There’s still time to squeeze in a splurge of bikepacking in Scotland or across the UK before summer turns to dust - even internationally if your wanderlust is strong.
What is bikepacking?
Google it and you’ll get such a bag of waffle back. It’s backpacking with a bike. That’s all.
Bikepacking weekends in Scotland
Dunkeld Gravel Adventure
How does the sound of the Dunkeld Gravel Adventure grab you?
See sexy Perthshire at its best and lose yourself in all its aloof and gorgeous remoteness. Hop on a train to Dunkeld or Birnam train stations with your gravel or mountain bike in tow and then do what comes naturally.
It’s a two-day adventure starting and ending in Dunkeld and taking in the shores of Lochs Gary and Rannoch with plenty of refreshment stops along the way.
Dunoon Dirt Dash
The Dunoon Dirt Dash is the perfect weekend bikepacking adventure on Scotland’s arresting West Coast, and only a hop, skip and a jump away from Glasgow to boot. This 132 km-long route is also used for the annual Dunoon Dirt Dash in September.
You’ll start off opposite Castle Gardens at The Victorian Dunoon Pier, and the route soon passes the landmark Bishop’s Glen Reservoir, then it’s on to the northern side of Inverchaolain Burn, before the majesty of Glen Kin descends.
The views and collection of flowering trees and shrubs along the way will move you.
Puck’s Glen is a timely opportunity to leave the bike for a spell and enjoy a walk, following a trail that winds along a Victorian walkway up a dramatic rocky gorge that’s said to be home to mischievous spirits!
Bikepacking in the UK
The Penduro is an event organised by The Racing Collective and it’s staged in the Pennines. The 2021 route is 160 km, and riders are timed in endure-style segments along the way to make up an aggregate time.
It also makes for a spectacular bikepacking route.
Take it easy on a hardtail mountain bike, or power your way through on a gravel bike and enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Pennines as you pedal. This route takes about 1 to 3 days to complete depending on your pace.
King Alfred’s Way
King Alfred’s Way links up four existing national trails: the North Downs Way, South Downs Way, The Ridgeway and Thames Path.
It mops up some serious history along the way, including spots of challenging climbing and technical singletrack. Because the route is a circuit, one of its main appeals is that you can join wherever is most convenient for you, finishing where you started along its 220 miles and this can take between roughly 2 and 5 days.
Trans Cambrian Way
Beginning in Welsh market town Knighton, the Trans Cambrian Way takes you through the stunningly beautiful heart of Wales, eventually winding its way to the Irish Sea.
With forest trails and river crossings, this is an ideal three-day mountain bikepacking bursting in remote and stunning scenery. This one has water crossings so it’s best suited to summer, and the spectacular reservoirs only add to the challenging Welsh terrain.
Denmark produced Peter Schmeichel and Sandi Toksvig. It boasts a healthy cycling culture as well as this pair and was on the green list for Scotland at the time of writing so well worth considering for bikepacking internationally this summer.
Coastal town Snekkersten is roughly 45km north of Copenhagen and neighbours Elsinore, known for its Kronborg Castle in ‘Hamlet’. It’s the perfect starting point for a good adventure along the old gravel road - all within 10 minutes of riding out of town.
The route goes by small communities with abandoned houses and a smattering of farms, with others replete with restaurants, bars, and life!
The woods are full of wildlife – including deer jumping out in front of you while on other parts of the route, the giant red deer roam, especially in Gribskov.
A hauntingly beautiful and memorable bikepacking adventure in waiting