Wild About Bikepacking: A 496km Route connecting the Argyll Island of Mull, Jura, Islay & Bute

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Kilnaughton Bay – Islay

Wild About Bikepacking – A new film from Bikepacking Scotland launches a 496-km bikepacking route connecting the Argyll islands of Mull, Jura, Islay and Bute 

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Woodland near Kames, Argyll’s Secret Coast

“Argyll’s islands, the Inner Hebrides and Bute, offer fantastic bikepacking filled with beautiful beaches, some of the world’s best distilleries, great gravel tracks and local food experiences.”

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Canada Hill Serpentines, Rothesay, Bute

“The new Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands route, created by Bikepacking Scotland and commissioned by CalMac Ferries and Wild About Argyll, maps a 496km-journey (308 miles) connecting the Isles of Mull, Jura, Islay and Bute on a mixture of gravel tracks, singletrail, cycle paths and roads. The route also makes great use of ScotRail’s Highland Explorer, which provides space for up to 20 bikes, including tandems. The newly introduced train carriage offers a bike-friendly train connection between Glasgow, host city of the UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023, and Oban, where the new route begins. Bikes travel free on trains and all ferries along the route.”

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Scallastle Bay, Mull

“For new bikepackers and gravel cyclists Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands offers a wide range of accommodation and incentives to stop. Experienced cyclists will find plenty of opportunities to extend the route or combine it with other established trails.”

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Mountains on Mull

‘Wild About Bikepacking’ is the third short film from Markus Stitz that is set in Argyll, self-filmed in October 2021 when he travelled on a Twmpa Cycles GR 1.0, a bike built around a unique wooden frame. The route Markus cycled also includes part of his journey around the world on a singlespeed bike in 2015/2016.

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Gravel track on the west coast of Jura with the Paps of Jura

Markus comments: ‘When I arrived from my 34,000km-trip around the world with a small boat in Port Ellen, I instantly fell in love with Islay. I returned a few times since, and was delighted when I had the opportunity to work with Wild About Argyll and CalMac Ferries to map a new bikepacking route across the lesser frequented islands in Argyll. It complements the existing Wild About Argyll Trail, which has been enjoyed by many cyclists since its launch in January 2018.’

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Ferry from Oban to Craignure, Mull

Stitz continues: ‘For me, boarding a ferry to an island is the perfect start to a bikepacking adventure, and this route includes some of the most scenic ferry journeys in Scotland. Different from other routes I mapped, this one features quite a few road sections. Most of them are really quiet and enjoyable, like the Long Road on Jura. A gravel bike is the perfect bike to cycle the Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands route. What I really like about it is the combination of great cycling, culinary offers and accommodation. And there are plenty of opportunities to unearth Scotland’s history in places like Kilmartin Glen, which has the most important concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in mainland Scotland.’

wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Twmpa Gravel Bike

The route adds to Wild About Argyll’s ‘Pedaddling’ offer. The region, dubbed as Scotland’s Adventure Coast, offers multiple opportunities for watersports with 3750km (2330 miles) of coastline, 23 inhabited islands and 40 lochs, which are complemented by long distance cycling routes like the Wild About Argyll Trail and Caledonia Way and a network of shorter Rail & Trail routes.

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Gravel trail near Leiter, Fishnish Bay, Mull

‘Wild About Bikepacking’ is available to watch for free on YouTube. The Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands route, divided into eight day itineraries, can be navigated by downloading the GPX-files for free on the Bikepacking Scotland website at www.bikepackingscotland.com/argyllislands. More information about Wild About Argyll can be found at www.wildaboutargyll.co.uk.

Additional Photos

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View from Old Salen Pier, Mull
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On the coastal road along Loch na Keal, Mull
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Trees on the coastal road along Loch na Keal, Mull
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On the coastal road along Loch na Keal, Mull
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Camping at Burg, Mull
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Gravel track near Sior Loch, Lorne
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Tall trees trail at Loch Awe
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A sign for the Caledonia Way, Sustrans Route 78, near Carnasserie Castle
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The rocky east coast of Jura, seen from the Jura Passenger Ferry
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View from the Long Road on Jura near Tarbert
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Deer on the Isle of Jura, called the Deer Island
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Isle of Jura Distillery, Craighouse
wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Deer on the Isle of Jura, called the Deer Island
wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Road from Port Ellen to Bowmore, Islay
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Machir Bay, Islay
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Mount Stuart, Bute

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wild about bikepacking markus stitz
Stravanan Bay, Islay