Best Mountain Biking Routes in The Cairngorms

Best Mountain Biking Routes in The Cairngorms

Best Mountain Biking Routes in The Cairngorms

Photo by Jack Skinner

Mountain biking may seem like purely an extreme sport, but did you know it’s great for de-stressing too? I mean, it can be physically tiring but the flow you get into when mountain biking in the Cairngorms is great for getting your adrenaline going and clearing your head. The views are incredible and the routes to ride round here are endless.

You can choose from natural trails like forest tracks or trail centres if you’re just starting to learn the sport. There are even ones that are off the beaten track if you’re game for it (but make sure to bike within your skill level). No matter what your preference, there’s something for you.

We want to give a shout out to Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland. They are a great resource for new mountain bikers in the UK.

In this article, I’ll be sharing three great routes around Ballater that are essential:

  • Heartbreak Ridge
  • Loch Muick Loop
  • Green Mile

The Rough & Rocky Heartbreak Ridge

Heartbreak Ridge is a black track by Ballater that’s known for its views of the Cairngorms and its downhill trail. Not to mention the steep descents and blue climb. What makes this an incredible find are two things:

  • The rough terrain that requires constant focus
  • Views that only one who has mountain biked to reach them truly deserve

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Distance: 4,006m
  • Climb: 5m
  • Descent: -352m
  • Duration: 30 min.

This is definitely one of the best mountain biking routes Cairngorms!

Check out this video on Heartbreak Ridge to get an idea of what the ride will be like. Start watching from 2:58 up to 3:58:

The Royal Green Mile

Take a ride down Ballater’s royal backyard at the Green Mile. This route is known for the woodland’s sweeping views that greet you at your descent and the River Dee welcoming you at your return. The single track at the forest is great for getting some flow. Just be watchful of boggy areas you may encounter.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Distance: 4,114m
  • Climb: 17m
  • Descent: -272m
  • Duration: 30 min.

Here’s a video on The Green Mile to help you gauge if it’s the route for you. Start watching from 0:42-1:00.

Loch Muick Loop

How better to get to know one of Ballater’s local lochs and combine an adrenaline rush than biking round the lonely Loch Muick? This route takes you along right next to loch through crag, forest and heather. The sweeping views make this a special place. A great mountain biking route in the Cairngorms National Park

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Distance: 26.6km
  • Climb: 966m
  • Descent: -965m
  • Summit: 729m

To give you an idea of what mountain biking at the Loch Muick loop’s like, here’s a video for your reference. 

Ballater - Best starting place for mountain biking routes Cairngorms

Mountain biking is possible all over the Cairngorms

Photo by Milada Vigerova

These are just samples of the great mountain biking experiences you can have at the Cairngorms. Take to your bike and within no time you’ll find how much of a hidden gem Ballater is for mountain biking.

I found this this article helpful guide covering mountain biking and cycling in Scotland.  You’ll also discover more routes in that guide too. ‘til then!

The Best Cycling Routes in the Cairngorms

The Best Cycling Routes in the Cairngorms

Cycling routes in cairngorms

Photo by Eilis Garvey

Be ready! You will now be introduced to the best cycling routes in Cairngorms. So, are you ready?

Here are 4 routes you can cycle whilst touring the Cairngorms:

  • The Snow Roads
  • Loch an Eilein Circuit
  • Kincraig & Aviemore Loop
  • Aboyne to Ballater on the Deeside Way

64 KM of Cycling in the Cairngorms National Park

The dramatic landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park

Photo by Milada Vigerova

Aside from Scotland’s best skiing centres, the Cairngorms National Park is also home to 64 kilometers of cycling adventure. Information on the park’s routes can be found at bike shops and online.

Let’s jump right in.

Cycling the Cairngorms’ Famous Snow Roads

Cycling in the mountains in Cairngorns

Photo by Léonie Lejon

People talk about driving the Snow Roads but cycling it can off you a story of your own that you will surely be eager to talk about. It’s the kind of cycling route that keeps on giving because of two reasons:

  • You’ll go through multiple towns
  • And one stunning view after another

The towns you’ll visit while riding are Braemar, Pitlochry, Ballater, Tomintoul, and Aviemore. Along the way, you can check in to cosy cottages like the one we have here in Ballater.

