It’s now even easier for London types to fly to the Highlands with British Airways' new flights
British Airways are set to resume flights from Heathrow to Inverness from May, after a 19-year hiatus. EasyJet flies to Inverness out of Gatwick and Luton, Flybe from City, so the competition should help to drive down prices.
In celebration, we’ve compiled our top-three rides within spitting distance of the airport, and they all last longer than the 90-minute flight.
EASY: Glen Affric, Highlands
17km (10.6 miles)
Our route around Glen Affric is an easy introduction to Highlands riding, without the technical difficulty, so it’s perfect for new riders and even kids. There’s lots going for it, even without the techie stuff though; the scenery is beautiful, it’s remote enough to keep the crowds away and the riding’s fun for all abilities.
Route guide: Turn L out of car park (Landranger 25/NH200233), then L over bridge. Continue W, along the S shores of Loch Affric then turn R at the far end. Cross bridge and continue to cairn that marks R turn. Follow it E, all the way back.
GPS download po.st/GlenAffric
HARD: Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms
29km (18 miles)
Lairig Ghru is rocky, fast and mountainous… just without the great distance or altitude gain of regular mountain routes. The heart of this ride is a big singletrack descent, and it’s rocky, ridable terrain and low altitude make for an all-weather, all-year treat. There are swathes of rocky bits to fly over and career down if you’ve got the speed and skills, but less experienced riders will enjoy rolling and picking their way down too. Lairig Ghru also opens itself up to a much bigger loop, pushing on over the pass. It’ll take more planning and an overnight stop, just run your eye over the map and see.
GPS download po.st/LairigGhru
HARDER: Achnashellach, Torridon
46km (28.6 miles)
There’s something truly special about the area around Torridon and Applecross that makes it
well worth the 90-minute drive from the airport. This ride takes place in an otherworldly landscape, with its big, white-coloured, rocky mountains and slivers of singletrack that open out onto great slabs of yet more rock.
GPS download po.st/Torridon
Most of the riding around here is the perfect mix of flowy trails and picky, technical stuff.