Ride of a Lifetime | Intermediate

Ride with the Gods of mountain biking

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"This is a ride of a lifetime you will never forget!”

Ride of a Lifetime™

Fort William World Cup Exclusive

Our guides have cherry-picked the best mountain bike routes on this road trip from the south to the north of Scotland and our final destination – Fort William World Cup. This trip is full of surprises. We are so excited, we want to tell you what they are, but we don’t want to spoil all the surprises. Just trust us on this one! All we can say is you will get to ride in some very special places, meet some of the biggest legends in the mountain bike world and you will complete this epic experience by immersing yourself in what is Scotland’s biggest mountain bike event of the year – the Fort William World Cup beneath the mighty Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.

The Trip

Our journey starts in the Tweed Valley, only 30 miles south of Edinburgh, and gradually we make our way north with our first stop Highland Perthshire’s emerging shining star Dunkeld, through to the epic Cairngorms on an unforgettable road trip that culminates at Fort William in the shadow of the UK’s highest peak Ben Nevis.

  • Type of TripAll-mountain
  • Technical Grading
  • Endurance Grading
  • How Long? 7 nights / 8 days (Monday to Monday)

Trip Highlights

  • An expertly curated week-long mountain bike adventure showcasing Scotland’s ultimate rides
  • Ride with legends of the sport
  • Exclusive complimentary use of Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles
  • Two days soaking up the spectacle that is Fort William World Cup including weekend gondola passes
  • Exclusive access to meet World Cup athletes
  • Exclusive goodies from our friends at Endura
  • Professional Guides – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
  • Seven night’s bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Logistics and comprehensive support including backup vehicle, First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
  • Detailed pre-departure information
  • Trip photos and video

Trip Dates

  • June 1st to 8th (Monday to Monday)

Essential Information

Itinerary*

Monday

Today we welcome you to the Tweed Valley! Meet your awesome guides and the rest of the crew over a coffee, and we’ll give you a run-down of all the exciting plans (and people) we’ve got lined up for the rest of the week.

We’ll be hitting the trails and giving you a taste of what we love to ride in this area, and if you don’t already know, you’ll catch a glimpse of why the Tweed Valley is recognised as one of Europe’s best mountain biking destinations.

We’ll be staying over in the Tweed Valley for the night, so once you’ve had some post ride downtime we’ll head over to the local pub for a lovely meal and a nightcap before settling down for a great night’s rest before the fun begins all over again!

Tuesday

We hit the road after breakfast and make our way north to Dunkeld (AKA Funkeld) known as the gateway to the Highlands – guaranteed you’ll be in the ‘whoop zone’ discovering some of Dunkeld’s hidden gems. It’ll be fast and flowy all the way with lots of natural roots and rocks to keep things interesting. After making it down the first trail, you’ll be pedalling back up for more. There’s so much choice in Funkeld!

We’ll be sticking around to enjoy the delights of Dunkeld, a vibrant little town. This part of Scotland has a lot going for it to compliment the great riding, so we’ll make sure to show you a little of the special character of the area and some of its fine Scottish food.

Wednesday

Next stop, the Cairngorms – it’s time to head into the big mountains of Scotland’s most beautiful national park; new trails and new views to blow your socks off! Roughly translated as The Red Mountains, the Cairngorms is known for its granite slabs, once a rosy red pink hue, now grey with a covering of lichen and mosses – makes for incredible mountain scenery.

Big ups for big downs, amazing natural heathery singletrack, and big smiles; it’s all there to be earned. By now you’ll be getting your eye in, and hopefully understanding why we just love to ride in Scotland. A mix of fast natural heathery singletrack, granite slabs and long steep descents are the rewards for today’s efforts.

This will be our base for a couple of days so kick back, relax and enjoy the surroundings. We’ll probably give in to the lure of the local pub at some point and enjoy some great grub, a tasty ale and the buzz from shredding some of the funnest descents anywhere.

Thursday

We’ll head over to experience the granite flow of Laggan Wolftrax near Newtonmore – fun flowy trails with some off piste options to spice it up a bit.

Once we’ve had a bite to eat at the Laggan lunch stop cafe, based at the foot of the trails, we’ll then swing back to our cosy accommodation and no doubt will be ready to crack open the beers and rustle up a hearty dinner or nip out and enjoy some local pub grub and ale of course!