An Easy Cycle Around Loch an Eilein- Cairngorms

Road cycling in the Cairngorms

Photo by lukemills90

This is also the most beautiful part of the Cairngorms I have ever been to. The beach at Loch an Eilein is world famous probably because from there one can see the Cairngorms Mountains’ best side. Found within the Rothiemurchus Estate, you get the best of both worlds at Loch an Eilein as one can enjoy the high surrounding peaks while cycling on a pretty flat route which makes it popular among families.

The Cairngorms National Park’s official website recommends riding to Loch Gamhna if you fancy adding more kilometers to your cycle.

The Kincraig and Aviemore Road Loop

Road cycling is great in The Cairngorms National Park

Photo by Katja Nemec

This loop is great for short rides and for those who are learning to cycle. You’ll get to visit Loch Alvie and the Duke of Gordon’s monument as you cycle this route. Loch an Eilean is also accessible through a short detour.

Cycling The Deeside Way from Aboyne to Ballater

The beautiful Cairngorms National Park

Photo by Hendrik Morkel

Cycling in the Scottish Highlands isn’t just beautiful, it’s culturally rich too. A great example is the Deeside Way which will take you from Aberdeen to Ballater. Ballater is known for Balmoral Castle where the Royals visit during the holidays around which can be found prestigious hunting estates. If you’ve got kids then this could be a good choice as the 18 kilometer route is mostly flat.

One more thing before you go...

Biking in cairngorms is for everyone

Photo by Katja Nemec

So, there you have it. Cycle routes for across the whole of the Cairngorms. Additionally, you can check out this blog post that will help you plan your cycling route in Scotland.

And lastly, here’s a video from Cairngorms National Park to help you visualise the adventure you could have. See you on the roads!

Best Places to Ski in Scotland

Best Places to Ski in Scotland

The lecht 2090: Skiing in Scotland is just great!

Photo by The Lecht 2090

Conquer anything this winter as you ski in Scotland! In this article, I’ll be sharing 8 great places to ski whilst you’re here in Scotland. With Scotland’s ever – changing weather, it’s important to have as many options as possible to ski at so that you can guarantee yourself a great day on the slopes. 

I’ll tell you all about the many places closest to home for us here in Ballater, some further afield, and some skiing options you might never have thought of before! So, ready your skis and set yourself up to fly down the slopes this winter.

Is alpine skiing possible in Scotland?

The scottish landscape is perfect for skiing

Alpine skiing is the technique that probably first comes to mind when you first think of the word “ski” – cruising down often steep slopes in the mountains. This is the most popular form of skiing today and there is plenty of fun to be had with it. So, where can you alpine ski? 

The Lecht

The Lecht 2090 is one of the best places to ski in Scotland. Alpine skiing is the technique that probably first comes to mind when you first think of the word “ski” – cruising down often steep slopes in the mountains. This is the most popular form of skiing today and there is plenty of fun to be had with it. So, where can you alpine ski? 

Best time to go: January – March

Entry Price: Adult – £23-£29, Child – £16-£19

Kit Hire: There is kit for hire at the Lecht’s own ski lodge, you can reserve items in advance online. 

Best place for coffee and cake: The new Alpine Lodge bar in the ski centre is great for a midday break, serving fantastic hot chocolate, coffee and cake.

Glenshee Ski Centre

Spread across three valleys, this is the biggest ski resort in Scotland. Furthermore, it boasts the most varied terrain you will find in the UK for skiing and snowboarding, perfect if you’ve got some experience with skiing or if you’re looking to improve your skills. Glenshee’s Glas Maol is considered by many people to be the best piste in Scotland. 

When to go: January- March. Avoid weekends if possible due to weekend crowds.

Entry Price: Adult – £29, Child – £19

Kit Hire: The resort has on site kit hire which you can book online. 

Best place for coffee and cake: There are three cafes at the base station for a warm break from the slopes. 

Why not stay with us in Ballater?
Stay in the scottish highlands during your skiing trip

Photo by Daniel Hartog

The village of Ballater is well placed for getting to The Lecht and Glenshee, it’s almost like having them both in your own backyard. Whichever gets the best snow when you’re planning to ski (which you can check with their webcams) you can jump in the car and travel to in only 40 minutes. If you like the sound of being able to get to two major ski resorts so easily, why not take a look at our self catered cottages in the heart of Ballater? We can definitely recommend staying here if you want to find places to ski in Scotland.

