Mountain bike holiday/vacation in Scotland

A mountain bike holiday/vacation in Scotland can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable mountain bike trips you Mountain bike holiday Scotlandwill ever make. You will be travelling through a country with thousands of years of history, steeped in culture, full of culinary delights and proud winner of the ‘Global superstar’ award by the international mountain bike association (IMBA) two years running!

How do you go about organising a trip like this?

It is not easy and takes a huge amount of time, but don’t worry,  here at H&I Adventures we have spent years researching, planning and riding all over the Highlands of Scotland in order to provide the premium mountain bike tours that we offer today.  We have spent the time riding on dead-end trails, eating in the ‘not so good’ cafes, staying in the average accommodation and getting lost when we had run out of food, so that you don’t have to!

We pride ourselves on the 3-star or above quality accommodation we use, the restaurants and cafes we visit during our tours, the excellent transport and obviously the world-class trails we ride.

Here are the pro’s and con’s of booking an organised tour:

Pro’s

  • Pay a single payment for your trip
  • High quality accommodation booked on your behalf, in the best locations
  • Transport and logistics taken care of
  • We are a fully insured and regulated adventure holiday provider operating within ‘The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992-SI 3288/1992
  • No driving all week
  • A guide to show you the best trails in the country, with no annoying wrong turns
  • Local knowledge of the best places to eat and alternative plans should we  need it during your trip
  • Knowledge of the Scottish flora and fauna

Con’s

  • Cost (If all trip costs are taken into account, you won’t be much better off on your own)
  • Apprehension about joining a group (No need to worry, your guide will work tirelessly to make the group gel)
  • Worried your skill level will be to low/high for group (During the booking process and holiday our team will make sure your needs are met)

We feel passionately about providing every mountain biking visitor to Scotland a top quality experience, from the first email or phone call to the post trip evaluation.

So if you would like to experience an organised trip for the first time or if you are a seasoned veteran, come and join us for the trip of a lifetime!

 

Coast-to-coast mountain bike holiday, Scotland

It has been a busy few months, so this is me just settling down to write up our May coast-to-coast mountain bike holiday. It was an interesting trip to say the least!

The trip started off on the right foot; it had been sunny and warm in the Highlands  of Scotland for the previous three weeks, I was driving to Edinburgh to pick up a group of coast-to-coast mountain bike adventurers from Alaska, Belgium, New York and Old York (England), the sun was shining and all planes and trains were on time – result!

Once we had reached our destination for the evening we got settled-in, built bikes and set off on a short ride around the local trails in Golspie, before returning for a fantastic dinner and a few local beers.  Once dinner was polished off we sat in front of the open fire, beer in hand, pouring (not the beer) over the maps and itinerary for the week ahead, then the “Have you heard the weather forecast?” question popped up, “yes” I said, and with the look on my face the group didn’t venture any further with that line of investigation….

Coast-to-coast mountain biking holidayIn the morning we got ready in record time and hit the trails in a westerly direction, as we would for the rest of the all-mountain coast-to-coast and we were pleasantly surprised that the weather was holding.  No sooner had we met up with Alex our driver/guide at around lunchtime, the heavens opened, and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.  So on reaching our destination of Ullapool we hung our clothes up to dry and sat ourselves in front of the fire in the local pub to dry out.

Unfortunately, the next day brought the worst summer weather we have ever experienced in Scotland for a long time.  Over breakfast we had a long discussion about our options, and decided that where we were supposed to be riding would be far too dangerous, so for the first time ever we had to resort to the van.  We went to a great café en route to the smallest distillery in Scotland at Lochewe (http://www.lochewedistillery.co.uk/) where we were shown around the traditional elicit Scottish whisky (Uisge Beatha ) distillery by one of the most charismatic people you will meet in Scotland.  Just don’t ask him about putting ice in your malt whisky! You have been warned!

The rest of the week’s weather was, well, changeable! We had to alter plans and adapt to suit the changing and interesting weather we were experiencing in Europe.  But that said, each night of our coast-to-coast mountain bike adventure brought smiles, red faces, tales of the day’s riding, celebratory beers and excellent food, not to mention a birthday cake.

With all the trials and tribulations behind us, the ride at the end of our Scottish coast-Drinks in Applecross after our coast-to-coast mountain bike rideto-coast into Applecross was all the more sweet, and the sun decided to pop its head out too! So after a round of drinks and cake on the beach, we got changed and made our way over to the world renowned Applecross Inn for some dinner and a few of their best local beers.

If you would like to find out more about our Coast-to-coast mountain bike adventure, you can see our trip itierary here.

Scottish food and drink

I touched on the subject of Scottish food and drink in our last blog post, and thought I would return to it in more depth.  The reputation of Scotland’s food culture has been tarnished in recent years, largely by the media, and we feel it is no longer justified since the quality of food in Scotland has improved greatly over the past ten years.

During a year of mountain biking holidays in Scotland we spend hundreds of nights staying away from home in B&Bs and family-run hotels, and eating out and we rarely find a bad meal.  During a season we have people from all over the world including mountain bikers from Canada, USA, Germany and France and they all arrive with negative views on Scottish food, but leave with a totally different opinion.

One common phrase we receive in feedback is “The food was excellent, which I really wasn’t expecting!” and that is not because we take customers to five-star restaurants. We use a mixture of cafes, hotels, restaurants and B&Bs where they serve home-cooked meals.  Yes, I do admit that we know the country better than the average visitor, so we hit the jackpot every time, but that is what you are paying for when you hire a bike guide; not just for your time on the bike, but for all the logistics and research that go in to helping you enjoy this wonderful country to the full.

Here are a couple of links to some great places in the Highlands:

Scottish foods – a great place to buy Scottish produce

Torridon Inn – Good food and a great selection of malt whisky

The Blue Shed Cafe – Amazing selection of coffee from around the world

The Old Library – Some of the best west coast produce cooked whilst looking out to sea

So, perhaps the next time you’re in Scotland you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and drink that we’re now producing. Give it a try!