Fort William & Lochaber
The mountains of Glencoe and Fort William have a long heritage of outdoor pursuits - that is why it's known as the 'Outdoor Capital of the UK'.
Mountain biking is a big part of this history. Read on to find out more, and to identify ways your business could cater to the expanding mountain bike tourism market.
Mountain Biking in Fort William & Lochaber
Popular with adventure tourists and families alike, outdoor pursuits are plentiful in and around this western Scottish highland town. With Ben Nevis and Glencoe close by, a trip to Lochaber can include adventurous tours across remote landscapes or smaller adventures for a more relaxed but still active day out.
The centre point of the action, Fort William, is one of the most iconic race venues in the world, having hosted the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup for almost two decades.
Nevis Range located on Aonach Mor has the only mountain gondola in the UK - ideal for taking mountain bikers to the top of some fast and rocky downhill tracks.
It also caters well to beginner and intermediate riders, with many blue grade trails, including the new 'Blue doon', a 9km long gondola accessed family-friendly trail down Aonoch Mor.
Glencoe is home to stunning natural scenery and Scotland’s first ski lift, built in 1956. The steep and rugged trails make it the perfect spot for downhill racing, but the flatter mid-mountain areas give less experienced riders an alternative route down.
And for those who want to explore beyond the iconic mountain ranges, hopping onto the Caledonian Way provides a classic ride along Loch Linnhe and the Caledonian Canal. Or tourists can jump on a ferry to the nearby small isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck or Canna.
Lochaber's Mountain Biking Community
Many accommodation types are on offer for mountain bike tourists visiting Lochaber. For those who want all the comforts of home, plenty of bike-friendly hotels, guest houses, and bed & breakfasts stretch along the A82.
Camping and self-catering accommodations can be found nearer Ben Nevis, and the area around Glencoe boasts an array of lodges, hotels and hostels for every budget.
With lots of independent bike shops to choose from, tourists won’t be stuck for bike hire or picking up some maintenance essentials. Bike-friendly cafés and restaurants are also dotted all around the area, ready to welcome mountain bikers with tasty meals and treats.
The Future of MTB in Fort William & Lochaber
As a world-class racing venue, Fort William will continue its legacy of hosting international mountain biking events. But that’s not all that’s in store.
UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup
Attracting tens of thousands of spectators to the area each May, the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup will see 250 of the world’s top riders battling it out down a 2.8km downhill race on the Nevis Range track.
Launched in late 2021, Blue Doon is the longest MTB trail in the UK that is accessed by gondola. Ben Nevis’ mountain gondola - the only one of its kind in the UK - is already a draw for outdoor enthusiasts, and the opening of this new trail is set to attract even more attention.
Fort William Bike Park
Spearheaded by a local community group, the Fort William Bike Park is set to offer the area a multi-discipline facility next to Lochaber High School. Working in partnership with local organisations and businesses, the park will be able to supply bikes and training and plans to feature a pump track, skate park, BMX park, and trial areas.
Fort William & Lochaber Media Files
We have lots of information about mountain biking in Scotland, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look through our library of stunning imagery and action-packed videos to see what Scottish MTB is all about.
Self Assessment Tool
Our handy questionnaire allows you to quickly evaluate how you currently cater to MTB tourists, while identifying any gaps and the opportunities that may help enhance your offering.