Cairngorm Mountain Resort

Alpine skiing in scotland

Photo by Harrison Moore

Cairngorm Mountain Resort has the largest number of season ticket holders out of any Scottish resort. It’s no wonder that it’s so popular, with incredible views of the Cairngorms National Park. It’s known for having the most reliable snow in Scotland, with snowfall lasting for months at a time, Cairngorm Mountain Resort can often be counted on when others can’t 

Best time to go: March or April. 

Entry Price: Adults – £33.50, Child – £20

Kit Hire: On site kit hire, which you can reserve online, or one of the many ski shops on the main street of Aviemore such as Ellis Brigham. 

Best place for coffee and cake: There are plenty of cafes to visit in Aviemore. I would recommend the Coffee Corner, or Druie Cafe for a nice coffee and cake. 

Glencoe Mountain

Experience the scotland in the winter

Glencoe, originally known as the White Corrie, is the oldest ski resort in Britain. Another great place to ski in Scotland. A relatively small resort, but well formed and packed with variety. There is something for everyone here: a freeride area providing half-pipes and jumps, gentle beginner slopes and Scotland’s most intense black run, the Flypaper

Best time to go: December – March 

Day Passes: Adult – £27- £35, Child – £20 – £22

Kit Hire: There is on site equipment hire.

Best place for coffee and cake: Glencoe Mountain Cafe operates on site, with an upgraded new building coming soon.

Nevis Range Mountain Experience

Look over the mountain tops in scotland on skis

Photo by Asoggetti

Nevis Range only opened in 1989, making it a very new contender compared with the other resorts in Scotland, the earliest being Glencoe (1956). More experienced riders will call this resort home, with excellent off piste terrain and challenging ungroomed runs to sink your teeth into. 

Best time to go: December – March 

Ticket Prices: Adult – £35.50, Child – £23.50

Kit Hire: There is on site kit hire. 

Best place for coffee and cake: The unique Pine Marten cafe nearby offers a big menu from cake to burgers and any kind of drink you might like. They also have a really nice view of the mountains from the cafe and their whiskey range at the bar is unbeatable. Definitely worth a visit!

Nordic Skiing in Scotland

Landscape in Scotland - one of the best Places to ski in Scotland

Photo by Dave Robinson

Most people would never consider cross country skiing whilst on holiday, but it can be a whole lot of fun! If you’re looking for something different to try, this will be worth your time. 

Nordic and cross country skiing are two terms that are often used interchangeably, which is wrong. So what is the difference?

Nordic skiing is a general term which refers to any type of skiing where only the toe is attached to the ski, rather than the whole boot. This allows for movement uphill or on flat ground. Cross country skiing is a type of nordic skiing where skiers travel across mostly flat ground, using only their own movement to propel them forward. Other forms include skating and alpine touring. Nordic skiing, originally a form of transport, has a long history. 

As well as alpine skiing, there are plenty of places close to Ballater where you can try out some nordic skiing.

Braemar & Ballater

Best places to ski in Scotland

Photo by Steve Douglas

Braemar, a half hour drive from Ballater, is an ideal place to do some beginner Nordic skiing. The official Braemar website suggests a variety of potential routes, such as the family friendly trips like Derry Lodge from Linn of Dee, or Loch Challater from the A93 crossing the Cairngorm plateau (certainly worth seeing!). Further down the valley closer to Ballater is Ballochbuie Forest on the Balmoral Estate, and on the other side of Ballater is Glen Tanar, both are great for Nordic skiing too. If you’re looking for something gentle, you could even ski across the local golf courses!

Best time to go: December – February 

Ticket Prices: Free! 

Kit Hire: Kit can be hired from Braemar mountain sports, where they can also give you more information on the routes nearby and the best ways to get there. 

Best place for coffee and a cake: The Bothy, serving wonderful hot drinks and a bite to eat, is located right next to Braemar Mountain Sports, overlooking the river. It has a twin in Ballater so if you love what they serve, you can always grab a bite close to one of our cottages!

Glenshee - one of the places to ski in Scotland

Roughly a half hour drive from Ballater. This is another great place to Nordic ski. There are a number of tours to do there that are higher and more challenging than those in Braemar. These are considered alpine touring, so renting slightly different types of skis would be necessary. One tour, starting from the Glenshee Ski Centre, conquers three munros within it’s route!

You go from Glenshee to Glas Maol, over Cairn of Claise and then Cairn an Tuirc, descending afterwards back to the road. Another tour you can do from Glenshee (a little easier than the first) starts from the Dalmuzie hotel car park, ascending for some time and then descending down burn lines to the ruins of Glenlochsie Lodge. 

