We take you through the Etape Caledonia Cycle Route
You can down load the Etape Caledonia cycle route and play it on Memory Map. We recommend you use 3D fly through that will give you an idea of the spectacular route and scenery you will enjoy. We have been very impressed how memory map gives you an idea of the terrain and the route you will be cycling along. You might like to also read about one cyclist's views on the Garmen GPS device - we believe this will become more and more important for those who enjoy their cycle.
The start of the MacMillan Cancer Support Caledonia Etape race takes place in the centre of Pitlochry’s main street, Atholl Road. The cyclists are started according to their intended race completion speeds, the fastest leaving first the slowest last. They are started in-groups of 100 at a time. Each bike has a transponder fitted to the front axle, which starts each individual riders stopwatch as they cross over the start line and stops when the cyclist crosses the finish line.
The cyclists leave Pitlochry main street heading along the B8079 towards the Pass of Killiecrankie, they turn left over the Garry Bridge (see photos of last years race) onto the B8019 towards Tummel Bridge offering spectacular views up Killiecrankie Pass. The road here is undulating with slight climbs with a twisting route as the cyclists climb up to Queen’s View a popular beauty spot named after Robert the Bruce’s Queen in 1300. Queen’s view gives spectacular views down Loch Tummel. The road heads gradually downhill passing the Tummel Inn an old coaching Inn, and popular venue for lunches, snacks and evening meals, through the village of Tummel Bridge .
At Tummel Bridge there is the Tummel Bridge Holiday Park an all year round holiday destination with log cabins and holiday homes. The Park has it’s own club, offering entertainment as well as serving meals. and Glen Coe beyond, with Schiehallion (3,554ft) on the left of the view.
Kinloch Rannoch and Loch Rannoch. The Etape cycle route then heads out along the B846 past Dunalastair holiday cottages to Kinloch Rannoch, a small village at the head of Loch Rannoch. This is an ideal viewing point for spectators of the race as they will be able to see the cyclists turning into the village before they head off to cycle around Loch Rannoch. The spectators will then be able to once more cheer on the cyclists when they return to Kinloch Rannoch before heading up the steep climb around Schiehallion. These same spectators will then be able to get in their cars and drive back to Pitlochry to watch the cyclists as they come over the finish line.
Around Loch Rannoch there are a number of small businesses with several Hotels and the well known Loch Rannoch (Time-share) Holiday Club, the MacDonald Highland Hotel and the Dunalastair Hotel . There are also a number of self-catering facilities, which are great places to stay for those who are looking to enjoy a holiday in unspoilt highland scenery.
Climb around Schiehallion. Once the cyclists have made the steep climb over the foothills of Schiehallion up to join the B846 at white bridge, in the Braes of Foss, there is the reward of the fabulous descent down the other side to Coshieville House B&B after passing Glengoulandie Deer Park where you can see red deer.
Fortingall and Glen Lyon. The cycle route then takes you to Fortingall, known for having Europe’s oldest piece of living vegetation a yew tree known as the Fortingall Yew dated between 3,000 to 5,000 years old. The Fortingall Hotel is nearby where you can have a meal or a drink. After passing the entrance to Glen Lyon sometimes referred to as ‘The most beautiful glen in Scotland’ the route then turns left and takes the cyclist back on a quiet back road to join the B846 near Dull.
The route to weem. The route now takes the cyclist past Highland Safaris, which offers excellent wildlife tours up into the Highland Perthshire hills where whole host of different wildlife and fabulous views, can be seen, Highland Safaris are very cyclist friendly with all sorts of benefits available. The House of Menzie follows this, which is a superb venue for a bite to eat, shop or choose some great wine. After this the cyclist will see Castle Menzies the home of the chiefs of Clan Menzies until 1918, open to visitors during the season and well worth a visit.
Weem. Weem Hotel is where the man who first built roads in the Highlands, General George Wade stayed in 1735. The purpose of these roads was to help the government in Westminster pacify the troublesome highland Clans such as the Menzies. Next door is the Adventurers Escape Eco Bunkhouse and Self-Catering Cottages ecofriendly accommodation and National Kayak School where you can learn the skills and pleasures of kayaking, suitable for all paddling abilities. Just down the road is the Ailean Chraggan Hotel and Restaurant another good vantage point for race spectators.
Strathtay. The route now takes the cyclists down the back road that runs from Weem to Strathtay, this road follows the course of the mighty River Tay – the longest river in Scotland. On this route you will past Clunie House Gardens (A Himalayan garden) which is magnificent when the Mecanopsis flower, and well worth a visit. The gardens are in a great location high up above the Glen.
Strathtay back to Pitlochry. The cyclists then pass through Strathtay, which has a village store and onto Pitnacree before joining the A827 to Logierait. The whole of this route is relatively flat before the cyclists reach ‘the sting in the tail’ the last section of the Etape Caledonia route that takes the cyclists up a steep climb from Logierait along the side of Strath Tummel to Pitlochry. On the way they will pass Easter Dunfallandy B&B, Milton of Fonab Caravan Park and Bells Blair Atholl distillery to the finish in Atholl Road, Pitlochry’s main street. Here the cyclists will have some one to remove their transponder from their front axle before receiving their Etape Competition medal.
Where to see the cyclists on the big day, an indication of timings can be obtained by looking at the Etape Caledonia road closure sheet. Also know when your cyclist is starting. If their start time is towards the end of the start groups, they are more likely to appear on the route towards the end of the road closure times. Good luck and have fun to all those taking part!