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Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

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philadelphia
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Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

Hi -- my husband and I will be in London for business in July. We are thinking of taking a side trip to the highlands. Both of us have been to Edinburgh but we've only seen the Scottish countryside from a train!

We are day hikers -- fit middle aged folks but not mountain climbers. We're good for 8-10 miles a day, but not much more. We also love cycling. Is there a place in the Highlands that is all about hiking and cycling -- we don't necessary need beachy areas or watersports. And definitely don't care about stuff like golf. We like to set off on our own hike or cycle, experience nature and escape people.

Any suggestions? A Scottish friend said Fort William, but then someone else said Inverness.

PS We are thinking of taking the overnight train from London. Seems fun!

Glasgow, United...
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1. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

I think Fort William is your best bet. Either destination works for the sleeper, but you have more rapidly accessible options on the west, once you step off the train.

http://www.outdoorcapital.co.uk/

The Stunning...
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2. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

The Fort William area would also get my vote although the Aviemore/Speyside/Cairngorm area is also well worth looking at.

The Stunning...
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3. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

Another area worth looking at would be Torridon/Kinlochewe/Loch Maree/Beinn Eighe/Gairloch :-)

Fife, United Kingdom
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4. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

A lot of the places on the Walk Highlands website would also be good for biking and I would second Goanjock's idea of the Aviemore/Speyside/Cairngorm area - there are so many places to cycle, beautiful rivers, remote paths, mountains, forest tracks etc. Are you renting a car to get yourselves around or just biking?

Check out the website

walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/aviemore.shtml

Once in Inverness you could easily hire a car or get public transport to Aviemore (33 miles south) and from there rent bikes and look for accommodation

http://visitcairngorms.com/onabike.html

You can also take bikes on some public buses which would take you to other areas to explore

Have a great trip

Woody x

5. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

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Edinburgh
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6. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

I would choose Aviemore (a few stops before Inverness) as that has more short low-level hike (8-10 miles) options and you don't have to change train when coming from London (East Coast). Glasgow to Fort William is a very scenic journey but almost 5 hours on top of your journey from London. Aviemore is just under 3 hours by train from Edinburgh. There tends to be less midges in the East too (July/Aug is peak midge season!). You still get them though so buy some Smidge. Bike hire in Aviemore or just outside and nice places to go include Loch an Eilein, (Rothiemurchus) and Loch Morlich plus trails through the forests. http://www.google.com/search?q=Bike+hire+in+Aviemore&aq=f&oq=Bike+hire+in+Aviemore

If you go West (Fort William) then Glen Nevis or the Great Glen way would make for nice cycling. The Great Glen Way is a better for cycling than walking imho. You could walk part of the West Highland Way (in 'reverse') from Fort William or the Ben Nevis track up to halfway Lochan.

I think that Aviemore/Cairngorms offers more in the way of shorter low-level walks though and if you want a quieter base then take a bus and stay in Nethy Bridge or somewhere or there are a few B&B's on the ski centre road still within a short walking distance of Aviemore centre:

outdoordiscovery.co.uk/aviemore-bike-hire.php

http://www.junipergarden.co.uk/

http://www.corrourhouse.co.uk/

http://www.theoldministershouse.co.uk/

Edited: 10:31 am, April 10, 2013
Fife, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

MarkM - The OP doesn't seem to have taken any interest in the things we have posted since her original post - or maybe she is just busy checking out all the websites and other info we have given her??

W x

philadelphia
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8. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

Hi all

Sorry for the radio silence. I appreciate all the help and am feeling just a bit overwhelmed by all of it. Am busy looking into things now. Lots of moving parts. Thanks for all the insight --

Edinburgh
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9. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

No worries - if you are feeling overwhelmed and have any more questions I am sure folks will be happy to help? Aviemore (Cairngorms) area low level walks can often involve forest walks (although they don't have to) so wether or not you like forest walks may come into the equation?

Take a look at this book on the Cairngorms [Walking in the Cairngorms: Walks, trails and scrambles

By Ronald Turnbull] (you can read a fair bit of it online for free although amazon etc may have copies to buy in the US): books.google.co.uk/books… which includes lots of low level walks.

Cairngorm hills/mountains tend to be more rounded, while West Coast hills tend to be more craggy/jagged - so at first glance the West Coast hills can appear more 'spectacular' in appearance. Which they are of course, the Cairngorms can take some time to appreciate and personally I think you need to walk into places like Loch Avon or the Lairig Ghru walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/lairig-ghru.s… to really experience the best of them, but lots of easier/shorter walks like Loch an Eilean, or An Lochan Uaine http://v-g.me.uk/Trips/G0045/G0045.htm or even Loch Morlich, still give a good flavour of the area and I like the forest walks in summer where they can provide some welcome shade if it's a rare warm day! You may get lucky and see red squirrels too or even a pine marten.

The sleeper is good fun but regardless of wether you choose to take it from London to Fort WIlliam or to London to Aviemore (or somewhere else) book in advance for the lowest fares and bear in mind that it does not run on a Saturday night - scotrail.co.uk/caledoniansleeper/timetables.…

Edited: 2:46 pm, April 11, 2013
philadelphia
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10. Re: Inverness or Fort William for hiking and biking in July?

I think the problem is it all sounds so wonderful! I wish I had more than a week...I want to see everything. On the other hand, it also seems like I can't really make a mistake. Thanks again for everything.