Best time to go: December – February

Ticket Prices: Free! 

Kit Hire: You can pick up your kit on the way to Glenshee at Braemar mountain sports. Kit can be hired for up to a week so you have plenty of time to explore the snow! 

Best place for coffee and a cake: There are cafes at Glenshee ski centre to visit, or if you’re closer to the Spittal of Glenshee, the Wee House of Glenshee will take good care of you.

Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre

Noridc skiing in Scotland

Photo by Peter Danka

If you’d like a little help getting started with Nordic skiing, there are plenty of tuition options to get you up to speed at Huntly. They offer cross country and roller skiing and are Britain’s only purpose-built all weather facility, meaning you can ski all year round with or without snow! Plus, they’re only an hour’s drive from Ballater. 

 

Known for: Cross country skiing and roller skiing 

Best time to go: All year round. 

Ticket Prices: Adult – £10-£17, Child – £5-£12

Kit Hire: There is kit hire available on site for reasonable prices. 

Best place for coffee and cake: The Merry Kettle in Huntly is a cute cafe where you can find yourself a hot drink and a bite to eat.

Ready to plan your skiing holiday in Scotland?

There we have it! I hope this has been helpful for planning your next skiing holiday in Scotland. Now you know some of the places to ski in Scotland.

Since three of the main skiing resorts are located in the Cairngorms, we have put together a more in depth guide to skiing in the Cairngorms for you which is worth a read! If you want to do more than skiing, have a look through our guides to walking in and around Ballater.

Plan Your Cycling Route in Scotland​

Plan Your Cycling Route in Scotland

Plan you cycling route in Scotland

Photo by Katja Nemec

So, are you ready for a breath of fresh air? Get on your bike and enjoy one of many cycling routes in Scotland.

In this article I’ll help you plan your cycling trip by covering important topics: cycling routes, essentials to be packed and where to hire a bike to help you be on your your way as soon as possible! 

Scotland offers so many scenic cycling routes. In case you already have decided on going to the Cairngorms but need more inspiration, you can look up our best cycle routes in the Cairngorms article.

Cycling & Mountain Biking Routes in Scotland

Photo by Jonny McKenna

We are here to help you find a cycling route in Scotland!

There are some great places to cycle around the Highlands so there’s no need to drive too far away and this means you can spend more time on your bike and less time in your car. Further along this list you’ll find some cycling routes around Ballater so you can nip off for the morning and be back for lunch.

Here’s all you need to know about the routes around the Highlands for road cycling and mountain biking.

Cairngorms National Park: The Speyside Way

Beautiful bridge to see on your cycling trip

Photo by Detlef B.

Cycling the Speyside Way is a route that’s great for families because of its relaxing track along which there are scenic places for resting or picnicking. The closest part of the route is located in between Ballindalloch (1hr drive from Ballater) and Fochabers (1:30 hr from Ballater).

The Deeside Way in Aberdeenshire

The sun peeking in through the forest

Photo by John Doyle

Another family favourite among Scots is the Deeside Way because it’s easy for kids who are new to bikes to enjoy a cycle along it. Sights and picnic spots are along the path from Aboyne to Ballater make it enjoyable too.

These are the places you can visit and see while cycling:

  • The Deeside Gliding Club Airfield.
  • Cambus O’ May picnic grounds
  • Lochnagar
  • Old Royal Station Ballater

Aberdeenshire's Formartine and Buchan Way (F&B Way)

Sunset while biking around the cairngorms

Photo by Josh Arnott

The F&B way used to be a railway line that took passengers from Dyce to Peterhead along the East Coast until the 1960s. Today, it’s 64 kilometers of flatland belong to cyclists and walkers of any level of fitness.

National Cycle Network Route 7- Aviemore to Boat of Garten

Stunning monroes while cycling

Photo by Steve Douglas

This part of the route takes you pass some of the Cairngorms National Park’s historic sites and natural wonders as you cycle its 8.5 kilometers. So, start from Aviemore train station and ride to the Boat of Garten train station for a day trip across the Highlands. Sights along this route include the lofty Pass of Drumochter Boat of Garten’s Osprey Village, and world- famous whiskey distilleries.

Laggan Wolftrax in the Cairngorms

The view from the trail of Laggan Wolftrax

Photo by Kate Joyce on Unsplash

Another great trail just within the area is Laggan Wolftrax at Cairngorms National Park’s western edge. Find easy green trails and challenging black tracks where you can test your mud guard. You can also take a walk on its trails in addition to mountain biking.

