The Cairngorms National Park is renowned for being home to a quarter of Scotland’s native forest and 25% of the UK’s endangered species.
But it is also an outstanding place to cycle, as a new film demonstrates.
International cycling expert and filmmaker Markus Stitz has captured a 165-mile gravel bike journey through the park in ‘Home is Where the Trails Are’, available on YouTube.
In the film, Markus documents his journey and speaks to people that live and work in the Cairngorms National Park.
The new route, designed by Bikepacking Scotland in partnership with VisitCairngorms, starts and finishes in Aviemore, following old military and drovers’ roads.
National park has everything you need for a bike adventure
Although the Cairngorms has four of the five highest mountains in Scotland, there are no extreme climbs and descents on the bike route.
The project is supported by the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project and National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scotrail and Schwalbe.
Markus said: “The Cairngorms is an exceptional place for cycling.
“Not only does it have amazing trails, nature and landscapes, it has everything you need to support your adventure, from cycle-friendly accommodation and cafes, to an amazing network of bike shops, and places to hire bikes.
“Aviemore was a good access point as it’s well connected by trains, and there are also great routes in the north and south to extend this bikepacking adventure if people want to spend much more time in the saddle.
“The thing that fascinated me from the very first minute I arrived in Aviemore was the passion that people had for their home.”
The Cairngorm National Park Loop is one of the highlights in his new book, featuring 20 bikepacking routes across Scotland, which is released in May.
From the NC500 to the Iron Curtain
Markus has previously partnered with the North Coast 500 to create a range of on and off-road bike itineraries for the 516-mile journey.
Last year he also teamed up with fellow round the world cyclists Mark Beaumont and Jenny Graham to encourage more people to cycle around Argyll and the isles.
The trio completed a 500-mile cycle around Scotland’s Adventure Coast as part of the Explore Your Boundaries series.
In 2021, Markus also made a film about cycling the former Iron Curtain.
The Cairngorms film also marks Scotland hosting the UCI Cycling World Championships this year and 20 years of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Mark Tate, CEO of Cairngorms Business Partnership, said: “The new route travels through some really special places for nature, making it even more important that we take the responsibility that comes with our right of responsible access seriously and enjoy and care for this special place together.”
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