Cycling the Isle of Skye – A Scenic Bikepacking Route by Tom Wall
Cycling Isle of Skye – Scotland 4-Days scenic bikepacking and mountain biking around the island Where to sleep, cycle routes, bike hire + GPX Track & Map
Bicycle Touring with Tom Wall – Cycling366
Cycling the Isle of Skye? Follow this bikepacking route in the tracks of Tom Wall! Thanks Cycling 366 for contributing this fantastic cycling route and GPX track!
This bikepacking route takes in all of the best bits of Skye, and is suitable for all riders with a good level of fitness.
The cycling starts at Armadale on the south of the island, which is a short ferry journey away from Mallaig on the Scottish mainland.
I camped out using a bivy bag at the end of the first day, and subsequently stayed in the Portree Youth Hostel for a couple of nights to ensure I got to see all of the beautiful landscape the island had to offer!
More scenery and information about the route I took can be found in my video “Solo Bikepacking the Isle of Skye, Scotland” embedded at the top and bottom of this blog article.
A camera! You’ll want to keep stopping and taking pictures! You will also need midge cream if you are coming in the spring or summer. All the cycling and filming gear I use while on my adventures is linked in my video descriptions on Youtube.
The weather is very changeable and also the Highland midges! Be prepared with midge cream!
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Water is everywhere on the island, and there are plenty of cafes and stop off points to grab a coffee or cake. Portree is the main town and you can stock up on everything there.
There are loads of campsites, caravan sites and bed and breakfasts on the island of Skye. They vary in cost but there is something for every budget and cycling style!
The ferry is fairly regular from Mallaig to Armadale and back, but sometimes, the low tides or poor weather means they are cancelled, so I recommend downloading the CalMac App from the App Store, which contains a live tracker of delays to all local Scottish ferry services.
THINGS TO SEE ALONG THE ROUTE
Cycling the Isle of Skye is probably the best way to experience its gorgeous landscapes. There are quite a few things to see in Skye but the landscape highlights when biking the Isle are definitely:
I’ve been to the Isle of Syke once before (without my bike), in February 2019. The weather was rubbish and everything was shut…
As a result, I had unfinished business with the Island and wanted to return with my bike to see the Island’s beautiful scenery, hopefully, in more favourable weather.
I’m pleased to report, that on my following journey, the scenery didn’t disappoint!
I hired a car and drove to Mallaig on the Scottish Mainland. I parked up, unloaded my bike and got the ferry across to Armadale.
It is also possible to get to Mallaig by train, and although it is a slow journey, it is one of the best, most scenic train journeys you will ever witness! Do make sure you book your bike on beforehand, as there’s no guarantee they will take it!
The weather was fortunately, amazingly clear, which is not typical of Scottish weather. I had planned to bivvy by the coast once I had reached the town of Broadford. I found a cracking spot, with an incredible sunset to boot! Unfortunately, I forgot my midge cream, which was a disaster!
The Highland Midge is an awful, irritating insect that swarms around any animal or human they smell, and as a result, I got eaten alive! A very rookie mistake...
Top Tip: If you are planning to visit to the Isle of Skye during the spring and summer, bring a midge net and insect repellent!
On the next day, I carried on cycling the main road to Portree, the Island’s main town and fishing port, where I had booked two nights at the Portree Youth Hostel. The Hostel was perfectly located, and they kindly let me store my bike in my bedroom.
Portree has everything you will need to refuel during your adventure and has a lot of interesting scenery, including the old castle ruins.
The following day, I had planned on riding a large loop up the top of the Island to see the Old Man of Storr and the Lealt Falls. I also wanted to see the Quiraing, which is a stunning mountain formation near the top of the loop, but unfortunately, I had to cut my route slightly short – so I inevitably missed that!
However, the weather was completely clear, a real rarity in Scotland! As a result of the clarity, the views near the Old Man of Storr and by the coast were some of the best views I’ve ever seen – truly breath-taking!
On the final day, I planned a slightly different bike route back to the ferry, taking in the other side of the glen. I even managed to see some lovely Highland cow calves!
The roads were very easy to navigate and, despite the Island being made up mostly of main roads, they are wide and sweeping, making it easy for drivers to overtake and give cyclists lots of room.
The ferry timetables are all easy to locate on the Caledonian Macbrayne website, and are fairly frequent, making the island an absolute no brainer to visit by bike!
Hi, I’m Tom. A Yorkshire (UK) lad in love with adventures and bikepacking. I bring out a cinematic bikepacking film every month from different beautiful locations all across the UK and abroad. Please help support me by liking, commenting, and subscribing to my channel! – Thanks! Tom (Cycling366)