As someone who walked across Scotland not all that many years ago, trust me when I tell you the country is worth exploring under human power. Now a new guidebook will help bikepackers do just that.
Bikepacking Scotland is the second book by BikepackingScotland.com founder, bikepacking adventuerer, and stunning filmaker Markus Stitz. The first was Great British Gravel Rides, published last year. In his most recent volume, Stitz concentrates on the country he’s called home for 14 years, getting cyclists further off the main roads and onto tracks less travelled.
Bikepacking Scotland — a guidebook for adventurous cyclists
“For me, cycling is one of the purest ways to discover Scotland off the beaten track, leaving no other trace than a few tire marks. All the bikepacking adventures I have had in Scotland have created lasting memories, even though at times it was a steep learning experience,” Stitz said in a press release.
“Scotland isn’t an easy country to cycle in when it throws its weather at you. You will fondly remember the first time you sink your feet into its famous bog, or when a cloud of midges surrounds you. But you will also be blown away by the wonderful scenery, no matter where you go,” the author continued.
Even though Scotland is roughly the size of South Carolina, you won’t be stuck for route choices. Bikepacking Scotland offers 20 multi-day routes in a range of difficulties, lengths, and bike types — road, gravel, and mountain bike-friendly routes are all represented.
This is a news story, not a review — I haven’t read the book and can’t vouch for things like if the stated difficulties align with reality, or if the information presented is accurate. But I like that the routes cover the whole country and offer experiences from epic Highland pedaling in Cairngorms National Park to whisky-sipping rides on Islay.
Each route in the book comes with a description, an overview map, points of interest, food and lodging recommendations, and a link to downloadable GPX file.
Stitz also went out of his way to plan carbon-friendly routes — a choice that also benefits travelers in the country who may not have access to a car.
“Fourteen of the routes are directly accessible by train or bus services that transport bikes, four routes start and finish within two kilometers from a train or bus station, and only two itineraries require a longer cycle to either start or finish,” the book’s press materials state.
Bikepacking Scotland officially drops later this week on May 18, timed to coincide with Scotland’s hosting of the Cycling World Championships. But you can already pre-order purchase a signed copy at Stitz’s website for £20. And if you live in Edinburgh, Markus will probably deliver it to you by bike!