Cairngorms to Cuillins; mountain to ocean: experience the beating heart of Highlands
On this Highland Odyssey mountain bike tour in Scotland you’ll experience the glorious tapestry of landscapes, trails, people, and food that make up the Scottish Highlands.
From the rolling hills of the Cairngorm massif to the imposing peaks of the Cuillin and Torridon mountains, you’ll cross land and water and immerse yourself in Highland life.
- Riding in Britain’s only Arctic environment
- Enjoying dinner watching the sun set over the Isle of Skye
- Biking along the coast, then catching a small boat back to the mainland keeping watch for dolphins and sea eagles
- Taking on the top two descents in Scotland in the famous Torridon mountains
- Indulging in the best local seafood, followed by a gin tasting
Tour Dates 2023
- 6 – 13 May (5 PLACES)
- 10 – 17 June
- 24 June – 1 July (7 PLACES)
Tour Dates 2023
- 22 – 29 July (5 PLACES)
- 12 – 19 August (6 PLACES)
- 2 – 9 September
- 16 – 23 September
Is this Highland Odyssey MTB tour for you?
We want you to have the best experience in Scotland, so it’s important to be sure that this is the perfect mountain bike tour, with the right level of challenge, for you.
You’re an experienced mountain biker, riding at least twice a week through the season and comfortable on: technical climbs; tight singletrack descents through forest; rough, rocky singletrack; rock gardens; muddy/ loose trails; and water bars. Read more on our intermediate+ skill level.
Highland Odyssey Mountain bike tour Itinerary
The flow of your Highland Odyssey mountain bike tour has been designed to become progressively more technical throughout the course of the week. Your guides will talk you through each new challenge so that you make the most of your Highland experience and go home a more technically skilled mountain biker.
- +Arrival in Scotland - refresh + prepare for your adventure
If you’re travelling a long way or across several time zones to Scotland, we recommend arriving in Inverness a day or two early to allow your body to adjust and to make sure any flight or luggage delays don’t spoil your trip.
- +Day 1 - Group meet-up + warm up ride in Rothiemurchus Forest
Your guide will meet you late morning in Inverness (exact details will be advised two weeks before) and transfer you to H+I Adventures HQ for a welcome briefing with coffee and cake, and bike building/ tuning session.
With bikes set up and ready to roll, we’ll head south to Aviemore for our first ride into the Cairngorms proper, and one of the largest surviving areas of ancient Caledonian pine forest in Europe. Covering an area of over 30 square kilometres, this forest is steeped in history and folklore.
Weaving our way through 300-year-old Scots pine, our ride starts to head off-the-beaten-track into the lesser-known singletrack that flows through the forest at the foot of the iconic northern corries of the Cairngorm massif.
After a short climb we will descend a great piece of singletrack built for the national cross country championships, which has been left to change over time into the natural, fast and flowing trail it is today. Heading up and over the ‘Rocky Road’, we get views looking across the Eastern Cairngorms, and with one more flowing descent we spin back to Aviemore, passing Highland cattle and red deer, and making it back in time for some of the finer tastes of this area!
We will be staying in our favourite guest house tonight, and will head into town to a locals’ favourite for our first meal together.
Distance cycled: 15km (app. 3 hours)
Accommodation: Guest house Aviemore
- +Day 2 - Wilderness riding in Glen Feshie
One of the most beautiful, dramatic and lesser-travelled areas of the Cairngorms is Glen Feshie. This wide open glen could easily be mistaken for a set from Jurassic Park, and this is where we start to get a real taste of wilderness. Our ride starts with a short transfer into lush forest, home to endangered animals such as Capercaillie and Pine Marten, and slowly opens towards the River Feshie.
Skirting along the river on double and singletrack, we ride further into the glen itself and then the adventure really starts! Be prepared for wet feet as we cross the river and head up above the old hunting lodges, before we arrive at a gorgeous piece of singletrack flowing through the high forest and into the moorland.
Let off the brakes before the final sweeping corners below, and if you can manage to look up from the trail, the view across the moors is often littered with herds of wild deer. Still buzzing from the descent we start to work our way across to the hillside opposite, passing old crofts and abandoned black houses left from the Highland Clearances.
Back on singletrack we climb a short but punchy trail to the top of the hillside for a short breath catcher. Below us is a local favourite – super-fast and flowy, it’s impossible not to have fun on the well earned last descent.
Back at the van we’ll load bikes and head back to our guest house to freshen up before dinner. This evening we’ll head to a family run restaurant in a nearby village, known for their fantastic food showcasing the best local produce.
Distance cycled: 40km (app. 6 hours)
Accommodation: Guest house Aviemore
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 3 - Coastal singletrack and dolphin spotting!
We have an early start today, so after a big breakfast we’ll load up the van and trailer, ready to ride one of the hidden gems. We’ll drive to the busy fishing town of Mallaig, and the start of our ride. After a short road spin and climb to wake up the legs we find ourselves on the singletrack above Loch Morar, famed for its remote location and the Loch Morar Monster (Nessie’s cousin).
The trail is a mixture of fast, flowing turns through ferns and challenging rocky climbs and descents, all surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Eventually we’ll work our way to a hidden beach where we will be collected by the island ferry.
On the way back to Mallaig we’ll be looking at the steep coastal mountains we have ridden, and keeping an eye out for the sea eagles swooping above us, and dolphins playing in the bow waves below us.
