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9 Day West Coast Islands and Highlands Guided Motorcycle Tour in Scotland, UK

West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, Scotland, UK

Guided Motorcycle Tour in the UK

Ride up the dramatic west coast and along the north of Scotland with McTours! This guided motorcycle tour travels through stunning scenery, visits castles and historic houses, and stops at interesting places including a chocolate factory and a whisky distillery. You can start with a short evening ride from Glasgow to a spa hotel on the North Ayrshire coast or travel there directly and collect your rental bike at the hotel. From the home of the Marquess of Bute to one of Scotland's most photographed properties, this tour allows you to explore the best things Scotland has to offer. You can even stay overnight at a Scottish castle! On the return leg, you will visit many famous Scottish lochs including Loch Ness, Loch Tay, Loch Lomond, and more.

Key information

  • Bike: personal or rental bike (a range of rental bikes are available)
  • Mileage: 1,285 miles / 2,068 kilometres
  • Daily rides: 150 - 215 miles / 241 - 346 kilometres
  • Meals: meals on a half-board basis

Meet the guides

Brian
Read more

Highlights

  • Tour the Isle of Skye
  • Starts and ends in Glasgow
  • Explore the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Bute
  • Ride to the island of Seil crossing 'the bridge over the Atlantic'
  • Circuit the Mull of Kintyre with views to the islands of Arran, Gigha, Islay, and Jura
  • Visit Mount Stuart, Dunvegan Castle, and Eilean Donan Castle
  • See the Crinan Canal and the site of an ancient fort
  • 8 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


7 riding days
Group size: 3-6 participants
Airport transfer included: Glasgow Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
17:00
Check-out Time:
11:30

Your accommodation is in a mix of quality three and four-star rated hotels at overnight stops.

Program

Day 1: Arrival Day

You will arrive at Glasgow Airport (GLA) and collect your bikes or have them delivered directly to your hotel. It is only a short ride from Glasgow to Seamill in North Ayrshire for your first overnight stop before beginning the tour properly.

Day 2 - Seamill to Tarbert, 150 miles / 241 kilometres

You shall depart Seamill immediately after an early breakfast at circa 8 a.m. and ride 15 miles north to Wemyss Bay where you make your first ferry crossing to Rothsay on the Isle of Bute.

A little south of Rothsay is Mount Stuart, a magnificent Edwardian property and home of the Marquess of Bute, but rather than ride there directly you take a partial circuit towards the south of the island before visiting Mount Stuart after which you make your way to the north of Bute to take Rhubodach to Colintrive ferry crossing to Argyll.

You travel through a very picturesque part of Argyle with views across the Kyles of Bute passing through Tighnabruaich before reaching Portavadie where you break for lunch before taking the crossing to Tarbert on the Mull of Kintyre.

Next, you head south to Caradale and onwards to Campbeltown taking the east coast road of the peninsula with views over towards Arran. You return along the west coast road taking in views of the Isle of Gigha with Islay and Jura beyond. You end the day at Stonefield Castle.

  • Riding time: 6 hours

Day 3: Tarbert to Connel, 185 miles / 298 kilometres

You head west towards Port Ban on the Kintyre peninsula before you begin your journey north. As you reach Lochgilphead, you shall follow the course of the Crinan canal and then visit the ancient Dunadd Fort where the Kings of Dalriada lived (after the Romans left and before King David came to rule in 1124 Scotland comprised 4 kingdoms and Dalriada was one of those. It was an ancient Gaelic speaking land forming Ireland and the West of Scotland). You shall then make your way to Inveraray, a pretty model village and home to a prison and castle (both are tourist attractions).

You shall then head towards Dalmally and visit an interesting church, fairly modern but created to appear much older. You then join the shore road of Loch Awe riding along a narrow road with stunning views as you almost reach Dunadd Fort again. You make your way to Ardfern and then over to Crobh Haven Marina before crossing "the Bridge over the Atlantic" to Seil Island. You will also consider making the passenger ferry crossing to Easdale Island before continuing north to Oban and finishing your journey at the Falls of Lora hotel.

