Stunning route revealed for UK's newest coast to coast cycle challenge

Excitement building among south of Scotland tourism businesses as stunning route revealed for UK's newest coast to coast cycle challenge

Experienced cyclists in search of an exhilarating new challenge are in for a real treat when the UK’s newest coast to coast cycle route is officially launched later this year in the South of Scotland, Home of the Bike.

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) and fellow project partners behind the eagerly anticipated Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast – one of the longest coast to coast routes in the UK – unveiled details of the route itself, from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth on Scotland’s southeast coast, with tourism businesses along the route busy making preparations to welcome new visitors to the region.

The Kirkpatrick C2C route

Named after Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the 19th century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede, the Kirkpatrick C2C will take riders on an unforgettable journey through breath-taking landscapes with dramatic coastlines and beaches, rolling hills, shimmering lochs, historic tweed mills, Victorian stone viaducts and romantic ruined abbeys all peppering the route, culminating in the picturesque harbour at Eyemouth.

Comprehensive information about and including itineraries, route maps, key landmarks and places to stay, eat, drink and visit along the Kirkpatrick C2C route will be published on a dedicated page on the Scotland Starts Here website.

VisitScotland and Sustrans will also feature the full Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route, itineraries and daytrips on the Sustrans interactive cycling routes map that can be easily accessed here.

The Kirkpatrick C2C is designed to inspire experienced riders in search of a new challenge and encourages them to tackle either the 8-Day Explorer approach or the 4-day Challenger approach.

The Explorer approach

The Explorer approach takes cyclists across the country in eight stages, with daily cycling distances varying from 21 miles (Newcastleton to Hawick) to 51 miles (Dumfries to Newcastleton).

The Explorer route

  • Stranraer – Newton Stewart – 39 miles
  • Newton Stewart – Kirkcudbright – 35 miles
  • Kirkcudbright – Dumfries – 28 miles
  • Dumfries – Newcastleton – 51 miles
  • Newcastleton – Hawick – 21 miles
  • Hawick – Melrose – 25 miles
  • Melrose – Coldstream – 28 miles
  • Coldstream – Eyemouth – 23 miles

The Challenger approach

Meanwhile, the Challenger version can be done over four days, starting with a 74-mile stretch from Stranraer to the charming artists’ town of Kirkcudbright and finishing with a 59-mile ride from Selkirk to Eyemouth.

Challenger route

  • Stranraer – Kirkcudbright – 74 miles
  • Kirkcudbright – Langholm – 69 miles
  • Langholm – Selkirk – 48 miles
  • Selkirk – Eyemouth – 59 miles

The official GPX map also features a number of route spurs which riders can follow to explore even more of the South of Scotland, including starting the journey from the small coastal town of Portpatrick, stopping in Galashiels to visit the Great Tapestry of Scotland and taking in the attractive Berwickshire town of Duns.

The Kirkpatrick C2C is expected to prove a huge draw for the South of Scotland when formally launched in early summer – initial  projections suggest the new route could attract up to 175,000 new visitors to the region, with a direct spend of £13.7M per year.

Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said:

“The Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route is a fantastic opportunity for our region to maximise our growing reputation as the home of cycling.

“As we move closer to its launch, the excitement is certainly building as businesses and communities along the route recognise what economic, social and environmental benefits the new route will provide.

“The South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy, launched last year, has an overall aim to make our region the leading cycling destination in Scotland - the Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route will play a major role in reaching this target.”

David Hope-Jones OBE, SSDA Chief Executive, said:

“In a terrific year for cycling in the South of Scotland, Home of the Bike - excitement is really building now right along the route of the Kirkpatrick C2C, one of the longest and most exciting on-road routes in the UK.

"Whether it’s dramatic coastlines and beaches, the creative communities of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright, the romantic ruined abbeys of the towns Melrose and Kelso, Hawick’s historic mills or Eyemouth’s harbour town with its fascinating history of smuggling and skulduggery, this route has an endless wealth of things to discover and enjoy, as well as excellent places to stay, eat and drink.

“We are working closely with businesses right along the route to help them harness the benefits of cycle tourism, which is growing all the time and set to be a major part of Scotland’s visitor economy.

"We’re currently hosting a series of dedicated webinars on cycle tourism for SSDA members and non-members alike to help everyone get geared up for exciting times ahead.”

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director, said: 

“The Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast cycle route, is a fantastic addition to the region’s already strong cycling offer. 

“The opening of this route comes at an exciting time for cycling in Scotland as we count down to hosting the biggest cycling event in the world, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, including events in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. 

“We would encourage tourism businesses in the South of Scotland to make the most of this unique opportunity. There has never been a better time to experience cycling in Scotland.

"With new cycling initiatives and experiences being created right across the country, such as the Kirkpatrick C2C, promoting cycling and helping businesses cater for this growing market will benefit communities right across the region and beyond.”

Romano Petrucci, Chairman of the Stranraer Development Trust, said:

"We are delighted and excited to have been chosen as the starting point for the KC2C experience.

"Our hope is that visitors and cyclists alike will take time to explore our hidden gem here in the south-west corner of Scotland, and we are very confident they will love what they see and look to return again and again."

Barbara Elborn of Newcastleton Community Trust and Newcastleton Bunkhouse said: 

“Our community was made for this - Newcastleton has everything a saddle-weary rider needs for the perfect stop-off or overnight stay, from secure bike storage and charger facilities to cooking and laundry facilities. 

"There is a feast of fabulous local eateries along the route through the village and handily the community bunkhouse is also only a hop, skip and a jump from them too!  It’s going to be a game-changer for us having this new route right on our doorstep.”