Tonight we will have dinner accompanied by panoramic views across to the Isle of Skye, which is where we are heading tomorrow.
Distance cycled: 20km (app. 4 hours)
Accommodation: Small hotel, Mallaig
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 4 - Isle of Skye and the Cuillin mountains
This morning we’ll cross the water, taking the island ferry over to Armadale on the Isle of Skye, and drive north through the beautiful ‘Garden of Skye’.
Today’s ride is an out-and-back route where the trail carves its way through the valley between the majestic Cuillin mountains. This is a deceptively challenging trail – you won’t gain much height, but the terrain is very rocky in places, and you’ll have to work your arms lifting both wheels over obstacles!
We’ll end our ride conveniently at the Sligachan bar where we’ll stop for a wee dram, before heading over to the picturesque village of Plockton and our accommodation for the night. We’ll have another delicious meal in the village pub, where we might be lucky enough to catch some local musicians playing.
Distance cycled: 24km (app. 5 hours)
Accommodation: Small hotel, Plockton
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 5 - Traversing the Applecross Peninsula
After a proper Scottish breakfast, we’ll drive the coastal route to Kenmore and the starting point of our ride. There will be some tough climbing to start, then we’ll crest out at the plateau to admire the stunning views.
Next it’s knee pads on, brakes off as we enjoy a truly grin-inducing descent which leads us straight to Applecross bay and the quaint and quirky Walled Garden Cafe. Set in a Victorian garden and serving wonderful farm to table produce, getting our fill before retracing our bike tracks to Kenmore and driving the short distance to tonight’s accommodation in Kinlochewe.
Our accommodation is a former coaching inn, steeped in mountaineering history, and we’ll enjoy a wonderful dinner followed by a gin and whisky tasting with the owners!
Distance cycled: 28km (app. 4 hours)
Accommodation: Small hotel, Kinlochewe
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 6 - Torridon big mountain day
Make sure to fuel up this morning as today is a big mountain day! As far as mountain biking in Scotland goes, Torridon is an iconic destination, but we’ll still have most of the trails to ourselves, and your first day of riding here is sure to blow your mind.
You’ll ride some challenging, but enjoyable climbs, loads of rocks, steps, and “babies’ heads”, and then be rewarded with a superb descent that seems to go on forever!
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take some spectacular photos across the hills and sea.
After riding, dinner will be in real favourite of ours set in the quaint, seaside village of Shieldaig, before returning for our second night in Kinlochewe.
Distance cycled: 60km (app. 8 hours)
Accommodation: Small hotel, Kinlochewe
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 7 - More Torridon treats
On our last day of mountain biking in Scotland we climb back out from the bottom of the glen and head up into the mountains of Torridon for our second fix of these incredible trails. This is what mountain biking in Scotland is all about! After stopping one more time to soak up the atmosphere and appreciate the giants of Torridon, we’ll drop into the best descent from the previous day.
Now you know the lines, you can let off the brakes and really enjoy the trail, a perfect way to finish a week of riding the best of Scotland with a smile!
Once the bikes are loaded on the trailer for the last time, we’ll drive back to Inverness and our beautiful guest house for the evening, before heading to our favourite restaurant in town for our final celebratory meal together.
Distance cycled: 25km (app.4 hours)
Accommodation: Small guest house, Inverness
Meals included: Breakfast
- +Day 8 - Departure
Sadly today is the end of our fantastic mountain bike trip in Scotland, and we have to say our farewells after an unforgettable adventure experiencing the best of the Highlands.
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: Our mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in the Highlands of Scotland and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.
- +Tour price
Highland Odyssey Tour Price
£1,795 GBP / $2,603 USD / €2,244 EUR per person (ex. flights, based on two sharing a room)
- Services of a fully-qualified, expert mountain bike guide for the duration of the trip
- All breakfasts
- 7 nights’ accommodation
- All transport as required by the itinerary
- Ferry tickets
- Gin/ whisky tasting
- All group safety equipment
- Airport/ H+I recommended hotel pick-up on day 1
- Global Rescue security evacuation services
- International/domestic flights
- Bike rental – we have a fleet of high quality, full suspension MTBs available on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of £400/ $580/ €500 each
- Travel insurance
- Lunches and evening meal
- Single supplement:* £300 / $435 / €375
- Tips in restaurants and hotels
- Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages
- Personal safety and cycling equipment
- Any other items not mentioned as included
*Single supplement is only applicable if you are travelling solo and do not wish to share a room with another rider of the same sex. If you’re happy to do that, you need not add the supplement.
H+I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), so you can be sure that when you book with us your money will be safe.
- +Skill + fitness levels required
Does this sound like you? Your vacation time is precious and we want to be absolutely sure that you’re making the most of it, by finding the perfect mountain bike tour for you. Be honest with yourself, if this adventure isn’t right for you, we have other mountain bike tours that may well be a better fit for your mountain biking experience and ability.
Please note: The skill level required reflects an overall rating for the trails on the trip but you should expect to find sections and obstacles that push your ability levels.