  • Riding time: 6 hours

Day 4: Connell to Mallaig, 150 miles / 241 kilometres

You depart your hotel in Connel making your way to the ferry terminal in Oban where you take the crossing to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. All of the roads you ride on the island will be single track. You first make your way to Loch Beg and circle around Ben More and Loch na Keal with views over to Ulva and other smaller islands.

You shall take a brief stop at the bridge crossing Eas Fors Waterfall before climbing up and over a road with several tight bends that leads to Tobermorry where you shall break for lunch.

After your lunch break, you take the Tobermory to Kilchoan ferry crossing to the Ardnamurchan peninsula, the most westerly mainland of the UK and an area of Scotland that is particularly unspoiled because it is remote, has poor access routes and narrow roads.

As your route continues, you shall take a stop at the Sands of Morar which featured in the movies Local Hero and Breaking the Wave. The quartz sand looks almost white with silver speckles and on a sunny day the beach and sea look more like the Caribbean than Scotland. You shall end the day at the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig.

  • Riding time: 5.5 hours

Day 5: Mallaig to Kyle of Lochalsh, 175 miles / 282 kilometres

An early departure from Mallaig crossing to the Isle of Skye where you take a circuit of the island making your first visit of the day at Dunvegan Castle. Later you cross the Quirang, a dramatic pass formed from a landslip, before stopping to view Kilt Rock, a 90 meter tall basalt rock formation that resembles a pleated kilt. The nearby Mealt waterfalls the drop from Loch Mealt over the cliffs to the sea below is another popular photo opportunity.

After breaking for lunch near Portree, you make your way to the last remaining operational turnstile ferry in the world to depart Skye.

On the mainland side, you meander through Glenelg to Shiel Bridge then make your way back towards Skye stopping at Eilean Donan Castle for pictures. The castle is one of Scotlands most photographed and sits three sea lochs meet; Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh. The castle was rebuilt in the 1920's and 30's and has been used in numerous films. You end the day just north of Kyle of Lochalsh with westerly views across the Inner Sound to Eilean Mor, Scalpay, Longay, and Skye.

  • Riding time: 5 hours

Day 6: Kyle of Lochalsh to Scourie, 215 miles / 346 kilometres

Today, you make more progress because there are no ferry crossings. All your riding is on the mainland and in great remote areas along the North West coast.

You first head to Plockton, a picturesque village sitting in a sheltered east facing bay that is often referred to as "The Jewel of the Highlands". The town was used as the setting as the fictional Lochdubh in the TV series Hamish McBeth. You only take a brief stop for photographs and then carry on.

Your route circuits Loch's Carron and Kishorn before crossing the Bealach na ba a winding, single track road through the mountains leading to Applecross where you take a refreshment break.

From Applecross, you hug the coast to Torridon before crossing to Kinlochewe then along the southern shore of Loch Maree to Poolewe. You progress onwards to Ullapool and Lochinver and end the day at Scourie.

  • Riding time: 6.5 hours

Day 7: Scourie to Beauly, 200 miles / 322 kilometres

This route will take you into some of the most remote parts of the highlands. First you depart Scourie heading north to Durness where you meet the north coast of Scotland. A little along the coast you stop at Smoo cave and from here you follow the northern coast line past Tongue to Borgie Lodge where you take a refreshment break.

Your route continues past Bettyhill before turning south just after crossing the Halladale River where you deviate to the south towards Kinbrace (which is where you will find Britain's most remote hotel, The Garvault).

Your route continues south and you break for lunch at a remote Inn north of Lairg. After passing through Lairg, you continue to Bonar Bridge then Dingwall before you end the day's ride at Beauly. In French beau lieu means beautiful place. The surrounding land is fertile with grain and fruit mainly being farmed. There is also a ruined Priory dating from 1260.

  • Riding time: 5.5 hours

Day 8: Beauly to Glasgow, 210 miles / 338 kilometres

Departing Beauly, you head south to Drumnadrochit where you reach Loch Ness. You follow Loch Ness to Fort Augustus where you take a brief stop before continuing through the great glen to Spean Bridge where you alter course to the east along the banks of Loch Lagan and then to Dalwhinnie where you shall visit the distillery. You will take a tour and participate in chocolate tasting but save the whisky until the days riding is over.

