Mountain Biking Scotland

Mountain Biking in Scotland Cairngorms National Park – 13-20 July 2019

This trip is broken down into two segments : Mountain Biking Tour in Scotland and Road Trip back to London.

For the first part, nine of us (including two new Big Foot Tour members) are heading to the Cairngorms National Park for a week of guided mountain biking based in one hotel in Aviemore. We are taking this trip CAIRNGORMS ADVENTURE SCOTLAND by H+I Adventures ( https://www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/bike-tours/cairngorms-adventure-scotland )

As it turned out that we were lucky that we arranged for a private group. The trip was designed more for more serious mountain bikers than our gang who prefer to concentrate on great biking experience in gorgeouse settings. Our group’s primary goal is to go to gorgeous places by bike.

So after the first day, the guides realized that and helped to customize (tone down) the trips to fit with our group.

In short, this trip is highly recommended for serious mountain bikers who enjoys challenging guided rides on great rental mountain bikes (we had 4,xxx Pound full-suspension Yeti bikes) in amazingly gorgeous and remote area.

But for Big Foot Tour, I will have to make sure I study the details of the trips a bit more before deciding.

Anyway, for this trip, we were led into so many amazingly wonderful and remote (we only met 2 other bikers over the 6 days of biking) that I cannot even describe it on the day-by-day basis. So I am just going to post a series of picture that would give you the sense of amazement where we rode to in the Cairngorms National Park.

Road Trip from Inverness to London (20-25 July 2019)

We rented a car from Inverness Airport on the last day of the mountain bike trip and five of us drove down to London over 5 days stopping along the way. In summary, all the Big Foot Tour members found the route to be rather boring and very crowded with Summer tourists.

We started out with a fun 3 hours Kayaking in Lochness ( http://www.explorehighland.com/paddle-loch-ness/ ) which was cool and a lot of fun. It was windy as usual for the Scotland’s lakes, so it was and added adventure. It took almost two hours to paddle out against the wind while paddling back with then wind took just a little over 40 minutes. After that we drove another hour and just stopped for the night in Dumbarton.

For April 2020, Big Foot Tour will have a biking trip on the Thames River so I was looking for a place to visit after our bike trip and someone suggested that I look at Lake District area. We drove down to Windermere and booked a B&B and it was a total disappoinment : crowded, traffic clogged roads, and we ended up with the rudest B&B hosts (Rayrigg Villa) . So within 1 hour off getting there, we crossed off the Lake District from our list.

The next day, we could not get out of there fast enough and we drove to Cotswold and booked the hotel in Stow-on-Wold for two nights. Our plan was to book eBikes and to ride around the Cotswold area for one and a half day. The hotel, (Wyck Hill House Hotel ) was nice to look at but the stay was rather disappointing. The rooms do not have airconditioning, the Wifi do not work in the rooms and was marginal at best in the lobby. But that was not the most disappointing issues with trying to set up a biking holidays in the Cotswold.

We rented eBikes and they were delivered to our hotels right on time and were in pretty good conditions so no complaint there. But we soon found out that there are practically no dedicated bike trails in Cotswold. Most of the roads that were deemed to be “quiet roads” were actually quite narrow with no bike lanes and there were constantly have traffic on them. Most of the routes go through agriculture fields so there were not many trees. And we did have to cross over highways with cars zooming by at 60+ miles per hour and even had to ride along the highway some. We got lost many times as the map provided was rather poor and there were not many signage for bikers.

The worst part of it was that the local were really rude. When we got lost and tried to find our ways to the destinations, instead of pointing out the correct ways, all they do were to yelled and scream for us to just turn around. It was such a bad experience that we cancelled the plan ride for the following day and have totally crossed out Cotswold from any future trip.

The next day we just took off to do some shopping (nothing interesting except COSTCO) and then go to the hotel near Heathrow. We were so eager to get out of England that we changed to the earlier flight to Bangkok.

At least now we know that after we finied with the bike ride along the Thames in April 2020, we will head out to a road trip in South East Wales instead.

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