The Best Motorcycle Routes in Scotland

Welcome to the Best Motorcycle Routes in Scotland guide. This article is packed with info on five brilliant routes, how to ride them, where to stay, top tips and loads more from an expert on motorcycle touring in Scotland. 

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

Contents

Picture of By Martin Williamson

By Martin Williamson

Aficionado of all things motorcycles and Scotland and MotoJoe tour guide

Motorcycle Touring in Scotland

Riding a motorcycle in Scotland is an unforgettable experience, and there are several reasons why someone would want to choose this beautiful country for a motorcycle tour.

Stunning scenery – Scotland is renowned for its breath-taking landscapes, from the rugged Highlands to the serene Lowlands. Riders will be treated to a diverse range of scenery, including dramatic mountains, pristine lochs, coastal roads, and picturesque glens. The ever-changing scenery ensures that every turn brings a new and awe-inspiring vista.

Twisty roads – Scotland is a motorcyclist’s dream with its winding, twisty roads that carve through the countryside. These roads offer a thrilling and challenging ride, perfect for those who love the thrill of cornering and navigating diverse terrain.

Rich history and culture – Scotland is steeped in history and culture. Riders can explore ancient castles, visit historic sites, and experience the warm hospitality of the Scottish people. The sense of history in the air adds depth to the riding experience.

Food and drink – Scotland is famous for its whisky, and there’s no better way to experience it than by touring a whisky distillery along your route. Additionally, Scottish cuisine offers a delicious array of flavours, from world renowned freshly caught seafood and of course the obligatory haggis, amongst many other local specialities.

Wildlife – Scotland’s natural beauty is also home to diverse wildlife. Riders may encounter cows, sheep, deer, birds of prey, and even seals along the coast. The chance to connect with nature is a unique aspect of riding in Scotland.

Challenging weather – Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable, but that’s part of the adventure. Riders should be prepared for rain, fog, and sunshine, sometimes all in one day! Adapting to varying weather conditions adds an exciting element to the journey.

People – Scotland is known for the warm and friendly nature of its people. The Scottish are renowned for their hospitality, approachability, and willingness to engage with visitors.

Peace and solitude – While Scotland offers plenty of tourist attractions, it’s also possible to find remote and peaceful stretches of road where you’ll feel like you have the world to yourself. The tranquility of the Scottish countryside can be a balm for the soul.

In summary, Scotland is a motorcycling paradise because of its incredible natural beauty, challenging roads, rich culture and history, unique culinary experiences, and the opportunity for adventure and people. Anyone who loves riding and appreciates the great outdoors is bound to fall in love with Scotland during their motorcycle tour.

5 of the Best Motorcycle Routes in Scotland

Glen Quaich

  • Rough miles: 12 miles
  • Days: 30 minutes

Glen Quaich Road is a short scenic route in Scotland that stretches from Amulree to Kenmore. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and is a relatively unknown route, enjoyed by motorcyclists and cyclists and the occasional tourist looking to explore the picturesque Scottish Highlands.

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

The ride

The road meanders through Glen Quaich, a remote and unspoiled glen surrounded by lush hills, forests, and the shimmering waters of Loch Freuchie. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular, with opportunities to spot wildlife, including deer and various bird species.

Glen Quaich Road offers countless opportunities for photography, particularly during autumn when the foliage turns vibrant shades of purple and gold. The surrounding hills and the loch provide stunning backdrops for capturing the natural beauty of the area.

The road ultimately leads to the village of Kenmore, which is situated on the shores of Loch Tay. Kenmore is a charming village known for its historic buildings, including the Taymouth Castle, and offers a range of amenities, including dining options and accommodation.

Watch out for

The road is known for its narrow and winding nature, making it a thrilling route for motorcycle and bicycle enthusiasts. It features numerous hairpin turns and elevation changes, adding an element of excitement for those who enjoy challenging riding experiences.

The road can be challenging in adverse weather conditions, particularly during the winter months when it may become icy or snow-covered. It’s advisable to check weather conditions and road closures before embarking on this route.

The route

Here’s a downloadable Google Map of the route. 

Where to stay

Kenmore has accommodation, as does nearby Aberfeldy with lots more along Loch Tay.

Fortingall Hotel in stunning Glen Lyon is a rather special place with the oldest tree in the world in the adjacent churchyard.

Top tips

The view at the peak of the climb offers tremendous 360 views.