Your route south continues through Tummel Bridge and Fortingall where you break for lunch. Fortingall has two main claims to fame; it has the oldest ewe tree in the world at least 2000 years old and some claim as much as 9000 years old, the other claim is that it was the birth place of Pontius Pilot famed for sending Jesus to the cross.

The story of Pontius Pilate's Scottish origins was raised an article published in the 15 January 1899 edition of the New York Times. The article claimed that between 55BC when the the Romans' first came to Britain and their subsequent invasion in AD43 that Ceasar Augustus dispatched envoys to establish diplomatic relations with some of the important British and Caledonian tribes. One of these was a Caledonian chieftain called Metellanus, whose stronghold was at the head of Glen Lyon. A member of the Roman delegation to Metellanus's tribe fathered a child circa 20BC with a Caledonian woman, and this child subsequently returned to Rome with his parents. The child was raised up as Pontius Pilate.

Your journey continues to join Loch Tay which you traverse to Killin. Next, you pass Lochearnhead and at Killmahog you cross the Dukes Pass to Aberfoyle where you take another refreshment break. At Drymen you change course again to the west reaching the southern shores to Loch Lomond and from there you join major roads back to base near Glasgow.

  • Riding time: 5.5 hours

Day 9: Departure Day

You will depart on this day.

Notes

Riders can hire a range of motorcycles through McTours or bring their own bike. To participate as a rider, you must hold a valid driver's license with full motorcycle entitlement for the class of machine being ridden and provide the proof of this to McTours and / or their chosen motorcycle supplier. A pillion does not need to have a license but remains under the control of the rider at all times.

Although riding as a group, you are responsible for your own riding and your motorcycle at all times. The rider is responsible for following the rules of the road (highway code), observing speed limits, and ensuring that they are legally roadworthy. If carrying a pillion, the rider must ensure that their pillion follows the instruction. A range of bikes is available for rent including Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and Triumph.

Skill level required for this tour:

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Guides

Brian Watson

Location

This tour travels largely along the west coast of Scotland. The tour begins and ends in Glasgow. You will ride to various places including Seamill, Tarbert, Connel, Mallaig, Scourie, Beauly, and more.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Guided tour services
  • Ferry crossings
  • Pickup and drop off at Glasgow Airport (GLA)
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Meals on a half-board basis

What's not included

  • Flights to and from Scotland
  • Fuel
  • Lunch and beverages

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Glasgow Airport (GLA). Transfer from and to the airport is included. McTours will pick you up from the airport.

By road, you can take the M8 past Glasgow towards the airport.

Airport: Glasgow Airport Airport transfer included: Glasgow Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
9 days / 8 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 3 participants

Availability

Start: Saturday July 3, 2021
End: Sunday July 11, 2021

Pricing information

Displayed prices are valid for the groups of a minimum of 3 persons.

Most motorcycles available for hire are obtained directly from local mainstream dealers. McTours does not have any exclusive access to these rental motorbikes and so availability must be confirmed. Prices and terms are set by the dealers who supply the machines. You can also choose to hire the following bikes (weekly charge):

  • Royal Enfield Himalayan: 400 GBP
  • Kawasaki Versys 650 SE Grand Tourer: 475 GBP
  • Triumph Tiger 800XRT: 575 GBP
  • Triumph Tiger 900GT: 600 GBP
  • Kawasaki Versys 650: 680 GBP
  • Kawasaki Z900: 710 GBP
  • Kawasaki W800: 750 GBP
  • Kawasaki VN900 Tour: 750 GBP
  • Triumph Tiger 800 XR: 870 GBP
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX: 810 GBP
  • Kawasaki Versys 1000 GT: 810 GBP
  • Harley Davidson Heritage Classic Softail: 980 GBP
  • Harley Davidson Road King: 980 GBP
  • Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited: 1,050 GBP

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