This is Land’s End to John O’Groats with a difference. Forget going direct, and forget sticking to just tarmac; the GB Divide traces a route through England, Wales and Scotland to deliver the very best off road riding that Great Britain has to offer, from techy singletrack, wide gravel roads, mucky byways, quiet rural lanes and everything in between.
While the total route covers around 1,242 miles (2,000 km), here we’ve split the task into four Collections, with this Scotland stage being the fourth and final leg. Within this Collection, there are eight stages of around 62 miles (100km), which take you from the borders of Scotland to John O’Groats, via the Southern Uplands, Trossachs, Grampian Mountains, and the Scottish Highlands.
The route is raced annually as ‘GBDURO’, an enduro style endurance race composed of four stages spanning the entire length. For more about GBDURO, visit theracingcollective.com/gbduro. Both the route and the race were founded and are now run by The Racing Collective.
The ideal bike choice for riding the GB Divide is a tough one. While there are many paved lane sections that would favour a faster drop bar gravel bike, there are also some tricky, more technical parts that would favour a rigid or even hardtail mountain bike. In some parts you will have no other option but to walk, especially when you take bikepacking luggage into consideration.
The accessibility of this fourth leg is much less than the previous three stages in England and Wales. The closest train station to the start is in Lockerbie, a 25 mile (41km) road ride from Burnfoot. At John O’Groats, the closest train stations are Wick (16 miles or 26km) or Thurso (19 miles or 31km). There are very few train stations on the route - you’ll need to think about where you can exit the route for any emergencies.
So if you think you’re ready to take on the length of Great Britain along this spectacular meandering route, the GB Divide is for you. Good luck!
Head to parts 1, 2 and 3 here:
Read more about the GB Divide route here: gbdivide.net
Day one of eight on this leg of the GB Divide is a 50-mile (80km) ride north west from Burnfoot to Broughton, passing over the forest from Teviotdale towards St Mary’s Loch. After a fast road section, start the gravel climb and cut through onto the Captain’s Way, following the wide gravel roads as you climb back towards the road.Enjoy the road descent down to near Ettrick, following the water north east onto the Border Loop Cycle Way along the road. Drop down toward the stunning St Mary’s Loch before heading north along Douglas Burn, a doubletrack gravel road rising into a steep climb near the summit of Dun Rig. Sail down the other side to then climb Hunt Hill and then over onto the road of the Tweed Cycleway and down the quiet Dreva Road to be delivered into Broughton at the end of the first stage.
Stage two covers 57 miles (92km) up around the edge of Edinburgh to Stirling. The day starts with a road section through Biggar and then onto smaller lanes past Auchengray …
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The third stage of your Scotland crossing poses three climbs in total, starting with one gentle introduction before the Ben Lawers Dam climb and then up and over Meall a' …
The fourth stage is a challenging one, with no less than 59 miles (95km) and the feared Corrieyairack Pass to tackle. However, you have the outdoors lover’s gem of Fort Augustus as your end point today. Book ahead into a youth hostel, guesthouse or hotel to make sure you can be well fed, washed and housed after a mega day in the saddle today.Leave Loch Rannoch heading north west over Rannoch Moor on singletrack, descending gently to ride around the scenic Loch Ossian on wide doubletrack gravel roads. Follow these north past Loch Ghuilbinn through the Corrour Estate to reach Loch Laggan. Here, you will find, the gravel road on the south shore much more picturesque than the main road on the opposite side. Pass by Ardverikie Castle, made famous by ‘Monarch of the Glen’, before following the doubletrack gravel road to Loch Crunachdan.
After a luxurious night’s stay in the town of Fort Augustus, today’s overnighter couldn’t be more different; a night in the Hydro Bothy that’s well known to many Highland Trail …
A longer 58-mile (93km) ride is on the cards today, leaving the remote bothy and heading to the relative luxury of Oykel Bridge, with a refuelling stop at Contin Stores …
It’s the penultimate day today - either of your Scottish tour of the whole of Great Britain! You’ll be riding a mighty 65 miles (105km), with the Power Station Climb in the middle, so make sure you leave plenty of time.Start on the road to Rosehall to cross Cassley Bridge, following the road alongside the river to the start of the Power Station Climb. It’s 3.5km (2.1 miles) long, averaging 6.7% and topping out at 12% in places, good luck!Descend sharply on singletrack to cross Loch Shin, then take the road past Loch Merland before turning right onto gravel doubletrack. Climb up and over past Loch an Aslaird, then descend to the road to Altnaharra and past Loch Naver. There’s limited accommodation here, so your best bet is to find a good place to wild camp for the night.
This is it! The final stage of the mighty GB Divide takes you all the way to John O’Groats on a superb 71-mile (115km) ride. Start early to make good time and you’ll be rewarded with a champion’s finish.Start by heading south east to Kinbrace along the road, taking the main road north into Forsinard Flows Nature Reserve, where you turn right onto a dreamy section of gravel heading east to Altnabreac station.Touch on the northern edge of Loch More before continuing east to meet the main road, riding through Watten and finally on the dead straight roads across Caithness to John O’Groats. You’ll find places to have a celebratory meal, as well as a campsite, hotel, and Inn with rooms to stay the night. Don’t forget to get your picture with the sign!