Mountain Biking at Glenlivet Trails Centre

This bike centre caters to beginners and experts alike. Choose from blue trails for a family-friendly experience to red and orange trails that challenge the seasoned rider.  Enjoy the scenery too as you bike on the Glenlivet Estate’s single track.

Coming to a cross road? Keep cycling!

Photo by Alyssa Bossom

The Mastermind of All Mountain Bikes

The Mastermind makes for a fast-paced and fun afternoon starting from Ballater because of its its steep and winding single track. This track is on the bucket list of every rider because of how it tests their skills, endurance, and bravery. Berms, rock bridges, quick turns, and rocks make up this track, making it ideal for the most experienced riders.

Daring to Ride Heartbreak Ridge

Ballater’s Heartbreak Ridge will lead you to a track that will challenge your skills as you climb up the hill and descend it. Find your flow as you negotiate the rocky path. A beautiful view of the Cairngorms will reward you for your effort along Heartbreak Ridge.

Long Distance Cycling Trips in Scotland

Follow the signs on your cycling trip

Photo by Andreas Haslinger

These long- distance routes can offer a personal insight into large stretches of Scotland, punctuated by castles, lochs and coasts. Below are two roads you can read more about. So, let’s have a look!

Sustrans' 276-km Route of Coasts and Castles

Take you bike alongside the water in Scotland

Photo by Connor Mollison

The Sustrans is the United Kingdom’s keeper of the National Cycle Network which is a UK-wide network of traffic-free paths for everyone, connecting cities, towns and countryside, loved by the communities they serve. And one of their suggestions for long-distance cycling routes in Scotland is one from starts 1 hrs drive away in Aberdeen and ends in Edinburgh.

You’ll get to see the famous golfing courses of St. Andrews, Dunnottar Castle, and the East Neuk of Fife while cycling this route.

The region of Dundee and Angus is also part of the route. Experience golden sands at Abroath Beach, an Abroath Smokie (a smoked Haddock) and mountain biking at the Angus Glens.

National Cycle Network Route 1

View over the sea when you cycle in Scotland

Image by Mattia Verga

Another great recommendation from Sustrans is National Cycle Network Route 1 where you’ll get to explore coasts, castles, and seas. This route begins at Aberdeen City and brings you to Shetland through Inverness. You’ll also  tour the areas of Stonehaven, Angus, and the Cairngorms National Park as you connect to National Cycle Route 195.

Trains stations on the route gives you the leeway to hop off your bike and discover each area along the way. This is also a part of the United Kingdom that’s less known to most so you just might discover something new too.

It would be advisable to ride Route 1 in sections so you’ll be able to go at a leisurely pace and soap up the tour fully. You can choose to ride the sections of Edinburgh to Aberdeen or Aberdeen to Shetland.

Cycling Holidays & Challenging Roads for The Seasoned Cyclist in Scotland

Photo by Mike Smith

Seeking for more difficult cycling trips in Scotland? Here are three roads you can include in your itinerary: Bealach Beag, North Coast 500, and the Hebridean Way.

The West Coasts challenging Bealach Beag

The landscape in the highland from a cycling trip

Image by Emma Gibb

Scottish cycling holidays are made up of rural landscape, paths where the only things you’ll pass are trees and rocks and where the only sounds are of your bicycle and of the wind whooshing in your ears. It’s a great way to see the best that Scotland has to offer.

An road that will give you all is Scotland’s Bealach Beag route. It’s a 45-mile circuit that covers Shieldaigh, Bealach na Ba mountain road, and Applecross.

This isn’t without its challenges despite the short distance compared to the NC500 and the Hebridean Way which I’ll elaborate on later. The challenge here is in the ascent as going this way will require you to climb 2,056 feet up the Bealach na Ba and the coastal roads. Dramatic scenery will present itself along each climb to reward you.

The long Hebridean Way

The Hebridean Way stretches across Scotland’s Outer Hebrides through 296 kilometers of land spanning 10 islands.

You’ll be cycling from the Island of Vatersay to Barra, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Harris, and finishing at the lighthouse in the Butt of Lewis. From here you can hop on and off islands using ferries and causeways.