- You are generally comfortable riding most types of terrain in different conditions: singletrack, double track, muddy, dry, loose, bedrock…
- You can brake, use gears and corner instinctively
- You’ll have a go on moderate technical features, such as small rock gardens, small drops and steeper sections, but may get off and walk certain technical features
- You ride more than once a week throughout your biking season
- And the ‘+’ part of ‘Intermediate+’ means that you will be aiming to tackle more of those moderate technical features
- You have a good level of bike fitness, exercising at least three times every week throughout the year, for an hour at a time
- You can ride a mountain bike for up to six hours a day at a moderate pace, with snack and photo stops, for three or more consecutive days
- You can tackle two or three fairly significant climbs a day, up to 600 metres each
Typical trails you’ll be riding
- The trails on our Highland Odyssey mountain bike tour are natural ‘rustic’ ancient walking paths of varying trail surface, that will increase in technical difficulty as the tour progresses
- Double track: undulating and sometimes steep jeep tracks made up of a hard-packed and loose dirt surface; forest roads
- Singletrack: you will encounter up to head-sized, fixed and loose rocks, as well as fixed bedrock style trails, drainage bars, roots, and ruts (some deep)
- The surface may be dry and loose, or wet and muddy depending on weather conditions
- You will have to carry your bike (hike-a-bike) on one occasion, for up to 45 minutes, and there are river crossings to contend with
- You will have wet feet!
- +Arrival + departure details
Your Highland Odyssey mountain bike holiday in Scotland will start and end in Inverness. Your guide will meet you in Inverness around 12 noon on the first day of your tour (exact details will be provided two weeks prior to departure).
If you are flying to Scotland we advise that you arrive the day before and book an overnight stay in Inverness, in order to allow for any delays in flights and/or luggage.
We have created this handy guide for spending 24 hours in Inverness before the start of your mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey.
- +Travelling to Scotland
Inverness is well connected to the rest of the UK by good rail, air, and coach links. For more information on how to get to Inverness view our travel guide. If you are travelling by train with your mountain bike, please note that you will need to book your bike onto the train in advance as there is very limited space. It is also worth noting that if you fly into Edinburgh, you have to take a tram from the airport to the train station, and then the train to Inverness which takes approx 3 hours.
You must book your bike on to your flight in advance, otherwise you could face a heavy charge at the airport. Here are some tips and video on how to pack your bike for travel.
Visitors from certain countries require a visa to holiday in the UK. Please check the UK Government website before booking to see if you will need a visa for your Highland Odyssey mountain bike adventure, Scotland.
- +Preparing yourself + your bike for your adventure
Please read the full kit list before you start packing for your mountain bike tour Scotland, so that you have everything you need!
One of the trail obstacles you’ll encounter often along the way, which some people may not be used to, is water bars. To overcome water bars without incurring pinch punctures, you need to be proficient at the front + rear wheel lift (bunny-hop), so get practising!
Our Highland Odyssey mountain bike tour Scotland is for intermediate+ riders with level 5 fitness. The ideal bike for the Highland trails is a good quality full-suspension bike with around 150mm of front travel. To get the most out of your mountain bike tour Scotland you should plan some training in advance of your tour, and it is essential that, if you’re bringing your own bike, you must ensure that it has been properly serviced before the trip.
We have some handy tips on how to do this, however if you would rather rent a bike we can organise rental of one of our fantastic Yeti bikes for the duration of your mountain bike tour Scotland.
- +Your mountain bike guides in Scotland
Our mountain bike guides in Scotland are qualified to the very highest level in the UK, through the Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Award. They are qualified in first-aid and for this type of trip they also hold an Expedition Leader Award, which means that they have the knowledge and experience to lead a group safely in these very remote, wild and unpredictable parts of Scotland.
In addition to formal qualifications, our guides have years of experience in the saddle on the Highland trails and will be able to enhance your holiday with facts and fables on local history, flora and fauna.
The team is made up of local riders who are experts in their fields, superb local guides and genuinely nice people. Their passion for mountain biking and for the Highlands and Islands is truly infectious and they’re completely committed to responsible tourism and making sure that our business is run as sustainably as possible.
- +Accommodation + food
One of the things that set our tours apart from other mountain bike tours in Scotland is the excellent accommodation we use. We understand that when you’ve had a big day in the great outdoors, you want a warm welcome, hot shower and a comfortable place to relax and unwind – because that’s exactly what we’re looking for too. This is why we only work with accommodation providers across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland whose standards of service match our own high expectations.
Food is a major part of our mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey, and we’ve worked hard (it’s been very tough!) to find the best local restaurants, cafes and pubs that produce the most delicious home-cooked meals using fresh, locally sourced produce.
- +Health + safety
No vaccinations are required for visiting Scotland.
You can drink the water from the rivers on our tours, following the instructions of your guide, and purification tablets will be available should you require them. All our guides are fully trained first aiders, so you can have peace on mind wherever you’re riding.
You should always consult your own doctor or physician before travelling to new countries to seek their advice on matters concerning your health abroad.
Your health and safety is on tour our top priority so when you travel with us you also have the peace of mind knowing that you will be covered by emergency medical and evacuation services.
Also, please let us know if you have any special food requirements, allergies or pre-existing conditions your guides should know about.
- +Currency + foreign exchange
The currency in Scotland is GBP (£), and this is the only currency that will be accepted, without exception. Where we will be travelling there are few banks, but most restaurant and shops accept credit card. It is, however, a good idea to have a small amount of cash (£50 per person) with you at all times, as a back-up.
It is not compulsory to tip your guides or drivers in Scotland, but if you feel that you have had a good service or experience on your mountain bike tour in the Highlands, you can tip at your discretion.
