In May, British Airways will launch daily, direct flights from London to Inverness meaning that the Scottish Highlands have gotten a lot easier to reach for adventure travelers. In fact, the country is so excited about the new flights and the opportunities that it presents, Visit Scotland, the country’s tourism board, spent the entire month of March promoting the country’s cycling and mountain biking experiences to target markets around the world.
H+I Adventures, operators of small-group, locally guided bicycling trips in 10 countries around the world, is a big fan of the Scottish Highlands, even referring to the region its favorite riding destination – which is not surprising because the tour operator is based in Inverness, Scotland. The company loves the region for its range of offerings, in particular its access to beginner, intermediate and expert trails that are punctuated by rolling, heather-clad hills, big skies, great local food and drink and more.
Currently, H+I offers four bike trips in Scotland that begin in Inverness. Departures are available throughout June, July and August, in time for the new British Airways flight from London.
Taking advantage of the new flight to Inverness, H+I has revived its Cairngorms Adventure Scotland trip. The Mountain Biking, Whisky Tasting + Classic Highlands Landscapes tour now includes a visit to Speyside Cooperage to learn the ancient art of coopering and its importance to whisky-making.
Cairngorms is the largest national park in the United Kingdom. It provides access to a wealth of landscapes, including Britain’s only Arctic environment.
The week-long adventure includes sampling a range of whiskies, sampling local ales, mountain biking in the only Arctic eco-system in the U.K., improving your biking skills with expertly trained guides, spotting wild reindeer and, of course, the Speyside Cooperage visit to learn the craft of whisky making.
The full itinerary includes a day to recover from travel, although for those coming from far away, H+I recommends allowing additional days to acclimate to the time zone.
The journey begins with a ride into the Rothiemurchus Forest and then over the Rocky road. The next day, guests head to Glen Feshie, one of the lesser traveled areas of Cairngorms National Park. Day four combines singletrack riding with single malt whisky and day five includes the Pass of the Cat, a narrow trail that requires squeezing through and over boulders and places when riders carry their bikes.
The sixth day finds guests at the Shelter Stone, a large, fallen boulder that allows just enough space for riders to squeeze through. The final celebratory meal of the trip takes place at River Ness before departures from Inverness.
Trip dates take place in May, July and September. May departures leave on the 28th, returning June 4. The second departure is July 9-16. Sept. 3-10 is the final departure for 2016.
H+I offers several other biking adventures in Scotland that travelers will now be able to take advantage of this summer with the new, convenient flight. The Coast-to-Coast Scotland, Tastes and Trails of Scotland and Torridon + Skye Scotland round out their Scottish Isles mountain bike offerings throughout the coming summer.
And, if Scotland isn't enough adventure for you, what about mountain biking in Nepal or stargazing and mountain biking the deserts of Namibia?