The Hebridean Way is the ultimate cycling route to get away from all the traffic on the more crowded routes of the mainland. As well as this is the opportunity to explore places like the Luskentyre Sands, the Kisimul Castle and the Isle of Harris Distilleries among many. It’s a bike tour and vacation in one.

Though world record-holder Mark Beaumont finished the Hebridean Way in 24 hours, the route is typically cycled within 6 days.

Pushing your Limits at Scotland's North Coast 500 (NC500)

The NC500 is Scotland’s Route 66 where cyclists can cover 500 miles of Scotland’s North Coast. Give yourself 10 days to cycle and enjoy The Black Isle, Caithness, Easter Ross, Inverness-Shire, Sutherland, and Western Ross.

To fully learn more about Scotland while cycling this route, do step off your bike and take the time to explore each area you find yourself in. Check out the castles, the distilleries, the beaches and hills, and the food too! The gastronomic experience is beyond words, you should experience each region’s cuisine- consider this a well earned reward for the ultimate cycling trip.

Rest in between at camping grounds or book a stay at any of the accommodations in the area before finishing back at the start in Inverness (1:45hr from Ballater). And then come back home to Ballater for a relaxing finish to your trip.

Things to Bring & Bike Shops

Go alone and explore the beautiful landscape of Scotland

Image by MonikaP

We’re finally at the last leg of this article’s route! Let’s talk about the things you need to bring on a cycling trip and the places around Ballater for bike hire.

Things to Bring & Bike Shops

Road racing is popular in Scotland

Photo by Markus Spiske

The one thing that can wear a cyclist down is being unprepared for the elements and physical effort. Bring these handy items to make your cycling trip in Scotland safe and comfortable.

  • Sunglasses
  • A snood/bandana
  • Sunblock
  • Cycling gloves
  • A jacket that’s waterproof and lightweight
  • Cycling shoes
  • Tops and bottoms designed for cycling. I.e. slim-fitting, breathable.
  • Cycling socks
  • A water bottle
  • A repair kit and spare inner tube
  • Bike chain oil

Cycle Hire in Ballater

Cycling is an art. Paint scotland with you traces

Photo by Markus Spiske

No need to worry if you forgot to bring your bike or if you’re suddenly inspired to buy one outright during your stay at our cottages. Look into these two shops nearby.

Bike Station Ballater

Photo by Mpho Mojapelo

This bike shop offers customers equipment to be hired for the day or bought. They have a large collection of bikes that include mountain bikes, road bikes, and even e-bikes for cyclists and riders of all abilities. Though they specialize in bicycles, don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions for where to dine, walk or shop.

Their hiring services are affordable too with prices starting as shown below:

  • Mountain Bike – £20
  • Full Suspension Mountain Bike – £45
  • Alloy Full Suspension – £30
  • E-bike – £30
  • Kids Bikes – £10

On the other hand, here are their starting prices for bikes you can purchase:

  • Mountain Bike – £2,339
  • Road/Gravel Bike – £1,399
  • E-Bike – £3,995
  • All Around E-Bike – £1,995
You can visit Bike Stations website for more information.

Cycle Highlands

Photo by Lukas Smith

Cycle Highlands in Ballater has been providing high-quality bikes and cycling gear for 16 years. The shop specialises in big cycling brands like Santa Cruz, Merida, and Juliana on top of other brands the shop carries. This shop is for you if you’re a cyclist with specific needs in mind.

You can buy or hire Santa Cruz or Juliana bikes and hire a guide if you’re new to the area are looking for local insight into Ballater’s cycling and mountain biking tracks.

  • Bikes for Purchase – £3,499
  • Bikes for Hire – £80
  • Guides – £150

The Best Cycling Routes in Scotland Are Made By You

The cycling roads in Scotland are perfect

Image by Miren Hayek

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed now with all the choices you’ve just read but I hope that there has been something in here that has made the prospect of a cycling in Scotland a little more possible- but it is no less special.

Because nothing really beats nature, getting out there feeling part of it. Whether it be cycling on the road or strolling along Scotland’s many walks alone or with the ones you love being with the most.

The perfect cycling routes aren’t the most popular, they’re the ones made by you. Their ones you love the most, that’s why they’re the best and, if you want them to be, it’s where your best moments can be.

To say goodbye for now, here’s a video of all the places you can go from coast to coast summed up in one beautiful trip. Pro tips from Mark Beaumont on what to eat and drink are in there too.

I know you’ll enjoy the journey on any of these cycle routes in Scotland. I’m rooting for you!