The Boathouse Kitchen & Bar on Loch Tay is a superb place to stop for lunch.

The Kenmore Hotel is reputedly the oldest Inn in Scotland (1564) which has some “graffiti” left in 1700s by our National Bard, Robbie Burns, still on display by the bar.

On the outskirts of nearby Crieff, Glenturret Distillery is reputedly Scotland’s oldest distillery, with a café and restaurant as well as tours and a shop available.

Bonus Route: If you have plenty of time (another 2 ½ hours+), head to Rannoch Station (and it’s unique Tea Room), via the Braes of Foss road, along the south side of Loch Rannoch. Heading to Pitlochry along the road north of Loch Tummel will round this run off nicely.

Mam Ratagan Pass

  • Rough miles: 9 miles
  • Days: 20 minutes

Mam Ratagan, also known as Mam Ratagan Pass, is a mountain pass in the Scottish Highlands, located near the village of Ratagan in the western part of Scotland. From a motorcyclist’s perspective, Mam Ratagan offers a thrilling and memorable riding experience.

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

The ride

Mam Ratagan Pass is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. As a motorcyclist, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the Five Sisters of Kintail, and the nearby Loch Duich. The dramatic and rugged landscape provides a visually stunning backdrop to your ride.

The road through Mam Ratagan Pass is characterized by tight twists, turns, and elevation changes. It’s a challenging and winding route that demands good riding skills and attention to the road. The serpentine road takes you through the heart of the Scottish Highlands, making it an exhilarating ride.

Due to the challenging terrain and winding roads, Mam Ratagan Pass is popular among motorcyclists who enjoy technical riding. It’s a route that allows riders to fully engage with their machines and hone their cornering skills.

The stunning vistas along the pass provide numerous opportunities for photography. You’ll want to stop at various points to capture the breathtaking views of the mountains, the loch, and the lush Scottish countryside.

Mam Ratagan Pass offers motorcyclists a thrilling and challenging ride through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a route that combines technical riding with awe-inspiring scenery, making it a must-visit destination for motorcycle enthusiasts looking for a memorable riding experience in Scotland.

Watch out for

The road is known for its narrow and winding nature, making it a thrilling route for motorcycle and bicycle enthusiasts. It features numerous hairpin turns and elevation changes, adding an element of excitement for those who enjoy challenging riding experiences.

The route

Here’s a downloadable Google Map of the route. 

Don’t miss

The views back over the 5 sisters of Kintail – a mountain range which is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts, and it is known for its exceptional natural beauty. The nearby Eilean Donan Castle and Glenelg Brochs is also a must.

Where to stay

Our favourite place is the Glenelg Inn. You can also camp on the beach.

Top tips

Catch the lovely Skye Ferry, the MV Glenachulish (the last hand turned ferry in the world) over to the Isle of Skye.

Eat in the Glenelg Inn, if you are staying in the area. Watch the lovely video on the website to get an idea of the surroundings (filmed by yours truly).

Join this route with the next route (Kylerhea Pass), onto Skye.

Bonus route: Take a run all the way down to Sheena’s Tea Hut at Corran, if time allows – more great roads with splendid views over to Skye!

Kylerhea Pass

  • Rough miles: 9 miles
  • Days: 20 minutes

Kylerhea Pass is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. As a motorcyclist, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Loch Alsh, the mainland of Scotland, and the surrounding mountains. The scenic backdrop provides an awe-inspiring setting for your ride.

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

The ride

The pass is characterized by narrow and winding roads with steep gradients and sharp turns. These challenging elements make it an exciting and technically demanding route for motorcyclists who enjoy twisty and hilly roads.

Riding through Kylerhea Pass is a sensory delight. The changing scenery and elevation add to the sensory experience.

The pass is relatively remote and less travelled compared to some other routes on Skye, making it a peaceful and tranquil ride. You’ll often find yourself surrounded by the solitude and beauty of the Scottish countryside.

The spectacular views along Kylerhea Pass provide excellent opportunities for photography. Be sure to stop at designated viewpoints to capture the stunning landscapes and the contrast between the rugged terrain and the calm waters of the loch.

Watch out for

Like much of Scotland, the weather on Skye can be unpredictable. It’s essential to check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions, especially if you plan to ride Kylerhea Pass, as it can become challenging in adverse weather.

It can be a busy road as many others want to experience the ferry – going the other way, so take your time on the single track roads.