Friday

After a hearty breakfast, it’ll be time to hit the road for an epic all-dayer, through dramatic glens, epic climbs, epic descents before the final mighty drop to the heart of Fort William. Three epics, yes it’s a biggie!!

This’ll be one of those ‘three sandwich days’ where we’ll be fully immersed in the mountains with the most amazing views to die for. On this ride we’ll head along the West Highland Way where you might be lucky and get your first glimpse of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s (and UK’s) highest mountain.

As we roll into town, we’ll no doubt end with a celebratory libation of your choice and as we make our way to our base for the next few days, we’ll get ourselves organised and talk through our plans for the next few days and reveal all the exciting stuff we’re about to embark upon at the World Cup!

We’ll also sample some of Fort William’s best cuisine in the evening and reflect on the amazing adventure so far.

Saturday and Sunday

It’s the World Cup and you’re invited!

It’s the biggest and best mountain bike festival in the world and you will have exclusive access to watch the pinnacle race event on the world’s mountain biking stage including VIP access to the world’s top mountain bike athletes.

We’ll be watching the best of riding – accessing the mountain gondola that travels above the course, giving a bird’s eye view of the action – it really is the best way to appreciate the speed, technique and commitment of the riders as they do battle with the mountain.

If you’ve not been to the World Cup at Fort William before you’ll have experienced nothing like it. The atmosphere is electric!

We won’t say too much more other than be prepared for the unexpected…

Monday

There’s always mixed feelings on the final day of any tour, but we’re hopeful the memories of this special week will stay with you long after we say our farewells.

After a relaxed breakfast, we’ll sort out our kit, take one last look at this incredible part of Scotland before starting our homeward journey south…time to say our goodbyes.

*The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but the route, schedules, itineraries, amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local conditions, circumstances or events.

Trip Grading


We want you to pick the right mountain bike trip in Scotland for your fitness and technical ability – it helps ensure you’ll be riding with people of a similar skill level and can ride at the pace you want to ride at.

We’ve developed a trip grading based on our experience riding the terrain that features on our trips, as well as meeting and learning from riders from all over the world and understanding their expectations. Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure you pick a mountain bike holiday in Scotland suited to your skill and fitness. If you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us.

Technical Ratings

This trip will be enjoyed by riders who rate themselves 3 or above for technical ability.

The goal of the Technical Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to obstacles, conditions and trail design. This means it has nothing to do with your physical endurance, but is instead strictly a measure of your technical ability. Making sure you accurately rate your technical ability will ensure you have an exciting ride, while remaining within your ability level to keep you safe.

We use ‘+’ to designate when a trip is at the top of a grading e.g 2+ is just below grading 3; and ‘++’ when a trip grading subsumes all other higher gradings e.g. 3++ would be suitable for 3+ riders as well as grading 4 and 5 riders.

Rating: 3

You are a confident mountain biker and have been riding technical terrain for at least 2 years including exposed singletrack and rough landrover track, on uneven, loose and frequent steep gradients, with frequent variation in trail surfaces from rocks to roots. You are comfortable riding on trails approximately 12 inches wide that vary greatly in their stability and may be unpredictable including loose rock. You are comfortable regularly traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, logs and drop offs up to 15 inches tall, and some obstacles encountered may exceed that.

Rating: 4

You are an expert mountain biker and have been riding expert level trails for at least 5 years. You think of yourself as a ‘mountain biker’ and you already know that the more competent a bike handler you are beforehand, the more you’ll get from the trip; you’re confident riding unpredictable terrain and using bunny hopping and front/rear wheel lifting techniques and relish unpredictable, varied natural ungraded trail surfaces including a mix of flowy and loose rocky or rooty singletrack, landrover tracks, steep technical climbs (including hike-a-bike sections) and descents, frequent rocks, slabs and water bar drainage features.

You are comfortable riding on trails of any width that are highly unstable and are completely unpredictable including loose rock. You are comfortable regularly traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, logs and drop offs well over 15 inches tall, and many obstacles encountered will exceed that. You are comfortable riding any technical trail features that may be present on the trail.

Rating: 5

Level 5 is reserved for our Level 4 Expert riders who live and breath mountain biking and take every opportunity to manual, nose-wheelie and bunnyhop the trails. You love the biggest, most technically challenging trail features – up or down. Speaking of which, you also know that in order to go down, you must pedal (and carry) up and can handle any trail conditions or obstacles identified in Level 4.