- +Holiday insurance
You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.
We work closely with WorldNomads whose policies are specially designed for mountain bike holidays and you can arrange your insurance cover directly with them.
Please note: our mountain bike tour Scotland is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in Scotland and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.
Submit your review
I just can't say enough about how incredible our Highland Odyssey experience was!
First, on the logistics front, Victoria's organization and responsiveness meant that we knew what to expect and were perfectly prepared for the trip. She checked in with just the right frequency and answered every question we had in a timely manner.
Second, the accommodations and the food (the FOOD!) were just top notch. Each of the lodgings was wonderful in its own unique way, and all were clean, comfortable, and surrounded by true Highlands beauty and charm. Every meal was nothing short of amazing, and we definitely enjoyed getting to know the gins and whiskeys of the region.
Last but certainly not least, it was Chris who truly made this experience what it was for our group; he is truly a master of his craft. When we were riding, he was able to balance sharing about the history and culture of the areas we visited, giving us time to rest and refuel, nudging us along when needed, giving us tips on navigating the unique Highlands terrain (the water bars!) and genuinely getting to know each of us. He went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and supported - ask him how he saved the day when one of our group members busted a derailleur 🙂
My first (but hopefully not last!) trip with H+I was the experience of a lifetime and I cannot recommend the company and this specific tour highly enough.
I cannot say enough good about this experience. From the start, Victoria was helpful through multiple re-bookings as the world dealt with the pandemic. We never felt pressured and once travel was again open, no detail was left un-addressed. Victoria was always available for questions and always had an answer.
Chris, our guide, was professional and someone that gained our trust from the start. I had the utmost confidence that no matter what met us in the wild and remote Highlands backcountry, he would have a solution. And the bike trails to which he lead us were amazing. I felt challenged in some way every day. In that challenge, Chris did a great job of patiently keeping us informed of the trail features and dangers so we could confidently ride within our comfort level.
While in the Highlands you can expect a warm welcome, delicious food, and exposure to some truly unique gin and whiskey. Chris has curated delicious meal opportunities and is more than willing to share his knowledge about the local history and whiskey. He never steered us wrong when it came to dining or drinking choices. He went above and beyond to show us the Highlands in a way only a real local could.
Once our time with H&I had ended, Victoria stepped back in to be sure the remainder of our stay in other parts of Scotland were just as great. I would call this an adventure of a lifetime with all the warmth of the Highland welcome. I highly recommend.
The Highland Odyssey MTB tour was a once in a lifetime experience and could not have been duplicated without the planning by H+I Adventures and the specific help of Victoria on logistics and Chris, our guide.
Make no mistake about it - Chris will immerse you in Highland Scottish culture. His knowledge and connection to the trails and local villages we traveled to immediately made us feel welcomed and it didn't take very long to realize that we were seeing a special, real, part of the country. Our tour was as far as one could get from cookie-cutter.
We rode amazing trails to remote places, ate and stayed in small inns run by fantastic local people serving fresh ingredients, and felt welcomed at every turn. On top of that, Chris not only kept us safe and motivated in the backcountry, but also took the time to connect with each one of us on a personal level throughout the week. He is truly a master of his craft and the trip would not have been the same without him. While it is immediately easy for anyone to see and appreciate Scotland's immense beauty and wonderful culture, the perspective given and gained through Chris's input was invaluable and truly made this a one-of-a-kind trip.
The riding is breathtaking. The trails and routes are perfectly curated, challenging, and unique. The accommodations and local fare are charming, authentic, and the stuff of life-long memories. Stop reading this review and book this trip right now!
Roots, rocks, bogs, more rocks and fantastic beauty.
This trip had it all. I am very impressed with the tour and the team at H+I, very professional and accommodating. Chris is a great guide and host for 7 days in the wilds. He is very knowledgeable and passionate for his craft. He seems to know every nook and cranny of every inch of trail, and is able to crisply describe the various upcoming "features" and the preferred lines etc. so you can take them blind with confidence.
This is a trip where one gets wet and muddy every day... I loved it! Definitely on the adventurous side of the spectrum.
Word of advice - Scottish water bars are no joke... Did someone recommend double downs?
Great time and I highly recommend H+I.
This was my first trip with H+I and first of this kind, and the bar was set very high right away!
Trails and riding: The choice of trails corresponds well to the skill level required by H+I. This is a technical ride on both climbing and descending. The milage done daily does not represent required fitness level - you will need to be ready for some heavy rock punches. The choice of trials is amazing and gives a great overview of what Scotland’s MTB is all about. It gets harder day by day so you learn gradually what is expected from you towards the end 🙂
Staff: We were lucky to have an amazing guide, Chris G, who exceeded my expectations on every possible level. Very passionate about mountains and riding, knowledgable and skilled with bikes, but most of all, a great companion along the way.
Many thanks to Victoria who runs the show from the office, and leaves no stone unturned. Everything said gets delivered beyond expectations.
Overall: This trip is a true adventure, run by a fantastic group of people. If you like technical and diverse trails, and Gin’n’Tonic, this trip is for you!
