Scotland by Bike and Boat

Scotland by Bike and Boat

Trip Highlights

  • Discovering the untouched natural beauty of the Inner Hebrides
  • Admiring the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands
  • Visiting fortresses and castles on the island of Mull
  • Following the Caledonian Canal

Trip Summary

Scotland's Inner Hebrides are known for their spectacular landscapes still largely untouched by mass tourism. Travelling by bike and boat, explore the island of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, before making your way to the Isle of Jura, which is known for its rich stock of red deer and its world-famous whiskey distillery. Marvel at the wild scenery of Scotland, its intense colours and great biodiversity. Look out for dolphins and seal from the boat, and eagles and otters from your bike. Nights aboard your floating hotel, a two-masted sailing boat with a comfortable dining and lounge area and cabins with ensuite, are a time for relaxation amongst a group of like-minded cyclists.

Suitability

MODERATE – GRADE 3

This trip involves moderately difficult tours in mostly hilly stages of 20 to 65km/12 to 41mi on usually quiet asphalt roads. In some instances, field paths are used as well. Main roads without separate bike paths are used only exceptionally for brief stretches. This tour includes some longer and steeper ascents where bikes may be pushed. Strong headwinds may also be encountered. Helmets are mandatory on cycle stages. It is considered suitable for fit adults and active experienced children (minimum 10 years, height minimum is 1.5m/5ft for rental bikes). *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.

Due to the necessity to embark/disembark the ship by dinghy, balance and surefootedness are essential. Due to the change in tide, ladders may need to be used to access the boat/land, covering height differences of up to 3 m.

Itinerary

Individual journey to Edinburgh and by bus or train to Oban, which takes approximately 3-4 hours. Group scheduled transfer can be booked on request for an additional cost from Edinburgh train station at 5:30pm or airport at 6:00pm to the boat in Oban. Your cabins are available to check-in from 5pm. Should you arrive earlier your luggage can be stored on board until check-in time. After checking in, join your crew, tour guides and group for a late dinner on board.

Meals:  D

After breakfast we will adjust our bikes and then start our first cycle tour. This leads us southwards from Oban through hilly landscapes and along the shores of a small highland lake back to the sea. Here we cross a remote peninsula before catching the ferry which takes us to the island of Luing. The island is made up of slate and the mining of the gray glistening rocks played an important economic role in the past. The University of Edinburgh for instance, is largely constructed from the slate of this small island. At the Tobernochy dock, the Flying Dutchman awaits us for our cross over to Crinan where we will spend the night.

Meals:  B,D

Today's bike tour takes us from Crinan to the fascinating excavation site of Kilmartin, Stone circles, which remind us of the Stonehenge and prehistoric burial mounds, characterise the vast landscape. After visiting the museum grounds and enjoying lunch at the museum cafe, we return to Crinan. Past the Kintyre Peninsula, famous from the Paul McCartney song 'Mull of Kintyre', we continue by boat to the island of Jura.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we cycle northwards on the isle of Jura. The renowned author, George Orwell, spent the last three years of his life here and described it as the most unattainable place on earth. Enjoy the tranquility of the island, which is only occasionally disturbed by one of the nearly 5,000 deer that live there. Passing the so-called Paps of Jura we arrive at a small dock where the Flying Dutchman takes us to the island of Mull. On the way we pass the swirling waters of Corryvreckan, one of the largest natural whirlpools in the world - but do not fear, our experienced crew will guide us safely to a quiet bay on the island of Mull for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today’s cycle tour is dedicated entirely to the spectacular natural beauty of Scotland. The route takes us through hilly terrain and along the coastline of Mull Island. Behind every bend in the road another breathtaking view awaits. After the road divides, and the few cars that we have encountered along the way so far have turned off towards Iona, we share the road virtually only with sheep and shaggy highland cattle grazing peacefully in the bright green meadows. Along an ever-changing coastal road, we cycle past Loch Na’ Keal to Salen where the ship is waiting for us. On a short crossover our ship brings us to Tobermoy bay. In this pretty, little place, with its colorful facades, an evening visit to an original Scottish pub is high on the agenda. This includes trying national dishes such as fish’n’chips or haggis.

Meals:  B

Today we will encounter an elevation gain on our ride through the northern part of the Island of Mull. As a reward a cozy tearoom offers us a welcomed reprieve before we head for the brilliant white beach of Calgary Bay and its crystal clear water. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland and swimming enthusiasts should not pass up this opportunity to jump in for a refreshing swim. Shipward bound we cycle through a lush valley until we meet the shoreline, shortly before Salen, offering breathtaking views as well as some interesting ships wrecks. Our ship awaits us again in Salen for a short crossing to Lochaline on the Morvern peninsula, where we throw the anchor for the night. Dinner on board.

Meals:  B,D

After a small crossing through the Sound of Mull to Lochaline a scenic cycling tour awaits us. After the first ascent, we reach an almost traffic-free road leading through the barren highlands. We follow hillsides, wild mountain streams and moorlands before we reach the Flying Dutchman, to ferry us back to Oban. Before dinner we have the opportunity to take a stroll through Oban. The McCaig's Tower, an incomplete replica of the Coliseum in Rome, is a worthwhile visit.

Meals:  B,D

Disembark after breakfast on board around 9am and individual departure. Group scheduled transfer can be booked on request for an additional cost from the boat in Oban to Edinburgh airport at 7:00am to reach flights departing from 12:00pm onwards.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners (does not include drinks) - The cook on board is a member of the crew and prepares the breakfast and one warm meal a day. The meals begin with dinner on day 1 and end with breakfast on day 8.
  • 7 nights in a twin share cabin with ensuite facilities (supplement applies for single cabin). If you are travelling by yourself you can be matched with another passenger of the same sex. The compact cabins are configured with bunk beds - two beds, or four beds for either 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children. Ask your consultant for prices on children and triple and quad share. Due to the shape of the boat's hull the size of the cabins may vary, and some cabins may be marginally noisier and less ventilated due to their proximity to the engine and working part of the boat.
  • Experienced crew including English speaking cycle guide
  • 21 speed hybrid bike rental with pannier (8-speed electric bikes available on most trips for a supplement, limited supplies). The guides will carry bike locks for the group when cycling, or individual locks can be provided on request if you decide to bike alone (limited supply).
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Information pack including overview maps per cabin

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Oban
  • Group scheduled transfer from Edinburgh airport/city to the boat in Oban on embarkation and disembarkation days - reservation on request for an additional cost, please ask our office for details
  • Drinks on board and meals not included
  • Flat rate for all drinks on board (including alcohol) and drinking water supplied for the cycling tours - GBP50 payable locally, to the captain
  • Travel insurance - mandatory *cruise cover may be required - check with your insurer
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for crew and tour guide (see pre departure information provided on booking)
  • Entrance fees to museums and attractions for group visits
  • Helmets - mandatory on all bike tours, you are encouraged to bring your own well-fitted helmet. A limited number of rental helmets are available on board (reservation essential), however we cannot guarantee their suitability
  • Optional Bicyle insurance - can be booked on arrival and paid in cash locally. EUR10 per person for hybrid bike, EUR20 per person for electric bike. Please note that normal travel insurance often does not cover loss or damage to rental bikes. If you do not take out bike insurance you will need to pay for the cost of the bike or repair of damages.

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:United Kingdom
Starting Point:Oban
Finishing Point:Oban
Activities:GUIDED CYCLE
CRUISING
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SBB
Prices From:GBP£1480 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£350  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.