Endurance Ratings

This trip will be enjoyed by riders who rate themselves 3 or above for endurance.

The goal of the Endurance Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to overall physical endurance. Riding on the road or in “Spin Class” is great and all, but mountain biking is a completely different animal (ask anyone who has made the switch). The reason being is that the terrain is changing every second, which forces your entire body and your mind to be involved in the exercise process. This exertion will cause exhaustion to set in a lot quicker than you think. Be sure you read the descriptions carefully because we want you to have fun out there, not think this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Rating: 3

You are an avid mountain biker riding twice a week or more, and the weather isn’t a big factor for you. You are at an above-average fitness level, and regularly do other activities that qualify as exercise. You usually find yourself riding for 3 hours on the trails, you’ll ride on consecutive days, and you ride at a moderate pace.

Rating: 4

You are a very avid mountain biker, who is considered an ‘athlete’ by friends and only getting out on the trails twice in the week is a bad week for you. Riding and exercising is a frequent part of your weekly routine: you relish sustained challenging riding including long rides of 4 – 6 hours at a moderate pace for four or more days in a row. The weather is never a factor for you, rain or shine – you are riding.

Rating: 5

You are fit! You devour 6 – 8 + hour rides for five or more days in a row. You are an XC or Enduro racer who probably missed their flight to the World Cup / Enduro World Series this year because you were too busy training so you opted to come for a ride with us instead. You train on your mountain bike daily, and you are comfortable riding on trails for distances in excess of 60km per day and climbing vertical in excess of 7000 feet in a day. You ride your bike everywhere, in all weather conditions, and would likely enjoy riding in a hurricane.

Accommodation


Where we stay during our mountain bike tours of Scotland plays almost as big a part in the overall experience as the trails we ride.

We use a wide variety of accommodation, from wild camping and bothy huts in remote wilderness settings to rustic hostels through to comfortable and friendly inns and guest houses, luxury self catering lodges, castles and everything in between.

B&B / Lodge

On this trip, we stay in a mixture of B&B and ‘lodge’ style accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

Our handpicked accommodation provide a fantastic base in a prime location to come back to at the end of a big day in the hills.

Food & Drink


Mountain biking in Scotland means you will be hungry (very hungry!) and there are opportunities to enjoy great fresh Scottish fayre and of course a dram or two and a fine local ale if you enjoy a tipple.

Breakfasts

Breakfasts are included and all dietary requirements are taken into account from your booking.

Lunches

​There will be opportunities for you to buy packed lunch provisions to carry on the rides, or, depending on routes we may enjoy a great cafe stop or lunch at a traditional Inn (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

Evening Meals

Some meals are enjoyed in locally selected inns and bistros, and for the rest, provisions will be purchased on your behalf by ourselves to enjoy preparing meals at the accommodation facilities.

Budget

We estimate a budget of £20 to £35 per person per day is adequate for lunches and evening meals with refreshments.

Buying Provisions

During the course of the trip, you will have access to a great selection of lunch, snack and alcohol supplies.

Included

Included

An expertly curated week-long mountain bike adventure showcasing Scotland’s ultimate rides

Five days professional mountain bike guiding plus two days hosting at Fort William World Cup

Exclusive complimentary use of Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles

An opportunity to meet and ride with legends of the sport

Complimentary Fort William World Cup weekend gondola passes

Exclusive opportunity to meet World Cup athletes

Exclusive goodies from Endura

Seven night’s bed and breakfast accommodation

Professional Guides (two minimum) – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!

Free transport (start/finish of the trip)

Free shuttles throughout the trip

Backup vehicle

Qualified first aid assistance

Mechanical assistance throughout your trip

Detailed pre-departure information

Trip photos and video

Excluded

Meals and drinks except breakfasts and those stated above

Travel Insurance

Personal Equipment

Additional transportation or accommodation should you be unable to complete the trip

Extras

Equipment Rental

Vehicle Rental

Additional accommodation before, during or after the trip

Additional transportation

Baggage / bike box collection & storage

Single room supplement (if applicable)

Logistics

Outward Travel

Initial meeting point tbc

Return Travel

At the end of the trip, we will be arriving back in the Edinburgh (Park) area around 15:00/16:00, and Innerleithen by 16:00/17:00

Luggage & Bike Transportation

For all trips, there is allowance for one large holdall plus riding backpack per person