The Highland Odyssey was certainly properly-named! It was an awesome journey and a ton of fun! The mileage was +/- 1/3 asphalt (albeit through amazing country), 1/3 double track and 1/3 single track, so set your expectations. The single track was a broad range, but if you're looking for purpose-built flow trail, this isn't it. You'll be riding ancient walking trails, many of which are rocky, steep and require full concentration. Pay attention to the skill requirements - if you're not riding technical single track regularly, you will not do well and will slow your group down and may even force the guide to change the itinerary! We had a great group that all got along well and supported each other. Tony Yule was a great guide - the right mix of stern, funny, empathetic, safety-conscious and knowledgeable. Oh, and we had awesome weather, so that helps!
This was my first MTB trip and my first time with H+I. All I can say is I was completely blown away!
Victoria was amazing and answered all of my questions before the trip and was phenomenal when my bike was delayed on the trip over. Chris was outstanding and I could not ask for a better guide and person to spend a week biking with.
The terrain in scotland was unreal, this was by far the best week I've had on my bike. I would recommend this trip and H+I to anyone looking for a superb trip. I'm already looking forward to the next one.
An absolute fantastic adventure that you can not properly describe in words. Highly recommend to anyone will to take on an journey of a lifetime. You ride hard, eat well, and have great accommodations!
Chris (our guide) is without a doubt a true master at his trade and is a true professional. Not to mention an unbelievable ridder! He gave me some great direction on my ridding that I can continue to use moving forward.
Victoria is rock star with all the logistics. Also, went above and beyond with the issue I had with the airline (lost luggage). Thank you very much!
Just had an amazing week in the highlands with H+I.
Admittedly my MTB skills were left in the cupboard for around 2 years prior to coming on the Odyssey tour - I had booked this pre-lockdown and had since focussed more on fitness. We had Chris Gibbs as our main guide and instructor. An absolute professional, very knowledgable, a superb guide and a great person as a whole. His attention to detail and to each individial on this tour was commendable and he gained respect from all group participants. Would I do this again?? Too right, and will be booking another trip in the not too distant future. Well done all!
Ps. Sorry, Victoria also very lovely and kept in touch from start to finish, again huge attention to detail and all persons on the tour. Thank you for the memories!
Perfect planning, meticulous judgement of weather conditions, prepared for nearly all on trail repairs and never ending energy resources. Mix that with good vibes and gorgeous scenery - that’s the of Highland Odyssey!
This is my third trip with H+I. All have been fantastic. The riding is great, but that's just part of the adventure. Staying an dining in some of the most remote places, all with a like minded group of mountain bikers brings it all together. The local mountain bike guides bring the culture and history out in a way that is magical.
Thanks H+I for another great trip.
This all started with a video of Steve Peat! My husband wanted to go to Scotland. I was not as convinced as him, as riding in the rain is not my thing. Oh well! Here we go. We took part of the odyssey this month. Yes, we had rain! And lot’s of it. But, I found myself really enjoying the tour. The Highlands are even more spectacular in the rain. Our guide, Tony, was also very helpful in planning, guiding and helping us. The trails are challenging, xc type, and very demanding. The climbs are hard and the descents…A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! But at the end of each day the group celebrated an other little victory. It is my 4th H+I tour and every times, we meet fantastic people.
Thank you H+I for an other great adventure. Now, where is next?
We’ve been planning (and waiting) for our Highland Odyssey since 2019! And we weren’t disappointed. What an amazing journey we had in Scotland.
As expected, we experienced rain, wind, wet shoes and few midges. But we mostly experienced spectacular landscape, long and rewarding downhill trails, warm and welcoming hostels, tasty food and… beverages. We’ve also met a great group of riders and a fantastic guide. In short: a challenging but really rewarding mountain bike journey.
We came from Germany on the Highland Odyssey which is our first tour with H+I. When we arrived, our luggage, nor our bikes arrived with us! But everyone at H+I went out of their way to make sure we got our things delivered afterwards. Thank you so much to Victoria, Chris, Catherine and Euan for the help. In the meantime we were able to rent super bikes, and Chris sorted a bag full of bike clothing for us to use until our kit arrived.
The weather was not to good for May, but who expects 7 days of sunshine when traveling to Scotland? We got completely wet, top to bottom, outside to inside! (Not forgetting the river crossings!) But we were able to dry our clothes out each night, and rarely got really cold, thanks to the pedalling!
At this point I would like to give Chris a huge compliment and say thank you - he always had an eye on everyone in the group, immediately sensed when someone needed support and stayed close to them. He made stops to describe the next section of the route or trail and to give tips ("black rock slippy, red rock grippy”!) and nothing could shake his friendliness! His exuberant love for his country was also expressed in the fact that he drew our attention to the large and small peculiarities along the way. Great views (that we might have missed if we were so focused on the trail), small plants, interesting anecdotes. He didn't shy away from jokes either, and made time to photograph everyone in the group when there was a great backdrop with an awesome downhill position for the memories!
Everything was perfectly organised. The hotels are very well selected and in beautiful places. If there ever was a problem, Chris solved it. There is certainly a lot of work that goes on by the whole team when it comes to the planning, so thanks also to the back office!
Last but not least, we were really lucky with our group. Very international, everyone was happy to meet interesting people and was friendly and helpful. I think we also benefited from our little "grandma and grandpa status" 😉
Just finished a fantastic 7 days riding the most epic single tracks in the Highlands. From the jaw dropping scenery on challenging remote trails, to the amazing meals replete with the best locally sourced seafoods and meats — each day was a real adventure that ended with full bellies, aching bodies and wide smiles from our squad of 7 happy bikers.
