the william wallace trail

trail part 1: Deeside & the Cairngorms

National Geographic magazine describes Deeside & the Cairngorms as one of the ‘Top 50 Last Great Places on Earth’ – a ‘destination of a lifetime’.


The trail

Leaving the beaches of the Aberdeenshire coastline, you will bike into Royal Deeside which has more castles per square mile than any other part of Scotland. The British Royal Family have holidayed here since 1848 when Queen Victoria first fell in love with the area. You will follow in royal footsteps and ride along the old Deeside Railway, a Victorian Heritage Trail that has been converted into a bike track.

Moving into the heart of Scotland, you will discover the Cairngorms, where some of the most cherished scenery in the Scottish Highlands provides a natural playground for mountain bikers. Cairngorms National Park is an area of Munros (Scottish hills over 3000 ft), with shimmering lochs, ancient Caledonian pinewood forests and vast moorlands. With its heather-clad hills, the landscape is breathtaking throughout. Prepare to ride on some of the best-kept secrets as far as singletrack cycling is concerned, through beautiful birch and ancient Caledonian pine forests.

Riding surface

You start with a gentle warm up: an easy disused railway line, before picking up a mixture of singletrack forest trails and 4-wheel-drive tracks. Expect cross-country mountain bike trails perfect for all ability levels, as well as gentle rolling hills and some steep climbs.

Average mileage

You will cycle an average daily distance of 65km to 80km, 80% off-road, with an average ascent of 1000 metres. On the second day, you will tackle an ascent of 1500 metres as we climb towards Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands (1132 feet).

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