Welcome to the Ultimate Scotland Motorcycle Tour! This route wraps the best of Scotland into one-week and one thousand miles of pure riding bliss.
Self-guided motorcycle tour of Scotland
A Motorcycle Tour of Scotland needs to be on every biker’s bucket list. And if you haven’t been yet, (why not, ey?) then take on this beauty of a route and it’ll tick all the boxes – trust me. Phenomenal roads, gorgeous scenery and some of the best Scotland has to offer. Have a crack at this route, you’ll love it.
- Miles: 1000
- Time away: 7 days
- Cost: £350 – £1200 depending on accommodation, food and drink
The ultimate Scotland motorcycle route
This ride takes in some of the best Scotland has to offer including part of the NC 500 and a couple of our islands. Starting in our nation’s capital, Edinburgh, jump on your bike and head north through the Cairngorm Mountains over the Cairnwell Pass and the Lecht, two of Scotland’s highest roads to Tomintoul.
From there we head up the East Coast to John O Groats taking a scenic detour via Bonar Bridge. From Groats keep the sea on your right and follow the stunning North Coast Road to Durness and on to Scourie.
After Scourie take a right just after the Kylesku Bridge and follow the small single track roads through Assynt, which has some of Scotland’s most amazing scenery. You’ll absolutely love motorcycling through through Drumbeg, Clachtoll and Lochinver.
After Lochinver stick to the wee roads and follow signs for Achiltibuie, making sure you take a ride around the small Coigach peninsula. Ride past the prominent hill Stac Pollaidh (pronounced Stack polly) and down to Ullapool.
From Ullapool we’re back on to wider, flowing roads following the coast around to Gairloch and on to Torridon. Here’s where you can get your head down and have a blast. Keeping the sea to our right hand side, we take a right turn at Sheildaig and follow the coast around to Applecross. Take the more famous Applecross road, the Bealach Na Ba over to Lochcarron then follow signs to Kyle of Lochalsh and cross the bridge to the gorgeous Isle of Skye.
We won’t be on Skye long as we head to Kylerhea and take the famous Glenelg Ferry over to Glenelg and ride along the phenomenal A87 towards Fort William where we take the A830 signposted for Mallaig. Just after Glenfinnan take a left and follow the A861 to Salen before taking a right along the B8007 to Kilchoan.
It’s also worth visiting Ardnamurchan point, the most westerly point of the Scottish mainland. At Kilchoan we get the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Spend at least one day riding Mull. Once you’re done, catch the ferry from Fishnish to Lochaline. If you’re looking for food or a campsite at this stage head to Strontian. If not, carry on to the Corran Ferry. Follow the A82 south through the stunning Glencoe before turning off a Killin, riding along the side of Loch Tay and back down to Edinburgh.
Now, I know that’s a lot of information but it’ll give you an absolutely unforgettable tour of Scotland. There’s still loads more to see here for when you come back again, which I’m sure you will! If you’d like a help or a guide for your travels feel free to give me a shout at PassingPlacesTours.com
Getting there and back
From the continent, get the ferry to Newcastle in the north of England and ride up. It’ll take you a couple of hours to get to Scotland and the route is well signposted. From further away, fly into Edinburgh, Glasgow or Prestwick. There are a few options to hire bikes around Edinburgh and Inverness too.
Camping in Scotland
Take a tent! There are plenty campsites and you can also wild camp in some places. Scotland is an incredible place to ride and then pitch up your tent and you will love it! Just be sure to leave no trace of your camp.
Check out this website’s detailed and comprehensive article on wild camping in Scotland. It’s packed with info: justgoexploring.com
And you can find more info on camping in Scotland here: visitscotland.com
For more info on what to take, have a look at these guides too:
Accommodation can be sparse and expensive in Scotland. Make sure if you aren’t going to camp and are going for a hotel or bed and breakfast, that you book well in advance to secure your stay.
Here’s a handy booking.com map to give you an idea of the types of hotels available on this route.
Zoom out to see all of the available hotels on this loop.
When to go
A seven day trip around the end of August or September will give quieter roads, less midges and hopefully better weather. It’s the best time for a motorcycle tour in Scotland. You’ll have plenty time to explore too. And my top tip is to plan for the best weather but prepare for the worst.
The trip will cost you from around £300 upwards depending on where you stay and how often you eat out. Wild camping is free and camping is £10-£15 per night on sites. Hotels and bed and breakfasts start around £50 per person in high season and go upwards from there. A main course in a pub is around £10-£20.
Rentals and tours
You can easily ride to Scotland from anywhere in the UK and ride this route solo and on your own motorcycle using this guide. Or, you could still use your own bike but join me for a guided-tour (more info in the author box below).
However, you may not want to use your own bike, or might be coming from abroad in which case, renting a bike or joining a guided motorcycle tour might be a better option. For great companies based in Scotland, check out the below link.
About the author
- Mike runs a motorcycle touring company in Scotland. If you fancy a guided tour or need some help planning the perfect route, get in touch with him: passingplacestours.com
- Mike’s business is on our recommended companies: Motorcycle Tour and Rental Companies
- Read more of Mike’s guides on the Contributors page
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