Shout out to Chris, our intrepid guide who took great care of all details. A fixer of all things big and small: from flat tires to inclement weather … yes we are in Scotland but kudos for always putting us in the right “weather window” to avoid the worst of what the weather gods meant to throw at us!
And Victoria — whose enthusiasm and attentiveness shone through even before the trip started. She was a real spark behind the scenes, and an invaluable source of advice navigating the covid rescheduling and seamless logistics of this trip. Well done to the H+I team!
Highlands Odyssey has been a true scottish adventure. Chris, our guide, has been an amazing guide, skilled mtbiker and friend.
Wish we could have only stayed longer.
Hope to ride with you guys soon!!
There's only one guide like Ross,
There's only one guide like Ross,
Riding with Ross,
Riding with Ross,
Riding in the HighlandsWonderland!!!
Thanks Ross, Chris and Victoria for this amazing adventures "Highland Odyssey" #amazingwettrails#finestwishky#slàinte#greatlandscaps/nature#greatguides/fantasticorganisation#
five stars ++++
Cheers from Austria #Trail Riders Retz#
Couldn’t find 10 stars in the ratings, so I will settle for the 5 maximum I can select. H+I is something special. A rare gem. This was my second trip with them and I will probably do every single destination they have. The organization, the accommodation, the places they take you, the diversity, and of course above all the trails.
This is riding at his best. I still wake up and dream about it. Scotland is beautiful. I do not know where to start. And did I mention single malt yet? GO. You will be blown away.
It was simply an awesome trip. The organization, the guide, the fellow riders, the food, the views, everything was just amazing. An opportunity to disconnect and ride some of the best trails of the world. I must say, I’d never ridden trails like these, they are just unique. Places where bonding with your bike is the only way to deal with the terrain.
Team effort and a knowledgeable guide are crucial, and we had them both. Our spiritual leader :), Chris, is just great. I felt comfortable knowing we were in good hands!
Would I do it again?, oh Yes!, would I do something different? Yes, I’d probably eat less. Food is just delicious everywhere we went. My fellow riders, oh boy !… All great, Mark J, Mark W, Mike, Ian, Scott, Evan… Superb people !… It was not just about the ride, but an opportunity to connect with people passionate about MTB and nature…. Great combination.
Last but not least, Victoria was the backbone of the entire trip, the logistics guru running the show. She did not miss any detail and made sure I had a wonderful experience from the moment I emailed her to inquire about the tours, to the moment I went back home.
My recommendations ….. bring socks, and socks, and more socks … did I mention socks?
What an awesome week of mountain biking in glorious Scotland. Chris worked hard all week to give us all the best possible experience.
Great trails, some hard, technical riding, Chris balanced the information for the trails perfectly letting us know what to expect but with a couple of nice surprises too.
Accommodation – first rate – food – first class.
As a mountain bike guide Chris makes a great tour guide, cuisine and beer advisor, and importantly for our week, weatherman, his hard work put us in the right place at the right time, dodging the worst f the weather and affording us some stunning views.
Well worth mentioning Victoria’s hard work too, thank you so much for making tis trip happen in what can only have been very difficult times with everything that has been going on in the world.
Finally a thank you to the team I rode with, cheers guys, a great pleasure to be out there with you.
Would I do the trip again, yup, in a heartbeat.
This was my second tour with H+I. I’ve already reserved a third.
Over the course of this tour, the magnitude of the vistas and technical difficulty of the riding will progress. None of it is less than stunning. This tour delivers.
The food is excellent. The accommodations are great and varied. The new friends I made, I’ll take with me and I hope to ride with them again. A real standup group.
Chris is a consummate professional. An exceptional guide who is able to push your riding abilities, keep everyone safe, handle diverse challenges gracefully, and deliver the fun. Mountain biking in Scotland is indeed a “living thing,” as they say. Bring an attitude of adaptability, resilience, and good gear and you’ll have an extremely fun and fulfilling tour.
Other things to bring: a wide-angle lens, respect for the packing list, more socks than you think you need.
Things to leave at home: waterproof socks.
This was an awesome adventure through Scotland, taking in amazing trails, landscapes and history. Technically and physically testing mountain biking whilst in a fantastically welcoming environment.
Victoria was great at organizing (and reorganizing due to covid restrictions) our trip, which made the whole experience really enjoyable.
Chris our guide was personal, professional and knowledgeable. I got far more out of this week because I travelled with H+I. The route selection was amazing with a few surprises thrown in along the way. Chris also timed and positioned our rides to make the most of the dry weather.
I'd happily of stayed and done the trip all over again this week it was so good. I'll be phoning soon to arrange the next trip.
What a fantastic week! The riding was quite simply awesome, the scenery breathtaking, the accommodation superb and the food delicious.
Chris, our guide was professionalism personified. His love for the Highlands and it’s people is obvious. His knowledge of the Highlands geography, it’s flora and fauna, and even the local weather patterns is quite superb! He’s also pretty good on the local craft beers!
Special mention must also go to Victoria for all her work in the background. Thank you very much to both of you!
I could go on and on about how excellent this trip is. But, all I can add is I would happily do it all over again, right now!
5 Star , Great biking to challenge anyone , option to walk pieces if knackered or fearful , great weather , great scenery , well organised by Victoria , expertly led by Chris , mentor, serial bike fixer , philosopher, salmon enthusiast, beast on hills, punctuality personified.
Accommodation and food great.
