Ten things to DO in Dornoch: Cycling

From woodland tracks to quiet country roads, mountain bike trails to easy town rides, discover what Dornoch and the surrounding area has to offer cyclists of all ages and abilities. We have some of the quietest roads in the country as well as some of the most beautiful views: Sutherland is the perfect place to explore by bike!

1) Highland Wild Cat Mountain Bike Trails: Golspie
Since the Highland Wildcat Trail was established in 2005, they have constructed over 18Km of trail throughout the hills behind the village of Golspie (10 miles north of Dornoch) including 2 trails which run on Ben Bhraggie. Voted as “Best Destination in the UK” by Mountain Bike Rider magazine (June‘08), Highland Wildcat offers trails for all abilities that link directly to Golspie village and its local services.

2)  Balblair Mountain Bike Trails: Bonar Bridge
Balblair has 2 popular trails for mountain bikers. The trails are mostly on loose gravel tracks with sections of bare rock and boardwalk but they can be muddy and very steep in places. You can explore Balblair’s sunny forest glades and high rocky slabs on bike, foot or horseback so you need to be aware of other users. There’s a sense of wild country on the tops of the hills, with views west and east, while deep in the forest you’ll find sheltered clearings full of wildflowers and berries.

3) Camore Woods: Mountain Bike Ride, Dornoch
Ride your bikes through the tranquility of the forest whilst watching out for buzzards hunting voles, roe deer flitting through the trees and woodland birds feasting on wild raspberries and blaeberries in summer.
Once you are finished, explore the natural play area which includes tunnels, dens, a fort and games for children and the whole family. For people interested in history, hidden in the forest are more than 25 hut circles and chambered cairns.

4) Kyle of Sutherland loop: Road Bike Ride
This easy day ride starts from Bonar Bridge and takes place on flat, quiet roads. For those who cycle regularly there are no major hills on this all-tarmac ride and you can keep up a decent pace. Even for occasional cyclists this is an achievable day-long ride on quiet roads set in some spectacular scenery.

5) Dornoch to Embo: Road Bike Ride
Two beautiful sandy beaches in one day? Plus the best rock pools around thrown in for good measure?! Yes please! Take your bikes from the centre of Dornoch, on the quiet back road to Embo (3.5 miles). Spend the morning on the beach, explore the rock pools and have a seat in the sun whilst your children play in the excellent play park at Grannies’ Heilan Hame. After lunch head back to Dornoch, ride through the golf course and down to the Dornoch Beach Car Park. Spend the rest of the day on Dornoch beach, do the Beach treasure walk or just relax and read a book before heading back to Dornoch for dinner. Perfect!

6) Bike Hire: Sam’s Bike Shed and Grannie’s Heilan Hame
There are several places you can hire bikes from in the area. Sam’s Bike Shed offers very reasonable hire prices; daily, weekly and family rates. Email samsbikehire@gmail.com for more details or to book some bikes and get cycling during your holiday!

7) Bike Shops: Heaven bikes: Ardgay, Lindsay & Co: Golspie, MountTain bike Shop: Tain
For new and used bikes, bike repairs or accessories, there are several shops locally who will be able to help.

8) East Sutherland Wheelers
East Sutherland Wheelers is a cycling club formed in 2010 and is based in Golspie. The club was formed to promote the benefits of cycling and to provide a framework of support to the growing number of cyclists  in East Sutherland. They encourage participation in cycling in all disciplines, organise cycling events and provide training and racing facilities for its members. The East Sutherland Wheelers also run weekly indoor spin cycle classes throughout the darker months of the year to help keep the legs turning throughout the winter!

9) Accomodation for Cyclists

Dornoch has lots of cycle friendly accommodation including: Lily House, The Third, Wester Whinhill, Greenkeeper’s Cottage, Balloan Cottage and many more. See our website for more accommodation options.

Further afield, why not try Sleeperzz based in Rogart,  is a family-run hostel with 22 beds in a range of interesting vehicles. They offer budget accommodation ideal for backpackers, families, walkers, cyclists. Sleeperzzz offers a discount to guests arriving by bicycle. The Crask Inn, on the A837 12 miles north of Lairg, is a perfect place to stop on your way north or west. They do great food as well as a comfortable bed for the night.  The Altnaharra Hotel also offers cycle friendly accommodation and discounts to people cycling Lands End to John O’Groats.

10) Cycling Events
The Ullapool Beag and The Ullapool Mhor is a very popular sportive held annually in September. The East Sutherland Wheelers also host an Annual Race Weekend in May for road cyclists of all ages which includes  Time Trial events and a closed circuit Criterium race.

Some words with thanks from the linked websites above and Visit Sutherland