A new 800-mile mainly off-road cycle route between England and the north coast of Scotland has been launched. 

The Great North Trail links the Peak District to Scotland’s most northerly mainland points for the first time.

About 98% of the route is on existing off-road cycle routes, forest roads and low traffic minor roads.

The trail’s path through Scotland takes in picturesque areas such as the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.

Cycling UK said it had developed the route, which only traverses about 16 miles of busier roads, in response to demand from cyclists for greater access to the countryside on routes largely away from traffic.

Duncan Dollimore, the organisation’s head of campaigns, said: “We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails. 

“For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented. 

“And yet we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside as off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution.” 

Cycling UK said it had been helped in creating part of the trail north of the border by the Obscura Mondo Cycle Club, a group of volunteers who have mapped out a 368-mile off-road route between Glasgow and the lighthouse at Cape Wrath in the far north west of Scotland.

In England, the new trail takes in many popular spots including the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Kielder Forest,

Mountain biking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk

©TrailScotland - 2019

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