Company great fun, the Swindon and Spanish speedsters and Edinburgh enthusiasts. Great trip expertly crafted by Chris, attention to detail makes things work
Wow, day after day of amazing technical riding, top notch hotels and guesthouses, 5 star seafood and perfect company!!
Being so looked after by our guide "the bear" it was easy to have such a great trip, what a guide...some would say the best!
Pretty sure if you google epic adventures it tells you to do this trip! Will be back!
What a amazing week, before the trip, Victoria was fantastic getting the booking sorted out. The true hero of the week was the guide, Chris the bear, his knowledge of the mountains guiding and MTB is second to none. Super helpful both on and off the mountain and when I crashed day one wrecking my seat post he went above and beyond to get it fixed. Got Nepal booked for next year and can’t wait
Amazing. Still lost for words. Would honestly like to spend the rest of my life doing the highland odyssey every week!
Very good routes. A privilege and an honour and an education to meet Chris. I was a much better rider at the end of the week than at the beginning, for sure. Perhaps even a better person! Great to meet Victoria and a big thank you to her for encouraging me to sign up.
And a big shout out to my fellow riders in the group. It was very good to meet and spend time with you. Lucky to have such a nice group.
Perfect accommodation. Clean, understated and very comfy. Dinner and breakfast perfect. And the rental bike was transformational. Thank you.
Just got back from the Highland Odyssey tour with a fresh set of aches and one or two bruises and I couldn’t be happier.
The scenery was both spectacular and humbling, the riding challenging and rewarding in equal measure.
Our guide Chris was always on point, whether showing us the very best trails to ride, places to eat, or performing impromptu bike surgery.
Always ready with a ripping yarn to lift our sprits, an uncanny ability to divine the weather on a minute by minute basis, and more than a few surprises up his sleeve.
And whilst we all kicked back in first class accommodation, he’d be outside making sure our bikes received some love after their days punishment.
As my riding skills progressed each day so did the challenge, reaching a crescendo with what Chris said that for some of us would be “the hardest day we had experienced on a bike so far”. Yep, I’ll give him that!.
All in all the whole trip was everything I’d hoped it would be, knowing the fantastic H+I team had everything covered. All I had to think about was riding my bike. Big love to the whole H+I team for taking such good care of us all.
Now that Im back can’t wait to put my new found riding skills into action, that is as soon as I stop walking like John Wayne.
I have been on many biking holidays with H+I and they are always outstanding .The trails are challenging and there are great places to visit.
The accommodation is very comfortable and the people are friendly. Chris the guide takes great care to plan good routes to suit the group and the weather. And he even fixes bikes on the trail when needed. A great holiday.
If you don’t like lounging by lochs, enjoying perfectly procured local produce, after thigh busting hike-a-bikes and all-natural terrain descending, I wouldn’t recommend this trip. You’d hate it.
That said, if you’re anything like us and thought that you had been spoilt by the French Alps, or some of H+I’s other trips including Norway’s Fjords and the Mountains of the Himalayas, you’d be forgiven for having expectations about Scotland which match that of standard TV footage or friend’s photos on Facebook.
The parts of Scotland you’ll see on this tour, are far from standard. In just one week, we saw wildlife we didn’t know existed, marvelled at the natural landscape we didn’t know could be so breathtaking, and our bodies jostled by the often untouched and rugged terrain. Our skills were pushed, our minds were expanded, and our muscles soothed by evenings spent sharing a meal together over beers and the luxury of a comfy bed each night.
I can’t decide what hurt more – our bodies from the exercise (most days were 5-8hrs in the saddle, seven days straight) or our faces from laughing so much. We felt far from broken, we ended the tour desperate to return, to do it all again.
What H+I do so well (and a special shout out to Catherine, Victoria and especially our guide Chris) is the combination of extremes. Extreme beauty, fun even in all weathers, all underpinned with expert local knowledge and coupled with the comfort of a well-tested and respected local guest house/hotel/B&B. The owners at our accommodation and rest stops greeted Chris with open arms like family because they know that this trip will draw only the most welcome of guests, who are there to immerse themselves in Scottish culture, history and of course the precious and unique environment.
The riding was like a tour of Europe, but all in one place and without the carbon footprint. One minute I felt I was riding on the Brecon Beacons or the Peaks, by feeling up high with no trees, just rocks and peaty soil. Then I was in the Alps, with bouldering terrain and small untrodden paths riding the full sus like a bucking bronco, or swooping through dense pine, spruce and Larch woodlands.
Next, I felt I was peaceful by a quiet stream, leading to a river and eventual loch, similar to shouldering a ridge in the Lake District and seeing what is on the other side. We were on summertime, so we had long hours of daylight to get up high, over 900m on one day and often 600-800m on the others. The temperature was mild in June, and the winds were high, which kept the midgies away! (Sort of…) But the most notable element, had to be Chris.
Chris is a local guide and there is little to nothing he doesn’t know. He is highly prized and dripping with qualifications, but works as a team with all the members of the tour. His ability to keep us safe, keep us on track and to time, to enthuse about the surroundings and adapt/adjust the week to our level of riding ability was greatly appreciated. The H+I tours are like being part of an evolution, with each trip changing every time and none the same as another. I ought to stop enthusing now, and get back to work, but if nothing else – just know – if you want something that no one else can have, have Scotland. The Highland Odyssey will not disappoint.
