A six day tour of Skye, starting and ending in Inverness, with bikes and transport provided by Ticket to Ride Highlands, the Highland’s leading bike hire and logistics specialists.
Skye, no other Scottish island conjures up quite the same feelings of mystery and excitement. Famous for its mountains and its history, Skye makes the ideal cycling adventure from Inverness.
Just get yourself to Inverness, without or without your bike, we can provide bikes and transport. You can cycle straight from Inverness, or use Ticket to Ride’s bike transport service to easily get to and from Skye, saving your energy and time to explore the island.
Here is our suggested itinerary, but we are as flexible as you, just let us know if would like something different. This is quite a tough tour, with a few tiring days. It can be made easier by making use of our bike taxi service or missing out one of the ‘big days out’ on Skye.
Time of year - we recommend cycling this tour from April to October inclusive.
N.B Ferries and accommodation - A great addition to this tour would be to hop over to Raasay or North Uist. As a foot passenger with a bike, you can just turn up and book onto ferries, but please do check all ferry times before you go, and we suggest you book you accommodation in advance too.
Time of year - we recommend cycling this tour from March to October inclusive.
N.B Ferries and accommodation - although, as a foot passenger with a bike, you will be able to turn up and book onto ferries, please do check all ferry times before you go, and we suggest you book you accommodation in advance too.
Day 1 - Inverness to Lochcarron. Arrive Inverness and make your way to the Ticket to Ride bike hire centre in Bellfield Park, IV2 4SZ. We can also collect you from Inverness airport or train or bus stations. At Ticket To Ride we will sort out your hire bikes, if you are hiring, and any other equipment you need. We can also transport you and your bikes over to the west coast to give you the maximum time possible exploring Skye, or you can get on your bike and set off straight from Inverness. Taking quiet roads on the south of the Beauly Firth, go through Beauly and Muir of Ord to get to Contin, gateway to the west. A short stint on the main A835 road takes you through to Garve where you take a left onto the quieter A832 across stunning moorland and mountain scenery to Achnasheen. Then a glorious long downhill run on the A890 all the way to the west coast. Reaching the sea loch, and with the smell of the sea all around you, take a short detour to get to Lochcarron for your overnight stay. Total miles - 60
Day 2 - Lochcarron to Portree via Plockton. Retrace your steps back to the A890, then follow the dramatic coast road, turning right after Stromeferry to take the small road to Plockton. The lovely village of Plockton makes a great lunch stop by the sea. Continue on the quiet wee road to Kyle of Lochalsh, and the bridge over to Skye. Enjoy the great views from the bridge and then continue on the main A87 to Broadford and Portree, your overnight stop and your base from which to explore Skye for the next couple of days. There are lots of places to visit in Portree and great ‘craic’ and folk music to be found most nights in the Isles Inn. Total miles - 60
Day 3 - Portree to Dunvegan to Portree. Your first ‘Big Day Out’ on Skye. Take the A87 north from Portree, turning left at the A850. Follow the A850 to Edinbane and then on to Dunvegan where you take a right to Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. The castle and its gardens are an interesting place to stop for an explore and you can have a bite of lunch at the Waterside cafe afterwards. Then take the A863 south and follow the coast down to Bracadale and the left turn onto the tiny B885 which takes you back across Skye, to your base at Portree. Total miles - 41
Day 4 - Portree to Uig to Portree. Your second ‘Big Day Out’ on Skye. Take the same route north as yesterday, but this time follow the A87 all the way up to what feels like the very edge of Skye at Uig. Fight off the temptation to hop on the ferry over to Harris or North Uist, because you have a another choice to make - your legs and the weather may decide for you. You can either take the A855 coast road to Duntulm and around the top of the Trotternish peninsula. Or cut straight across to the east coast of the peninsula on the tiny unclassified road, there’s a fair bit of climbing involved in this route, but the views as you reach the top are just incredible, and there is also the chance to explore the breath-taking Quiraing before joining the A855. Then it’s back to Portree, following the coast and enjoying the lovely views. A beer down by the harbour in Portree will give you a chance to swap stories from what’s sure to have been a remarkable day. Total miles - 46
