A short film highlights a new, 331-kilometre gravel bikepacking route through the heart of Scotland that follow the country’s ancient drovers’ trails, once used by farmers to take their livestock to market, a journey that a couple of hundred years ago could have taken several weeks.
The release of the video from Bikepacking Scotland accompanies the launch of a new website, Perthshire Gravel, that looks at the history of the trails and also provides a guide to off-road riding in the area.
The man behind them is single-speed round-the-world cyclist and film-maker Markus Stitz, who comes from Germany but has made his home in Scotland, and besides telling the story of the ancient drove roads, they also highlight the region’s history.
Commissioned by Highland Perthshire Cycling, the film was funded by Rural Perth & Kinross Leader Programme 2014-2020, SSE Griffin and Calliachar Community Fund.
The new gravel bikepacking route one of 11 different itineraries – many starting and finishing in locations accessible by train, making them suitable for day trips – that can now be downloaded from the Perthshire Gravel website, with individual routes ranging from 12 km to 120 km.
Stitz said: “Designing the various routes made me aware of not only the rich history of Highland Perthshire and the Tay Valley, but also of the huge variety of landscapes that can be found across the area.
“I sought to use the story of the cattle drovers to draw parallels with the adventurous spirit of bikepacking nowadays, while showcasing the immense beauty of the area, not just for cyclists.
“I hope the new film and the route network will encourage more people to explore the area and will also give locals new ideas to experience their immediate surroundings,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.