Are you heading to Scotland this summer for the World Cycling Championships and looking for some gravelly inspiration while you’re there? Then Markus Stitz’s latest guidebook, Bikepacking Scotland, could be just what you’re looking for.
It might sound a little old fashioned, but there’s something wonderful about flicking through the pages of a guidebook, inspirational images and carefully crafted prose helping you build a mental image of somewhere you’ve never been before. Perhaps you just dip in now and then, nestled in your favourite armchair with a hot mug of tea next to you? Or maybe you’re doing some serious research as you plan a trip later in the year? Of course, you could just be looking for some escapism as this never-ending winter seems to drag ever onwards?
Whatever your reason, Markus’ latest guidebook has the perfect mix of inspirational and practical. With the imminent arrival to Scotland of the combined World Cycling Championships in August, Markus realised the demand for cyclists looking for route inspiration would be pretty high, so releasing a guide book now made perfect sense.
There are twenty routes contained in the book, which include everything from “the Ayrshire Alps, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders in southern Scotland, through Perthshire’s unique drovers’ roads and the grand architecture of the Central Belt, across to Argyll’s islands on ferry-hopping adventures around Islay, a paradise for whisky connoisseurs, and Jura and Mull to spot magnificent golden eagles. And of course, the Scottish Highlands, with an epic tour of the Cairngorms National Park as well as the author’s own take on the North Coast 500.”
Markus is a passionate supporter of public transport and consequently fourteen of the twenty routes in the book are accessible by train or bus services that carry bikes, four routes start or finish within 4kms of a railway station and the only the remaining two require a longer ride at the start/finish.
With Markus’ impressive network of bikepacking buddies dotted around the UK, it’s no surprise that he’s called on experts such as Jenny Graham, Mark Beaumont and Josh Ibbett to contribute insights for the book. He’s also included lots of practical information about Scotland’s access regulations, advice on what kit to consider carrying and a look at the history behind some of the routes included in the book. Each route also contains a link to a downloadable GPX file and there’s also a QR code which takes you to a YouTube video showing even more visual inspiration to get you enthused about going to try out the route.
Bikepacking Scotland is published by Vertebrate Publishing on the 18th May, costs £20 and you can buy copies here or here