Regrettably, we do not have provision to store/carry bike bags and boxes during trips – please ask your accommodation e.g. in Edinburgh if they can store it for you; most will be happy to. Please request this service in advance

Bikes are securely carried (fully-assembled) and attached to our custom Burtech trailer and should be ready fully assembled for the trip start

We always recommend guest bikes are fully insured

Equipment

Suitable Bikes

A fully serviced 3 – 6 inch travel full suspension bike with dropper seatpost and hydraulic disc brakes is recommended

It’s entirely possible to take part in our trips on more modest setups or hardtails but we find that over the course of several consecutive days riding, the added comfort and confidence of a full suspension trail bike is a real asset, and enhances the overall experience

Demo Bikes

If you prefer not to travel with your bike, or you’d like to try something new, we have complimentary access to some of the best full suspension mountain bikes available from Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles

Groups & Individuals


We welcome solo and group travellers (a large proportion of our guests travel solo).

Booking


To secure a booking, we require a 25% deposit when the reservation is made, with the balance payable within 60 days of your booking commencement. For bookings made less than 60 days before booking commencement, full payment is required at the time of booking.

Expert Guides


Our guides are fully trained and qualified to the highest standards required to operate in the mountain environments where our trips take place.

Scotland is a beautiful but wild place. When you pay for our services, you’re paying for the reassurance that we know our way around the mountains, how to read people, the local conditions, logistics, fix mechanicals and always have a another ‘plan A’ up our sleeve.

As well as being extraordinarily great human beings (as standard!), all our mountain bike guides hold, as a minimum, the Mountain Bike Leader qualification and emergency outdoor first aid qualifications. We believe these to be the most robust and rigorous qualifications in the business and the minimum standard for running trips like ours in Scotland. They’re not easy to come by but your enjoyment is our business.

Safety


An adventure wouldn’t be an ‘adventure’ without a degree of risk. It’s our job to manage those risks so you have the best time possible. As well as substantial field first aid kits, your mountain bike guides will be packing (or distributing among the group) essential group emergency items including mobile telecom’s, VHF long-range radios, emergency survival shelters, and extra emergency clothing and supplies.

Speaking of guides – we operate with the highest ratio of professional guides to clients in the industry. The current regulations permit one guide per group of eight. We don’t agree this is acceptable. We’re a lot more comfortable with at least two staff per eight clients, and a maximum group size of eight in the sensitive mountain environments we run our trips. Sure, we might not be the most profitable outfit in the industry but we strive to be the safest.

We employ robust late back procedures, and every trip is fully risk assessed. While no one can guarantee a 100% safe trip, we do everything possible to minimise risks. And long before we depart we ensure the trip is suitable for you – none of this one size fits all approach – it simply doesn’t work.

Environment

Only one thing matches our desire to enjoy Scotland’s amazing outdoors and that’s our commitment to contribute to sustainable adventure tourism in Scotland.

We operate ‘small footprint’ mountain bike adventures to minimise any negative environmental impacts of running our business. We are often asked about running large group trips in remote, sensitive locations but in line with our safety and environmental policy – that’s not really our forté.

As well as being members of the key environmental organisations in Scotland, we encourage our clients to consider their interaction with the environments they are riding wherever possible. We also make use of local hospitality, products and services to ensure our trips contribute economically to the rural environments we enjoy so much. We took another small step in the right direction recently by becoming members of ‘1% for the Planet’. But we must do more.

Financial Protection

Consumer Financial Protection

Our Consumer Financial Protection insurance protects your money. This is in fact a legal requirement but not every adventure company even knows this and some choose to ignore it. Why? Because it’s expensive and complicated to become fully insured in this way, and not every application is accepted. Ours was. Your money is safe with us.

Tour Operators Liability

Did you know that in the UK it’s us, the tour operators, who are liable for all aspects of your mountain bike holiday bike package in Scotland? That’s why we have ‘Tour Operators Liability Cover’. Always ask your supplier if they have this insurance. You need it and they should have it.

Reviews


We work hard to maintain high professional standards but you probably wouldn’t know it because we’re having way too much fun. Ten years on it still puts the biggest smile on our faces when our clients take time out to tell us how much they enjoyed their mountain bike trip in Scotland. See what ‘Our Clan’ have to say about their mountain bike holiday on Google and via our trip reviews.

Trip Tips

Pack a camera! You will not want to miss a single moment of this once in a lifetime experience.

Ride of a Lifetime | Intermediate

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