As an island nation, no point in the UK is far away from water -whether that’s the salty stuff that separates us from our cousins across the Channel or the freshwater bodies that are replenished all too often by our rather damp climate.
This is even more true of Endura’s Scottish homeland, where firths and sea lochs divide a land peppered with lochs and lochans and surrounded to no less than 790 offshore islands. Boats – both big and small – open up miles of tracks for riders with a spot of wanderlust and we’ve picked out five of our favourite boat assisted trips for you. Anchors away!
Fife Coastal Path and John Muir Way
The Firth of Forth was once criss-crossed by ferries, but nowadays only one remains, a summer only trip from North Berwick to Anstruther that takes 45 minutes. The ferry closes a loop of the outer firth with the Forth Road Bridge allowing a long day in the saddle using a combination of the Fife Coastal Path and the John Muir Way.
Find out more about the Fife Coastal Path and John Muir Way.
The Five Ferries
A well known classic that we last rode on a sweltering day in the height of a summer – an unbelievably scenic 110km road ride which uses five Caledonian MacBrayne ferries to make a loop around the Firth of Clyde, hopping between the mainland, the Isle of Arran and the Isle of Bute and back again. It can be enjoyed in a day or split to let you add on extras or enjoy at a more leisurely pace.
Find out more about Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferry services here.
Isle of Mull Cyclocross
There’s nothing quite like Cross at the Castle at Glengorm on the Isle of Mull. A double-header of cyclocross races in December, on a Scottish island, in the grounds of a castle with views that stretch to the Outer Hebrides. The weekend traditionally features the final round of the Scottish Cyclocross Series on Saturday, followed by the very unofficial Santa Cross World Championships on Sunday that features all sorts of weird, wonderful and occasionally dodgy Christmas themed fancy dress outfits. Did we mention that there’s a distillery in town too?
Visit the Scottish Cyclocross website for 2018/19 dates.
Skye, South Rona and Raasay
Islands are made for adventure, exploration, wild camping and bothying. Catch the Aspire, a converted fishing boat, from Portree for some trail bashing and wildlife spotting on the tiny island of South Rona before hitching a lift with a local on a much, much smaller boat to the north tip of Raasay. A stay in remote Taigh Thormoid Dhuibh bothy allows a few drams to be sunk whilst watching White Tailed Eagles soar above Eilean Tigh. Then head south down Raasay and take the diversion to cross the causeway to Eilean Fladday before heading for the “big” ferry and a return to civilisation on Skye.
Find out more about the Mountain Bothies Association.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is Scotland’s most iconic long distance walking path, but it also features on the bucket list of MTB and adventure riders. Running from Glasgow to Fort William, the 154km route can be split into as many days as you like or knocked off in just one big ride if you’re fit enough. One common trick is to us a ferry to avoid the only bit that doesn’t work that well on two wheels. Running regularly from Inversnaid to Tarbert, a quick boat trip allows rider a bypass the crappy bit easily.
Find out more information about the West Highland Way.