Starting and ending in Scotland’s capital, my journey will involve a clockwise, ten-day loop of the country during which I will cover more than 1300 miles. Although some details may change (like many bikers, I’m prone to wandering off the beaten track) this is the planned route for A Scottish Journey. If I’m going to be passing through your local area let me know.
Day 1 – Tuesday April 3 – Edinburgh & the south of Scotland
My journey will begin on the steps of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. From here I will get on the bike and set off south, taking in Melrose, Hawick and Gretna on my way to my first stopover in Kirkcudbright.
Day 2 – Wednesday April 4 – Ayrshire & Glasgow
The next stage of the trip will take me through Newton Stewart and along the edge of the Galloway Forest Park as I head for the Ayrshire coast at Girvan. From there I’ll turn north, following the coastline all the way to Portencross Castle before swinging inland to Glasgow.
Day 3 – Thursay April 5 – The Argyll coast
The third part of A Scottish Journey will take me past the south-western tip of Loch Lomond, along the Gare Loch and then on to the Argyll coast road. I’ll pass through Arrochar, Inveraray and Lochgilphead on the way to the coastal town of Oban.
Day 4 – Friday April 6 – The Road to the Isles, Skye and Plockton
My fourth day on the bike will see me heading north from Oban, along the east of Loch Linnhe before taking the Corran Ferry and continuing into Fort William. From here I will join the Road to the Isles all the way to Mallaig, followed by a crossing to Skye before returning to the mainland and stopping overnight in Plockton.
Day 5 – Saturday April 7 – Bealach na Bà & the coast road to Ullapool
On day five of my journey I’ll be riding over the famous Bealach na Bà into Applecross before continuing along the rugged coastline of Wester Ross, passing by Loch Maree and Gairloch on my way to Ullapool.
Day 6 – Sunday April 8 – Sutherland, Caithness & the ferry to Orkney
The next morning I’ll leave Ullapool and ride all the way to Scotland’s north coast, which I will then follow eastward. I need to be in Gills Bay in time to catch the 6pm ferry to St Margaret’s Hope on Orkney, with my final destination being the main town of Kirkwall.
Day 7 – Monday April 9 – Orkney
There’ll be no rest on the seventh day of my journey, when I’ll be aiming to complete a loop of mainland Orkney that will include visits to Skara Brae, Stromness and the Ring of Brodgar. I’ll also be hopping over the water to Wyre, the tiny Orcadian island on which Edwin Muir grew up.
Day 8 – Tuesday April 10 – Back to the mainland
The journey south begins with a ride from Kirkwall back to St Margaret’s Hope and a return ferry trip to Gills Bay. From there I’ll head east to John O Groats before following the A9 down the coast, passing through Wick, Helmsdale, Golspie and the Cromarty Firth on my way to Inverness.
Day 9 – Wednesday April 11 – The north east, from Inverness to Aberdeen
The penultimate day of the trip takes me east from Inverness, through Nairn, Elgin and Banff to Peterhead. From there I’ll turn south again, passing by Donald Trump’s controversial golf resort on my way to Aberdeen.
Day 10 – Thursday April 12 – Dundee, the Queensferry Crossing & back to Edinburgh
The final day of A Scottish Journey will take me from Aberdeen to Dundee, across the Tay, through Fife, over the new Queensferry Crossing and back into Edinburgh. The trip will end where it began: on the steps of the Scottish Parliament.