For anyone not already familiar with it, the Cairngorms National Park is situated in the north of Scotland and contains"the UK’s largest area of high ground" and is home to an incredible network of ancient military roads and drovers’ track, perfect for exploring by gravel bike
Film maker and route planner Markus Stitz has put together a new 165mile/265km bikepacking route which takes in the best of the incredibly diverse landscape that can be found there. Apparently, the Cairngorms are “regarded as climatically, geomorphologically and biologically the most extensive ‘arctic’ area in the UK”. As well as being a national park, the region is also home to a vast array of small businesses. Markus’ film showcases not only the amazing riding and stunning scenery, but also gives some great insight into what it’s like to live and work there.
With recent UK media coverage about the loss of the right to wildcamp on Dartmoor (the final remaining area of England where this was legal), bikepackers heading over the border into Scotland will find a much more enlightened attitude there. Thanks to the 20 year old Scottish Outdoor Access Code, it’s perfectly legal to access and wild camp in (responsibly, of course) vast swathes of the Cairngorms National Park.
The route which Markus has helped to create, starts and finishes in Aviemore, which has great rail connections to the rest of the UK, including the Caledonian Sleeper service from London, which opens up the possibility of incredible gravelly adventures even for anyone living at the opposite end of the country or coming from outside the UK.
You can find out more details about the new route on the Bikepacking Scotland website here - bikepackingscotland.com/cairngorms
All images @Markus Stitz