themselves the challenge of blasting around the trail in under 24 hours. A relaxed trip would take four days with overnight stops in Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus and Whitebridge. We rode it in three days in short days of mid-January, breaking the trip in Invermoriston and Whitebridge.

 Where to stay

When looking for accommodation, VisitInvernessLochNess.com/ is the best starting point. This local tourist association help to run the Loch Ness 360 trail and hosted our accommodation and meals while we cycled. They found us three excellent places to stay.

Inverness: The Glen Mhor Hotel is central, comfortable, and allowed us to take bikes into our rooms. www.glen-mhor.com/

Fort Augustus: Sam and Glenn run the the cycle friendly Beaufort House Cafe and B&B. www.beauforthouselochness.com/ They have a bike shed for secure storage.

Whitebridge Hotel: An historic building, all wood panels and creaking stairs, the rooms have been refurbished by Bella and Lesley and the meals are superb. whitebridgehotel.co.uk

Events

A series of competitive running, ultra-running and cycling events is organised around the Loch Ness 360 route. Check for latest details: Lochness360.com

Website

Lochness360.com

Our mapping

Komoot Route: https://www.komoot.com/tour/649613784  

Ride with GPS: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/82313895

Direct download: https://www.dropbox.com/s/52z003dvx8im2hl/LochNess360.gpx?dl=1

Thanks to Visit Inverness Loch Ness and Loch Ness 360 for their support

No comments: