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Lochs, bothies & the heart of the highlands — The Badger Divide

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Lochs, bothies & the heart of the highlands — The Badger Divide

Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore

5-9

days

3-5 h

/ day

212 mi

16,625 ft

16,625 ft

Welcome to the Badger Divide; a 200 mile (320 km) bikepacking route across the Scottish Highlands, linking the cities of Inverness to the north and Glasgow to the south. Devised by local off road enthusiast Stu Allan, the Badger Divide links up several established trails including the Great Glen Way and West Highland Way, as well as national long distance cycle trails. The result is a flowing and accessible trail that can be ridden either on a gravel bike, robust touring bike or mountain bike, showcasing some of the best landscapes along the length of the Highlands.

Expect long and meandering gravel roads, chunky rocky passes, forestry roads and quiet linking lanes. There’s also quite a few towns and villages on the route, making resupply fairly simple, especially considering how remote some of these areas can be.

For exceptionally fit, experienced and ambitious riders, the Badger Divide can be completed in two days with an overnight stop at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel or camping nearby. While there’s no hike-a-bike along the route, some of the climbs are not to be underestimated and can take some time, especially in inclement weather. Here we propose the route over five stages, which of course you can choose to combine or ride as single day stages – up to you.

You might be wondering where the name came from? Comically, it’s a play on words referring to the Baja Divide, a well known bikepacking route in Baja, California.

Open Access Legislation in Scotland makes this route possible, so make sure you’re respectful of the environment and follow the Outdoor Access Code (outdooraccess-scotland.scot). There are a number of bothies and youth hostels, hotels and guesthouses along the route if you’d rather not camp or if the weather is rough.

The best time of year to tackle the Badger Divide is either late spring to early summer, once the ground has dried out a little, yet before the onset of midge season, or after it in September/October. It’s not recommended for the winter season due to potential severe weather and dangerous river crossings.

When travelling to the start and finish of the Badger Divide, access is very easy by train, with both of these points being close to major city train stations. Find out more and plan your journey at scotrail.co.uk.

Find out more about the Badger Divide and the institutions that help make this possible here thebadgerdivide.co.uk and more about The Racing Collective’s annual ride using this route here theracingcollective.com/scotduro.html

On The Map

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The Badger Divide

211 mi

16,700 ft

16,675 ft

Last updated: November 10, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:54
    41.3 mi
    7.0 mph
    4,075 ft
    4,050 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Start your Highlands adventure leaving the train station in Inverness, a short ride from the official start point at the spectacular Inverness Castle. On this first stage you’ll have 41.3 miles (66.4 km) to tackle before reaching Fort Augustus at the end of the stage.

    

    Leave the buzz of the city behind

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    05:36
    37.4 mi
    6.7 mph
    3,875 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage is a little shorter and easier, totalling 37.4 miles (60.2 km) with just one climb, taking you from Fort Augustus over the well known Corrieyairack Pass. After dropping down towards Spey Dam Reservoir, you’ll ride a brief stint in the Cairngorms National Park and reach the head of Loch

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    05:27
    39.7 mi
    7.3 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,600 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage three on the Badger Divide could arguably be described as the most spectacular of them all, passing through the Corrour Estate, home to the most remote railway station and pub in the UK! You’ll cover off 38.8 miles (62.5 km) in this stage, ending with another potential wild camp near Loch Rannoch

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    06:18
    50.9 mi
    8.1 mph
    3,800 ft
    4,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The penultimate stage on the Badger Divide covers no less than 51 miles (82 km), the longest stage by distance. From the edge of Loch Rannoch, this stage takes you past the Bridge of Balgie to touch on Loch Lyon, over the road Kenknock climb and down past Loch Lubnaig down close to Callander, where you

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    05:22
    43.1 mi
    8.0 mph
    2,450 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Welcome to the fifth and final stage of the Badger Divide! On this last stage you’ll cover 43 miles (69.3 km) from near Callander to Glasgow city, finishing right on the steps of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, or rather opposite Brewdog Bar. From there it’s only a short ride to the central train

    by Katherine Moore

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    212 mi
  • Duration
    28:38 h
  • Elevation
    16,625 ft16,625 ft

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Lochs, bothies & the heart of the highlands — The Badger Divide

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