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Climb every mountain; Saddle up and set off on a thrilling uphill adventure to tackle some of the best bike routes in new book Cycling Climbs of Scotland. Here, author Simon Warren lists his top five.


Few cyclists like riding uphill - but many enjoy ticking off a list of challenges, as well as the thrilling descent afterwards.

This is how various climbs in the UK have become must-dos for riders. But where are the best cycling hills in Scotland and how many have you done? Keen cyclist and author Simon Warren has compiled a list of top hills in the new book, Cycling Climbs of Scotland.

Warren is also the name behind the best-selling 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs.

Of Cycling Climbs of Scotland, he writes: "Wild, remote, windswept and downright epic, the climbs of Scotland are not for the faint of heart.

"Crossing weather-beaten islands and often snow-covered mountains, the great roads demand respect and are often set in scenes of indescribable beauty.

"The famous glens and lochs that draw visitors from around the globe are the backdrop to legends such as The Lecht, The Talla Wall and the one and only Bealach na Ba.

"So if you like your cycling rough and rugged and if you crave fresh air and pristine wilderness, then head north to tackle the Cycling Climbs of Scotland."

Simon lists five of his favourite bike climbs, of the 60 listed in the book published by Frances Lincoln this month priced PS8.99.

1. THE WALL OF TALLA Where: Tweedsmuir, Borders Length: 1725m Height gain: 149m Following the edge of the Talla Reservoir, I spied what looked like a road cutting up the hillside ahead.

I thought, 'No, it can't be, it's way too steep'.

But then as I drew closer, it dawned on me - this was indeed the road - and what a climb. Right from its bottom corner, the narrow sliver of tarmac rockets skyward, hitting 20 per cent almost right away. It continues in this vein up to the small bridge crossing the reservoir then thankfully eases to the eventual summit.

2. LOWTHER HILL Where: Wanlockhead, Dumfries & Galloway Length: 3850m Height gain: 273m When ridden following the ascent of the Mennock Pass from base to summit, you get close to 14 kilometres of constant climbing before you reach the top.

The higher reaches that are the best, after leaving the B797 just outside Wanlockhead. Winding through the hillside in search of the giant radar at the top, the closer you get, the tougher the climb becomes. It has countless bends and stunning views in all directions.

3. THE SERPENTINE Where: Rothesay, Isle of Bute Length: 775m Height gain: 74m When I first saw this climb with its amazing bends, I was stunned. On the approach up Castle Road in Rothesay, you see the spectacular concertina of hairpins above and feel a surge of adrenaline.

First you twist left, then right, before you negotiate Mount Pleasant Road to tackle The Serpentine itself. And with 14 tight corners from base to summit, it's enough to send you dizzy.

4. THE LECHT Where: Cock Bridge, Aberdeenshire Length: 3010m Height gain: 245m A true monster of a climb through the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, the road up to the Lecht Ski Centre is also a stunning ride.

The ascent starts from the beautiful Corgarff Castle and straight away you hit 20 per cent slopes. It is rough, relentlessly steep and a little twisting. After a short breather during a slight downhill midway, there, in front of you, painted on to the side of the mountain and resembling a giant flight of stairs, lies the rest of the climb. It's an awesome sight.

5. BEALACH Na BA Where: Applecross, Ross & Cromarty Length: 8980m Height gain: 623m This is it: the Holy Grail. The toughest and wildest climb in Britain. Believe the hype. Anything you have heard about this amazing road is true. The nine kilometres of rough road clings precariously to the mountainside as it delivers you into true wilderness. As the final bends come into view, you must first tackle an endless, soul destroying 20 per cent slope before you reach the four majestic hairpins that deliver you to the summit of this infamous tangle of tarmac.

Join me on my adventures in Scotland's great outdoors by checking out my award- winning website at You'll find lots of great information about walking, cycling, running and other outdoor activities, as well as kit reviews.

Advice and ideas


MMIT SPECIAL . Bealach na Ba in Applecross features in Simon's book

WHAT GOES UP Challenging ascents are followed by thrilling descents
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 21, 2017
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