Follow VisitScotland

Cycling revolution

Press Release   •   Aug 08, 2017 09:53 BST

As Scottish cycling star and ultra-endurance athlete Mark Beaumont approaches the Australian half way point on his record breaking attempt to cycle around the globe in 80 days, new figures have revealed the multi million pound value of road cycling tourism to the Scottish economy.

The research by VisitScotland reveals that one million day trips and 261,000 overnight trips, which include cycling on a road or surfaced path, were taken by visitors from the UK in 2015, generating a combined total of £106million for the Scottish economy.

The research also highlights that the activity continues to attract both men and woman and remains particularly popular with those aged 35 to 54.

With routes such as the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, the Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way and the 4 Abbeys Way in the Scottish Borders, Scotland’s 2, 000 mile National Cycle Network covers some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, said: “Scotland’s reputation as a cycling destination is growing every year thanks to the creation of new and exciting routes that show the best of our stunning landscapes. We also have over 500 miles of traffic-free paths which make Scotland a great family-friendly cycling country.

We are lucky to be working with people like Mark, who is a fantastic ambassador, not just for the sport, but for Scotland as a whole. His sheer determination, spirit and obvious love of Scotland’s breathtaking cycling routes has undoubtedly inspired visitors and this is sure to continue as he completes the second leg of his Artemis World Cycle challenge.

Prior to embarking on his epic 18,000-mile cycle, Mark Beaumont helped raise awareness of some of the country’s best cycling routes by cycling the Hebridean Way, the North Coast 500 and across Argyll.

Mark Beaumont said: “The north of Scotland has the quietest and safest roads in Scotland for cycling. I recently pedalled the North Coast 500 route around Caithness and Sutherland, taking in the Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb. This entire west coast up past Torridon, Ullapool and Lochinver is absolutely stunning. Even further afield, right on the edge of the Atlantic, I am also a big fan of the Hebridean Way, which spans the length of the 10 islands of the Outer Hebrides.”

Following his departure from Paris in July, Mark Beaumont has spent 16 hours each day on the bike (cycling 240 miles) and has travelled through more than ten countries to reach the half way stage of his 18,000-mile challenge during which he has consumed over 300,000 calories for energy.

You don’t have to be a record-breaking cyclist like Mark Beaumont to get out there and enjoy the cycling in Scotland.

Here are 5 routes to get you started:

Following part of the National Cycle Network Route 780, this terrific, long-distance route spans the length of the enchanting Outer Hebrides island chain. Along the way, enjoy paradise beaches, the Calanais Standing Stones and the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.

Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland's finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb.

Look out for the rich variety of wildlife (such as osprey, kingfishers and otters) on this flat, circular route around the banks of Loch Leven. Enjoy the views out to Lochleven Castle, which is situated on its own island in the middle of the loch, and stop for a tasty lunch at places such as Loch Leven's Larder.

Tour the Scottish Borders' four famous abbeys - Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh - on this scenic (but fairly demanding) route through the glorious Borders countryside. Why not make a day of it and stop off at attractions as you pass by?

This beautiful linear route along the coast from Irvine to Ayr takes in some of Ayrshire's most picturesque scenery, from the coastline with views out to the Isle of Arran to the thriving marshland and woodland of two Scottish wildlife reserves, Gailes Marsh and Shewalton Wood.

For further information on cycling routes in Scotland, check out visitscotland.com

For further statistics about cycling in Scotland visit www.visitscotland.org/pdf/InsightsCyclingv8May17.pdf

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017