Record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont shares his favourite cycling routes

Record-breaking Scottish cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont has shared his favourite cycling routes at National Trust for Scotland’s places.

The globe-trotting adventurer has urged cyclists to follow new guidance from NTS to help it protect the landscapes and nature in its care

‘Cycling is the perfect mode of transport to explore some of the National Trust for Scotland’s sites,’ Mark said. 

‘I would encourage everyone to get out and spend time in nature, it’s good for your physical and mental health. 

‘But fundamentally, for young people, it also gives them an empathy for, and an appreciation of, the need to look after the environment.

‘You’ve got to spend time in nature, and in wild places, to understand how to interact with it and look after it.’

To help cyclists make the most out of their visits to National Trust for Scotland places, the conservation charity has also published new guidance on riding responsibly.



Mark’s Top trials 

The Hermitage, Perthshire 

National Cycle Network route 77 runs through Dunkeld, offering easy access to the Hermitage and the forests behind it, which have plenty of cycling paths to explore. 

There’s a five-mile flat off-road route from Birnam to the Hermitage, ideal for a family afternoon out. 

On arrival at the Hermitage, there is a bike rack and temporary toilet facilities (until October). 

The new River Tay Way will also include a section running through the Hermitage.  


Culzean Castle & Country Park, Ayrshire

Cycling is a family-friendly way to get around the multitude of historic features and attractions at Culzean Castle and Country Park.

From the Home Farm car park, an easy pedal along a wide path takes you to the Deer Park, where lovely llamas also mingle among the herd. 

Nearby, the iconic ruined arch frames a view of the castle – the perfect photo spot.

An ice cream stop and two adventure playparks provide the ideal destination for young visitors. 

Or lock up the bikes and nip down the footpath beyond the pagoda to explore the beach. 


Balmacara, Ross-shire 

The traditional Highland crofting estate is best explored by bike.

Follow the single-track road network and the 27km of public footpaths to discover townships, woodland, hills and coastline, with spectacular views along the way. 

These waymarked routes are essentially footpaths, and while not mountainous, they are steep in places and the surface is not specifically designed for bikes, so some care, skill and experience is advised. 

Pick up a leaflet on site or contact the local National Trust for Scotland team at the property in advance for advice on route choice and ground conditions, including the best areas for cycling. 


Brodie Castle, Moray 

The grounds offer acres of space for wee ones to explore. 

Take to the well-made paths and forest tracks around the pond, little riders will make easy work of the paths before enjoying some exciting play time in the Playful Garden. 

Brodie is on the Inverness-to-Aberdeen Cycle Route 1, ideal for experienced cyclists who’re used to riding on quiet country roads. 


Crathes Castle & Estate, Aberdeenshire

Close to the route of the Deeside Way, an easy-going shared cycling and walking trail that’s part of the National Cycle Network, running from the centre of Aberdeen to Ballater. 

Cycle racks are available at the castle and garden to store bicycles securely, before enjoying the courtyard Café 1702, exploring the magnificent 16th-century castle, sculpted topiary and gorgeous walled garden. 

Across the wider estate is a varied landscape that’s rich in wildlife, accessed by 24km of trails including pedal-friendly routes.  


Mar Lodge Estate, near Braemar

Mar Lodge Estate is the place to come for mountain views, Caledonian pinewoods and a remarkable variety of wildlife. 

A popular way to access this incredible area is to cycle via minor roads from Braemar alongside the River Dee to Queen Victoria’s favourite picnic spot at Linn of Dee. 

Lock up bikes at new dedicated bicycle racks to head off and explore the stunning Cairngorms landscape on foot. 

Tackle the return leg initially on roads on the north side of the river, before diverting south via Mar Lodge to cross the recently restored Victoria Bridge and re-join the outward route.  


Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness

The battlefield is on the National Cycle Network.

Follow the blue Route 1 cycle signs from the centre of Inverness towards Nairn, passing the university campus and heading through Smithton and Balloch. 

After a long climb that passes under the railway line, keep pedalling to a crossroads – from here, turn right and follow a path that forks left off the road to reach the battlefield visitor centre. 

There are plenty of bike parking spaces, a great café, and the start of a 10km circular trail across the wider battlefield (onto Forestry and Land Scotland paths) offering a sense of the full scale of the last pitched battle on British soil. 


Pollok House, Glasgow

Glasgow’s South West City Way cycle route has been extended to the north-eastern edge of Pollok Country Park, making it possible to travel here all the way from the city centre on car-free cycle lanes. 

At the heart of the country park is Pollok House, a grand home in the care of the Trust. 

Enjoy a family-friendly pedal around the park past the Burrell Collection and herd of Highland Cattle, then head inside the elegant house for a guided tour – don’t miss the wonderful art collection or the fascinating servants’ quarters downstairs. 

Finish off with delicious home-baking in the Edwardian Kitchen café or an ice cream by the river. 


Preston Mill, East Linton 

Visitors can cycle from East Linton village, or take your bike and travel by train, cycling from the station at Drem. 

The picturesque mill on the banks of the River Tyne is also a good place to take a break while doing the John Muir Way (it’s on the section from Dunbar to North Berwick). 

Grab an ice cream and relax in the picnic area, then take a wander through the grounds to spot otters or herons on the walk from the weir along the river to Phantassie Doocot. 

There’s a bike rack at Preston Mill and helpful staff even keep a pump and puncture repair kit under the counter for any cycling mishaps. 

Read more on Scottish Field’s Outdoors pages. 

Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.