A few weeks have passed since I took part in the Highland Odyssey and I gladly look back on the amazingly great time in Scotland. For me it was the first trip of its kind. I expected to take part in some guided trips during the tour and experience the Highlands by bike. What I got on the trip was a lot more.
Our guide Chris did all his best to tell us as much as possible about his homeland and show the most beautiful sides of the Highland Trails. In addition to the impressive nature, I was particularly touched by the hospitality and warmth of the people. I was absolutely thrilled by the diversity of the Highlands. Forests, heathland, rivers, lakes, the sea, mountains, everything was there.
In addition to the great trails, H + I had put together great accommodations and selected really great restaurants for dinner. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for the really great service.
It was a fantastic experience and I will definitely do my next MTB trip with H + I again!
After 5 years we're back again in Scotland for a tour with H+I. What a week and what a tour experience we had under special pandemic circumstances. We felt very welcome and well supplied, in addition lucky with weather and wildlife spotting. And as always, guide Chris with full speed ahead and always in a good mood.
For all of us of our private group it was very special to join H+I in their home territory and execute their first tour in 2020 (corona conditioned) and launch the Highland Odyssey trip incl. highlight stage with two hike-a-bikes and long technical and joyful downhills.
We are grateful for H+I team to have made this happen and we will definitely join you on another tour hopefully soon!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey
- Q. How many people will be in the group?
We only run small group adventures to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, and there will generally be between five and eight people in each group. The minimum number of people we require to run our mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey is four.
- Q. What’s the age range of people who come on this holiday?
The mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey caters for a wide age range; typically between 30- and 55-years-old. As long as you have a good level of physical fitness and excellent bike handling skills you will enjoy this mountain bike tour no matter what your age.
- Q. What style of mountain bike tour is it?
The mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey is a guided mountain bike vacation, ideal for intermediate+ mountain bikers. You’ll ride our guides’ favourite trails, which are technically challenging, in some of the most remote and dramatic scenery in Scotland.
- Q. How far will we be mountain biking each day?
The distances we cover each day range from 35km to 60km, in accordance with the technical difficulty of the trails: the easier stages of the route are longer. The technical difficulty of the trails increases each day, so you can practice your technique and increase your confidence as you progress through the tour. Each evening your guides will chat with you about the following day’s mountain biking and give you an idea of the sorts of trails you can look forward to. If there’s anything you feel anxious about, your guides will be happy to discuss it with you..
- Q. Do we have to carry all our gear with us?
No, you only need to carry a 20 litre day pack with you whilst riding. Your luggage will be transferred in the van.
- Q. What if I come across a section of trail I can’t ride?
Your guide will be very happy to give you some bike skills training during your trip to help improve your confidence and your enjoyment of your mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey. If there is a section that you would prefer not to ride, then you can simply hop off your bike and walk. You won’t be the only one to walk certain sections and it’s not a competition in biking ability; it’s a mountain bike holiday!
- Q. Who will be guiding us?
Your mountain bike guides are local, qualified, experienced professionals who have a real passion for mountain biking and for the fabulous outdoor playground that is the Highlands of Scotland. Your safety is their number one priority, closely followed by your enjoyment of the tour. They will always be on-hand to answer any questions or requests you may have throughout your trip. Meet your guides in Scotland…
- Q. What sort of accommodation will we be staying in?
On this mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey, Scotland you will be staying in 3 and 4-star B&Bs, guest houses and small hotels. We use the best quality accommodation in each area, and favour small, family-run establishments over large chain hotels. You’ll often be staying in family homes, which gives you the chance to get to know the local people of the Highlands of Scotland.
- Q. Which meals are included in the tour price?
All breakfasts are included in the price of the tour, and you’ll enjoy fantastic breakfasts at each accommodation which will set you up well for each day in the saddle. Lunch and dinner are not included in the trip price. Each morning we will pick up our own provisions for lunch, and we’ll carry this with us on the trail. We can cater for most dietary requirements. We’ll have dinner in a local pub, café or restaurant in the evening. This means that everyone can choose exactly what they want for lunch and dinner and only pay for their own choices. You should allow around £30-£35 per day for lunches and dinners.
- Q. What type of mountain bike is best for the trip?
A good quality full suspension mountain bike with around 150mm travel front and rear will be ideal for this mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey. The terrain you will be riding is rough in places and you will feel more comfortable on a full suspension bike for the duration of the trip. We can arrange bike hire for you for the duration of your trip and we have a limited number of high quality full suspension MTBs available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Q. What clothes and kit should I bring?
The weather in Scotland is changeable at any time of the year, so you must make sure that you have a waterproof jacket that you can ride in, and you should also bring plenty of layers of breathable clothing to ensure that you are always warm enough and can remove a layer if you get too hot. You should also bring cycling shorts/trousers, gloves, a warm jacket for the evenings, padded undershorts, and shoes specific for cycling. Read the full kit list to find out what you need to pack for your mountain bike tour Highland Odyssey.
- Q. Will there be a chance to get laundry done?
We recommend bringing a small bottle of detergent to hand wash kit if needed, and there are drying rooms in some of the accommodation.
- Q. Can I bring a drone with me?
Unfortunately not. We are working hard to provide each and every customer who rides with us an unparalleled mountain bike experience in every destination we ride. This takes years of experience, riding and planning to get right, and a drone adds a very real danger to the group’s riding experience and health & safety.