The route

Here’s a downloadable Google Map of the route. 

Don’t miss

The otter hide and the sight of the Cuillin Mountain range on Skye that greets you as you climb over the pass.

Where to stay

There are many options for accommodation on Skye. Take a look at Isle of Skye on Booking.com for an idea of prices and availability. 

Top tips

Watch out for oncoming traffic as they are also in a hurry to catch the ferry going the opposite way! Take a run down to Elgol and see the Cuillins from a completely different perspective.

Glen Lyon

  • Rough miles: 33 miles
  • Time: 80 minutes

Begin your journey in Killin, a quaint village located at the western end of Loch Tay. Killin offers a peaceful and scenic starting point for your ride, surrounded by natural beauty.

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

The ride

As you head east from Killin, along the northern side of Loch Tay, you’ll turn left to enter Glen Lyon, often referred to as Scotland’s longest and most beautiful glen – described by Sir Walter Scott as the “the longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland”.

The road takes you through a narrow valley flanked by towering mountains, providing a sense of isolation and natural splendour.

The route offers a thrilling riding experience with numerous bends and curves that wind through the valley, providing motorcyclists with an exciting and challenging ride.

Watch out for

The road is narrow and winding, at points. It features numerous turns and elevation changes, adding an element of excitement for those who enjoy challenging riding experiences.

The road can be challenging in adverse weather conditions, particularly during the winter months when it may become icy or snow-covered. It’s advisable to check weather conditions and road closures before embarking on this route.

The route

Here’s a downloadable Google Map of the route. 

Don’t miss

Where to stay

Killin, Fortingall and Kenmore all have accommodation. There are many campsites and other accommodation options along Loch Tay.

Top tips

A slight detour takes you to Fortingall with the oldest tree in the world.

Create a full loop by returning along the south side of Loch Tay – all the way back to Killin – or start your journey this way if you are already in Kenmore.

Great artisan coffee at Glen Lyon Coffee in nearby Aberfeldy.

Hook in the bonus route from the Glen Quaich Route to make this a longer run.

Calum’s Road

  • Rough miles: 10.5 miles each way from Clachan to Arnish (end of public road). The last mile and ¾ being Calum’s Road.
  •  Time: 30 minutes each way.

Calum’s Road is more than just a little off the beaten track, but well worth the effort, if you have the time.

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

The ride

Catch the ferry from Sconser on Skye to Churchton Bay on Raasay and head north.

The roads on Raasay are all single track but it is perfectly possible to travel the length of the island and back again without coming across another vehicle.

Calum’s Road is renowned for its remarkable history. It was hand-built by a local resident named Calum MacLeod, who tirelessly constructed the road over several decades, using only hand tools. His determination and dedication turned it into an inspiring testament to human resilience.

The road winds through the rugged and remote landscapes of Raasay, offering motorcyclists a sense of isolation and tranquillity. It’s a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

While the road is navigable by motorcycles, it is not a smooth road. It features uneven surfaces, gravel sections, and some steep gradients. You’ll need to exercise caution and ensure your bike is suited for these conditions.

Calum’s Road provides fantastic views of the Isle of Skye and the surrounding sea. The combination of coastal panoramas and mountain vistas makes it a paradise for photography and taking in the scenery.

Riding along Calum’s Road is a true adventure. You’ll have the opportunity to explore remote corners of Raasay and enjoy the solitude of this less-travelled route. It’s a destination that beckons to those who seek a sense of exploration and discovery.

Along the way, you may encounter historical landmarks such as abandoned crofts and remnants of traditional island life. These sites offer a glimpse into the island’s past and add depth to your journey.

Watch out for

The road is narrow and winding, at points, making it a thrilling route for motorcyclists. It features numerous turns and elevation changes, adding an element of excitement for those who enjoy challenging riding experiences.

The road can be challenging in adverse weather conditions, particularly during the winter months when it may become icy or snow-covered. It’s advisable to check weather conditions and road closures before embarking on this route.

The route

Here’s a downloadable Google Map of the route. 

Don’t miss

Raasay Distillery. Take a tour to learn about the whisky-making process and enjoy a tasting of Raasay’s own single malt whisky.

Explore the ruins of Brochel Castle, an ancient fortress with a fascinating history. Additionally, visit the ruins of Raasay House, once a grand mansion and now an ongoing restoration project.

