My name’s Scotty Laughland, I live in Scotland and this is Scotty’s Scotland Showcase Season 2. After showcasing my favorite trails and riding locations in Season 1, I’ve decided to do things a little differently and bring you along on my journey of discovery.

In this season, there were highs and lows. Rideable – and less rideable – sections of trail, along with a fair bit of struggle, drama and challenges in terms of timing, unpredictable weather and energy levels. Throw in a couple of crashes and it all adds to the unprecedented challenge of documenting and exploring the untamed beast that we call singletrack.

Scotty’s Scotland Showcase Season 2 - The Scottish MTB Discovery

Episode 1: The Best Local Lap - My Home Trail MTB Tour

A journey of discovery should start at home - I wanted to share where my MTB story began by showcasing my home trails.

My short and sweet daily track is a 10km loop with a little bit of everything: technical climbing, fast descents, root chutes, jumps, berms, and natural sections of trail. It’s a mini MTB paradise including a summit: Dumyat, a central-Scotland staple with volcanic rock features ad views across Scotland and onto the Highland fault line.

Episode 2: Scotland’s Best Kept MTB Singletrack? The Trossachs

Just around the corner from my home, you’ll find Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park – with over 1,800 square km of lakes and mountainous forests featuring some of the most rugged terrain in Scotland. And that’s saying something.

We started by summiting Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro. From start to finish, you’ve got incredible 360-degree views. The descent was rough, ‘chonky’ but fun once we found the flow.

Here in Scotland, we have two distinct types of mountains: Munros and Corbetts. Munro: a Scottish mountain with an elevation of more than 3,000 feet (914 meters). Corbett: a Scottish mountain with an elevation of between 2,500 and 3,000 feet (762 and 914 meters). Some of these mountains work as amazing descents. Others don’t.

Next on our list was a Corbett called the Cobbler. Its jagged peak has an enormous straight and rocky spine that makes for a peculiar-looking mountain – and not one you’d immediately consider biking on. In fact, the path to the summit was so tough, I had to use the bike as an anchor to pull myself up. Dropping in was technical and difficult, more like a long trial section. I rode one line, looked up and spotted the most incredible rock slab that I had to go and attempt to ride – a true highlight for me.

We further explored the National Park by riding Stùc a' Chròin, Ben More, Ben Ghlas, Ben Lawers and exploring the up-and-coming riding spot of Balquidder. You’ll have to watch the full episode to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t.

Episode 3: Taking a Train to the Trails and Sleeping in the Mountains

How do you define epic? For me, this was it. A two-day route taking in 100km of singletrack with over 2000m of ascent and descent.

Starting at Bridge of Orchy, we jumped on the train for 40 minutes, arriving at Corrour Railway Station, the highest and most remote railway station in the United Kingdom.

We took the path to Leum Ulliem, a Corbett, which degraded from defined to downright tricky. After some bog bashing, we eventually found our way to the summit where we were greeted with the most incredible views across Glencoe, the Mamores and the Cairngorms.

That night, we slept in the mountains. Having somewhat underestimated the route for day 1, we arrived at our camp spot, soaked through and in the dark of midnight.

After 5.5 hours of rest, we awoke before sunrise to head up to the summit of Binnein Mòr. Managing to ride the ridge line, we got some epic shots beneath the wispy clouds rolling in and out. Then the real challenge began with technical hike-a-bikes across loose terrain with high-consequence exposure and long, challenging descents. Upon reaching the valley floor, I was utterly exhausted with just enough energy to ride back to Fort William.

Episode 4: The Most Incredible and Beautiful Mountain Bike Ride in Scotland

It’s amazing what you can do in a day. The places you can get to, the corners you can reach. Our mission this time: 45km with more than 1000m of climbing and descending through some deserted and wild sections of Scotland.

The first highlight of the route was Shenavall Bothy. This mountainside refuge provides shelter from both weather and midges. For those who aren’t acquainted with the midge. this is a small insect, native to Scotland, with piranha-sized teeth.

Upon reaching our highest point, we looked down the valley and it was just layer upon layer of endless mountain summits with a ribbon of singletrack weaving between. It looked undeniably incredible and just kept getting better and better, it was fun, flowy and fast all the way down to the infamous Causeway.

This one-day epic is one of those rides that should be on any MTB riders bucket list, it’s something truly special.

Episode 5: Discovering Scotland’s Last Great Wilderness by Bike and Boat

‘Wilderness; where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.’

Starting in the coastal village of Mallaig, we made our way to Shiel Bridge with more than three days of bike packing. Day 1 saw us accessing the eastern peninsula of Loch Nevis where a boat shuttled us to the far end of the Loch. From there, a short ride took us to our first night's stopover in Sourlies Bothy.

Waking up on Day 2, we had an up-and-over mission to the most remote pub in the UK - only accessible by a boat or, in our case, a 3-hour mission through the mountains. Arriving in Inverie, there’s a small cafe, a shop where you can restock on necessary provisions and the pub: The Old Forge.

The final day would be a big one. An estimated nine hours in the saddle with 50km and 1500m of climbing and descending. The day started great, we made good headway through tough terrain, ticked off a fun first descent and meandered along the edge of Loch Hourn. The final portion of this route saw us travel through yet more incredible landscapes before making our return to ‘civilization’. This had been a true off-the-grid adventure from start to finish!

Episode 6: The Road Trip, Skye, Raasay and Harris

The Western Isles of Scotland are relatively unknown for mountain biking. While there are no established mountain bike trails, there is a network of mountain paths connecting villages and abandoned settlements, making for incredible raw mountain bike riding.

The Isle of Skye was our base for the trip. We stayed in the island’s capital, Portree. Here, you can find all the amenities you may need: coffee shops, restaurants, souvenir shops and ample accommodation. Its central location makes for easy exploration of the island. From here, we rode the Sligachan Path and the Old Man of Storr.

Raasay is a small island off the northwestern coast of Skye, a brilliant micro adventure of a day trip. We boarded the first ferry, landed, stopped off at the distillery to sample some Scotch before pedaling up the tarmac road and joining the path that would take us up Dùn Caan, the highest mountain of the island.

It was a relatively easy ascent and upon reaching the summit we were rewarded with breathtaking views of the mainland and surrounding islands. The descent was a good mix of technical riding with fast and flowy sections. We made it down just in time to catch the last boat back as the sun began to set beyond Skye.

Our final island to explore was the Isle of Harris, a stunning two-hour journey from Skye. We docked into Tarbert, traveling past rolling coastal hills and clear blue water. Our mission was an out-and-back single-day epic following the Postman’s Path.

This route that had been trodden in by the villagers of Rhenigidale, which now sees less traffic since the construction of the tarmac road in 1990. The views were jaw-dropping and the trail matched it. Tight, technical, and steep switchbacks brought us right down to a beach. From there to the village, we passed through abandoned settlements and rode along the coastline. Once in Rhenigidale, there was just one thing left, the return ride just like the Postie would have made it!

It goes without saying that doing routes like these requires experience, preparation, and planning. Always carry the necessary equipment with you and respect where you ride.

Share This Article

Related stories