Skiing in the Cairngorms: Top Ski Resorts

Skiing in the Cairngorms: Top Ski Resorts

Did you know that the Cairngorms were the training grounds of 18 of the world’s winter Olympians? That’s right! You’re in the right place if you’re feeling like a champ and want to ski like an Olympian. Or maybe you’re just looking for reasons to go skiing in the Cairngorms and wondering what ski resorts you can go to. 

You can take your pick from the Glenshee Ski Centre, the Lecht 2090, and Cairngorm Mountain as your outdoor playground for winter sports. In this article, I’ll be sharing their overviews that will give you reasons to go skiing in the Cairngorms this winter.

Let’s get into it.

Skiing in the Cairngorms National Park

Scotland offers great skiing options
Photo by Daniël Hartog on Unsplash

The Cairngorms National Park is Britain’s largest national park with an area covering 4,528 sqm wide and summits that reach up to 900 metres in height. It’s no wee park for sure which is why it’s able to offer so many wintersports to visitors. It’s located at Grantown-on-Spey in the northeast.

The snowiest time of the year in the Cairngorms begins in November and lasts until April and even May. Check out the webcams to see if the snow has fallen so you can start skiing in the Cairngorms. 

There’s always something for everyone at the Cairngorms. So even if you’re just a beginner, there are plenty of nursery slopes to try out. Seasoned skiers, on the other hand, will always find trails to blaze as they discover new sides of the mountain or rediscover old favorites. Read more to find out about skiing at Cairngorms through Scotland’s ski resorts below.

Beginner Friendly Skiing At The Lecht

The Lecht ski centre is a resort that’s best for a family holiday and those just beginning to ski. What makes it friendly for beginners is its slope called the “magic carpet”. Its width gives them enough space to practice new techniques while its gentle slope makes it easy to gain confidence. Moreover, it’s easier to get back up again if they trip.

Additionally, families can go out for meals, choose equipment for hire, and enjoy lounge areas at the Lecht’s day lodge. A skiing holiday at Scotland can’t get any better than this.

Getting there is easy as the Lecht ski centre is just beside the village of Tomintoul and is a short drive away from cosy Ballater. 

Challenging Black Runs at Glenshee

To tell the truth, the journey to Glenshee is part of the experience just as much as skiing. To get there, you can take the snow roads, a 90-mile adventure that will take you on a scenic winter drive from Blairgowrie to Grantown-on-Spey. If you don’t have time for the long road, don’t worry. Glenshee is only a 30 minute drive from Ballater, where our holiday cottages are.

Skiing at Glenshee ski centre is for the brave. It’s  black runs, the Glas Maol and the Tiger are Scotland’s longest and steepest runs with lengths of 2km and 2.5km respectively, making them popular slopes to conquer by avid skiers. Novices can also have a go, as the resort has nursery slopes too

Challenge Accepted: Skiing in the Cairngorm Mountain Resort

Saving the best for last is the Cairngorm Mountain Resort, home to the challenging Core na Ciste and 6 different red runs. It’s no wonder the winter Olympians trained at Cairngorms because the slopes will really sharpen your skills! 

Although Cairngorm Mountain is known for its difficult skiing trails, everyone is more than welcome as the resort also has green and blue runs for beginners.

Aside from the type of runs, Cairngorm Mountain also has slopes with the longest lasting snow. You can go skiing here up to mid-April and May in a good year. In fact, you can just keep on coming back for more anytime during the skiing season.

Cairngorm Mountain is also accessible from Ballater via the A939. Arrive in not more than an hour and a half. Enjoy the scenic drive while on the way! Skiing at Cairngorm Mountain and driving there will make for an incredible winter holiday.

Skiing in The Cairngorms and More

Telling you all about skiing in the Cairngorms hopefully inspired you to visit Scotland. Here are additional comprehensive guides from locations to equipment to get you started on your winter adventure: 

If you’re into walking more than skiing, you can discover inspiring walking routes in Ballater here. Whatever you decide to do during the holidays, I’m sure you’ll enjoy! And you’ll surely discover that “only in Scotland can travelling so little make such a big difference”.

Walking

The Best Ballater Walks

There are many things to in the Cairngorms National Park. The nature around the area is stunning and you will feel encouraged to see the landscape from all altitudes.

For you to do less research and more discovering we have shared the best walks from around Ballater. Walks will have a detailed description of the route, length, starting point and some images all so you can choose what best suits you on your day out in the Cairngorms.

