With the UCI Cycling World Championships coming to Scotland next month and Perthshire set to host the Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo road races on August 4th, we thought we’d take a look at just why this area is perfect for cycling.
East Perthshire offers miles of cycle tracks that wind their way through forests, mountain trails, along river pathways and quiet country roads and in hidden glens, criss-crossing the countryside, with something for cyclists of all ages, abilities and tastes.
Many of the quieter roads between Blairgowrie, Coupar Angus and Alyth are designated as walking and cycling friendly routes and are increasingly popular for family and social cycling as well as competitive road cycling events such as the Gran Fondo.
Then there’s Alyth Bike Park – a small trail centre just outside the town with a pump track and tracks of varying lengths around Alyth Hill, and a number of mountain trails around Blackcraig Woods at Bridge of Cally, Ballo Hill near Coupar Angus, and in and around Glenshee.
And as part of its commitment to regenerative tourism, the Cateran Ecomuseum has curated a number of cycling itineraries in the area.
Here’s our top five cycle routes in east Perthshire’s cateran country:
- Kitty Swanson’s Gravel Bike Gallivant – this is a mostly flat 15km long gravel route on the outskirts of Blairgowrie. Starting on a cycling friendly road out of the town, you head through farmland and alongside the beautiful Monk Myre Loch, a Site of Scientific Special Interest. The route follows a grassy path to Kitty Swanson’s Bridge and back into along the banks of the River Ericht.
- Three Towns Road Bike Ride – this route is a fairly straightforward 35km route between the historic towns of Blairgowrie, Coupar Angus and Alyth. You can spend a day exploring each of the towns as you ride between them, and can follow this broadly circular route in either direction. Cycling time is around two to three hours – depending on experience, fitness levels and the number of cake stops you make!
- Glenisla and Kilry Gravel Bike Trail – this route starts at Glenisla Village Hall and combines great off-road cycling with a fabulous quiet road, offering rewarding views and featuring parts of the Cateran Trail. Why not pop in to the Glenisla Hotel for refreshments after your ride?
- Monega Pass Mountain Bike Adventure – not for the faint-hearted, this 42km mountain bike ride on two ridges on the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park is up there with the best. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with stunning 360 degree views over mountains and glens, while the final section passes through woodland and past the beautiful Auchintaple Loch. Best enjoyed on clear and calm days, as the majority of the route is very exposed.
- Cateran Gran F
- ondo – as well as hosting the UCI Cycling World Championships Gran Fondo, we have our very own Gran Fondo route thanks to the Cateran Ecomuseum. Just a few kilometres short of the official Gran Fondo distance of 120km, this still challenging loop takes riders deep into the Ecomuseum and offers views and quiet roads that are nothing short of magnificent, with lovely coffee stops and a sprint finish through the Vale of Strathmore.
So wherever you choose to base yourself in Perthshire’s cateran country, it won’t take you long to get off the beaten track and enjoy the freedom of the great Scottish outdoors.
The sights, sounds and smells experienced from the saddle will help create a wealth of memories of treasured discoveries on meandering trails.
Find out more at www.visitcaterancountry.com/do/cycling-and-mountain-biking