Loch Ossian, Corrour. Credit: FionaOutdoors
An Turas Mor is acclaimed as one of Scotland’s “great” cycle routes and a must-ride if you enjoy off-road cycling. The words “An Turas Mor” translate from Scottish Gaelic to mean “the long journey”.
The 354-mile route starts in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and travels north to Cape Wrath, which is the most north-westerly point of mainland Britain. The route is off-road on a mix of paths, tracks and cycleways.
An Turas Mor starts in the large Scottish city of Glasgow.
Eight days to ride An Turas Mor ride
Eight days is the suggested number to ride the complete An Turas Mor route, although you can go s fast or as slow as you fancy. Remember that cycling off-road and with plenty of climbing will be much tougher than the equivalent distance and ascent on the road.
By the way, Scottish athlete Donnie Campbell holds the record for the fastest ride of An Turas Mor in 33 hours and 31 minutes but most people will want to take their time to enjoy the route, so eight days is a good aim.
Fort Augustus Locks. Credit: Fractal Angel
Day 1: Glasgow to Balquidder Station
56 miles, 3635ft Ascent.
Day 2: Balquidder Station to Loch Ossian
59 miles, 5161ft ascent.
Day 3: Loch Ossian to Fort Augustus
48 miles, 3566ft ascent.
Day 4: Fort Augustus to Struy
33 miles, 3504ft ascent.
Day 5: Struy to Inchbae Lodge
35 miles, 2966ft ascent.
Day 6: Inchbae Lodge to Rosehall
39 miles, 2425ft ascent.
Day 7: Rosehall to Durness
55 miles, 3540ft ascent.
Day 8: Durness to Cape Wrath (return)
28 miles, 2184ft ascent.
Sango Bay, Durness. Credit: Paul Herman
The lighthouse at Cape Wrath. Credit: Kognos
Origins of the route
The An Turas Mor trail was developed by mountain bikers. They are members of Obscura Mondo Cycle Club and the aim is to encourage cyclists to responsibly explore Scotland away from motor vehicles.
What to expect on An Turas Mor
The trail is based on existing tracks, cycleways, drovers’ routes, old military routes, hydro roads and forest tracks. It is suitable for mountain bikes and gravel bikes.
The trail often feels wild and remote as it passes through stunning mountainous landscapes and via passes between mountains. It is suggested that you should have “intermediate” off-road cycling skills but the trails should not prove too challenging to many riders.
Where it becomes too step or rough you can enjoy a spot of hiking with your bike (allowing you more time to enjoy the views!).
However, the journey still requires good levels of fitness because it is a long way, day after day. In addition, there is some 56,000ft of ascent to deal with over the eight days. Plus, you should be be prepared for Scotland’s ever-changeable weather.
Thanks to the Land Reform Act
The Land Reform Act (Scotland) 200 established legal rights of access to explore the landscape responsibly. The law allows walkers, runners, cyclists etc rights of access to the great outdoors in Scotland. See: Scottish Outdoor Access Code and Do the Ride Thing.
How to ride the route
You could carry all your own kit and wild camp along the route but there is another option of booking a luggage transfer company to help to ease the load. Highland Transfers offers bespoke An Turas Mor cycling bookings. We help you to arrange your route and ride and we can transfer your luggage for you. Please do get in contact to discuss.