Different days for different activities… you can find more things to do in Ballater by looking through our inspirational guides on castles, cycling and much more.

Discover The Best Walks in Ballater

Sgor Buidhe Circuit, Ballater

Sgor Buidhe Circuit, Ballater

Sgor Buidhe Circuit Walk Starting Point: Restored Railway Station. Distance: 11.67km / 7.25 miles Time: 3-3.5 hrs Ascent: 410m Enjoy enchanting views of Royal Deeside The clue is in the name: Sgor Buidhe, meaning yellow peak in Gaelic, is an uphill walk that delivers stunning views of the valley below and neighbouring mountains. The terrain is varied, taking you up […]
Craigendarroch Oakwoods

Craigendarroch Oakwoods

Craigdendarroch may be a small hill, but it has a big place in the affections of Ballater folk. It is a steep walk, but when you reach the top you will be rewarded with superb views across Ballater and all the way to Cairngorms.
Lochnagar from Glen Muick

Lochnagar from Glen Muick

The Famous Lochnagar Walk Starting point: Car Park up Glen Muick. Distance: 19km / 11.75 miles. Time: 6-7 hours. Ascent: 930m. Explore beautiful landscapes in the Cairngorms Lochnagar is the most popular mountain of the Cairngorms. From the high Lochnagar ridge you will have superb views of the Cairngorms and the moorlands of the Balmoral estate. Along this track you […]
Seven Bridges and Knock Castle, Ballater

Seven Bridges and Knock Castle, Ballater

There are plenty of things to do in Ballater and one of these is hiking through the beautiful highlands. 7 Bridges has water, mountains and much more just on your doorstep. You can follow our step-by-step guide and enjoy a relaxed day in the nature.

When can I go for some of these Ballater walks?

The Cairngorms National Park has plenty of options for walking through the landscapes in all seasons. The ever changing surroundings will make you think that the same trek you went on just months earlier, was in a completely different country all together.

In the middle of the Cairngorms is Ballater. Experience new opportunities by opening your front door, and start a journey towards mythical munroes, a picture-esque loch or pay a visit to the royal villages delicatesse in the centre of Ballater. Walk now!

Cycling in the Cairngorms

Cycling in the Cairngorms

Whether you are into road or mountain biking there are some incredible routes in this area of natural beauty. You can opt to bring your own bike or choose to hire from one of the local rental shops. If this type of outdoor adventure is new to you or you’d like help finding something off the main tourist trails you could opt to hire a local guide.

In this section we have gathered the best cycling routes – mainly from Cairngorms – but also further afield to give you appetite for getting on to the road wherever you are in Scotland. Cycling is just the best way to get around, right? Read more below where there will be extensive guides on all types of cycling.

Mountain Biking in the Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National park offers world class facilities for any mountain biking holiday. Stunning views, challenges of a life time and so many trails, that one visit just won’t be enough. Read below about some of the mountain biking trails in the Cairngorms.

Best Mountain Biking Routes in The Cairngorms

Best Mountain Biking Routes in The Cairngorms

Mountain biking may seem like purely an extreme sport, but did you know it's great for de-stressing too? I mean, it can be physically tiring but the flow you get into when mountain biking in the Cairngorms is great for getting your adrenaline going and clearing your head. The views are incredible and the routes to ride round here are endless.

A great resource for mountain bikers wanting to stay up to date is DMBINS – you can follow local initiatives on their site. 

Road Cycling in the Cairngorms

The dramtatic landscape of the Scottish nature is best experienced by pedaling through it. Here, you can read about cycling routes in Scotland for every level. 

Cycling for the Family

Coming soon…

Bike Hire In Ballater

Do you want to hire a bike while in the Highlands? Here you can see where to hire a bike in Ballater.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding in the Cairngorms National Park

Enjoy the thrill of Skiing and Snowboarding in the Cairngorms at one of the local ski resorts. You can base yourself in Ballater with multiple ski centres within 40 minutes drive. Have a look at Lecht Ski Centre, Glenshee Ski Centre or Cairngorm Mountain and experience skiing in the highlands.

The Cairngorms National Park offers cross-country skiing, nordic skiing & alpine skiing. You can read much more about where specifically in our articles below. 

Top recommendations for Skiing in the Cairngorms

Carry Snow Chains

Coming soon…

Rent in town

Coming soon…

check the roads

Coming soon…

Have a back up plan

Coming soon…