Day 5 - Portree to Lochcarron. Following your footsteps or bike tracks back to the mainland, head south on the A87 to Broadford and then over the Skye bridge, escaping the main road once you get to Kyle of Lochalsh by taking the quiet wee road to Plockton. Lunch and a pint in Plockton to get your strength up, and then the wonderful coast road past Stromeferry (no ferry) round the sea loch to the village of Lochcarron to stop the night. The cafe in Lochcarron serves top notch cakes to replace the carbs you’ve burned off while cycling around Skye. Total miles - 57
Day 6 - Lochcarron to Inverness. Say goodbye to the West coast, and start the long, but fairly gentle climb up the A890 to Achnasheen. The wide open views and the peace and quiet make for excellent cycling and you’ll soon be at the watershed between the east and west coasts of Scotland. A small sign just after Achnasheen points to the way to an interesting place to stop for a few minutes. The memorial to pioneer military aviator, Captain Bertram Dickson, is one of those surprising and unexpected finds you get all over the Highlands. And the views are really cracking. Continue on the A832 turning right onto the A835 just before Garve. You can feel you’re leaving the wild west as you come through the pass to Contin. Rogie Falls is another great place to explore, with salmon leaping in the Autumn. Just after Contin, you turn right off the main road as you rejoin the quiet A832 to Muir of Ord. Having taken the south side of the Beauly Firth on your outward journey, why not choose the North shore for your return. Stay on the A832 through Muir of Ord for a few miles, until you reach a sign and a right run to Redcastle. Follow this charming, peaceful side road down to the waters of the firth and then stick to the coast all the way through Redcastle and Charlestown to North Kessock. Over the bridge, the cycle path takes you into Inverness. Follow the river upstream to get to Ticket to Ride bike hire in Bellfield Park, IV2 4SZ. Total miles - 60
Q. What kind of cycling tour is this?
A. This is a self-guided tour, ideal for reasonably fit riders with some cycle touring experience. It is all on-road but in areas where traffic volumes are low.
Q. How far will we be riding each day?
A. The distances covered each day are between 40 and 60 miles (65km - 97km).
Q. How easy is it to follow the route?
A. There are few roads in this area so there are reduced opportunities to take a wrong turn. Signposting is good and we provide a map. You can also download GPX files compatible with most GPS devices and smartphones.
Q. What should I take with me?
A. If you are staying in accommodation along the way, you’ll just need your cycling clothes (including good waterproofs), clothes to change into in the evening and food and drink for each day on the trail. There are plenty of shops in Portree where you can stock up. If you are camping, you’ll clearly need your camping gear too. We can hire you panniers to carry all your gear.
Q. What will the weather be like?
A. The weather in this part of the country is famously unpredictable. Between April and September it is unlikely to be frosty and in July and August the mean daily maximum temperature is 19°C. Around Inverness between June and August there are normally fewer than 30 days with rainfall of more than 1mm but it is wetter in the west. For all the facts see: www.metoffice.gov.uk
Q. Do I need to book in advance?
A. Yes, we recommend you book your bike hire and all accommodation in advance.
Q. Is this tour suitable for children?
A. Fit children aged 12 and over with experience of cycle touring should enjoy this trip. Customers have completed this trip with younger children in trailers but you might consider spreading the trip over more days if you're towing!
Q. Will my mobile phone work?
A. There is a good signal in most villages but in the more remote parts of the route you may lose signal for some time. You should not rely solely on phone mapping for navigation. Mobile Phone Coverage Maps
Q. Can I camp?
A. Yes. There are lots of camp sites along the route and we've listed some in the accommodation section. For information about wild camping see: Scottish Outdoor Access Code