Where to stay

Raasay House offers a range of different types of accommodation, an excellent cafe, a bar, and a restaurant for evening dining. It also serves as an outdoor activities centre.

Make sure you visit the wonderfully tranquil ruins of St Maol-luag’s Chapel, and keep a lookout for the Raasay Pictish Stone, beside the public road just to the north-west of Raasay House.

Top tips

Read Roger Hutchinson’s bestselling 2006 book “Calum’s Road” before going and you’ll appreciate the amazing efforts behind this road even more.

Joining a motorcycle tour in Scotland

Scotland is such an incredible place to ride a motorcycle. That’s why we set up MotoJoe – to help you have the best Scottish adventure possible! We offer motorcycle rentals, guided and self-guided tours and even road and off-road training courses. 

Everything is tailored to meet timescales and individual needs. And our adventures are off the beaten track. Our tours offer a chance to explore hidden gems and lesser-known routes, providing a unique and authentic experience away from the typical tourist paths.

If the call of Scotland’s open roads beckons to you, reach out to MotoJoe, and let us orchestrate an unforgettable Scottish motorcycle odyssey – you’re in for a spectacular adventure!

About the author

Martin Williamson

Meet Martin, your ultimate aficionado of all things motorcycles and Scotland, and let’s not forget whisky—his knowledge is as vast and deep as the Scottish lochs. With an extensive history in crafting tailored tours for MotoJoe.

His expertise extends beyond the roads of Scotland; he’s a contributing force behind the scenes of the acclaimed Motorcyclists Guide to Scotland by John Fergusson. Martin has steered riders on adventures not only through Scotland but across distant horizons – not to mention the annual Isle of Man TT Tour.

You’ll find Martin leading tours as well as delivering off-road training and first aid courses for motojoe.co.uk 

Best Scotland Motorcycle Routes

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Thanks for checking out The Best Motorcycle Routes in Scotland guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle touring that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle tour in Scotland or the UK? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

8 thoughts on “The Best Motorcycle Routes in Scotland”

  1. Nice to see Scotland spotlighted. The roads mentioned in the Highlands (I’m in Inverness) are all good ‘uns, but I would have certainly mentioned the Applecross peninsular and Bealach na Ba and on through Torridon as bettering most around here, and also further north the so-called Wee Mad Road south of Lochinver and then on through Drumbeg as being pretty epic. For glorious mountains and beach scenery the loop through Gairloch is difficult to beat, but there are also hidden gems like the road through Strath Don which is so pretty, and you can take a break at Goodbrand and Ross for a cuppa and some cake Nd tyre kicking at the weekend before climbing high up over the Lecht in the Cairngorms to Tomintoul, before descending down to the beautiful Spey Valley. I could go on, Scotland is a great biking destination, but bring yer wet weather gear just in case.

    PS Unless it’s been bought, Sheena’s Tea Hut is closed, which is a massive loss, but the ride in is amazing anyway.

    Reply
    • Hi Richard,

      thanks for commenting. I couldn’t agree more, those are great roads, but I was trying to highlight some more of the “off the beaten track” roads that are typically missed by most.

      On our tours, we join most all of your suggestions with those above (other than Raasay) for a spectacular tour.

      Hope to see you on the roads somewhere sometime!

      Cheers
      Martin…

      Reply
  2. Good afternoon
    Is there a motorcycle route based on or around Lockerbie that is called something like the West Coast 350, and if so, where can I find an appropriate map etc

    Reply
  3. Hi
    Many thanks for great ideas.
    Have you ever put somthing together if you should fly in to Edinborough, rent a bike and spend up to 1 week exploring the north?

    I hope to fly in from Norway if I manage to put something together.

    Reply
    • Hi Oeivind,

      that’s what we’ve been doing for over a decade now at motojoe.co.uk.

      We have a library of tours, depending on time available. We can also create bespoke tours, tailored to your needs. Some people enjoy long days on the bike and others not so much.

      There’s guided, self-guided and unguided options to choose from.

      We can do all the logistics for you or you can simply rent a motorcycle and head off.

      Our most popular option is when our customers fly in, pick up their preferred bike, follow the pink line on the preprogrammed Sat Nav and enjoy the accommodation we set up for you.

      Please do let us know if we can help.

      I hope you enjoy all Scotland has to offer if and when you do make it to Scotland!

      Cheers
      Martin…

      Reply

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