You might’ve heard of the UNESCO Trail hosted on VisitScotland’s site, but this year, VisitScotland have decided to reimagine the trail through the eyes of AI. AI imagery has taken the world by storm in recent years, but its popularity has increased extensively with platforms such as TikTok creating a text-to-image AI-generated filter.
VisitScotland challenged this AI technology to see what it thought each of Scotland's 13 UNESCO designations looked like. Believe it or not, the AI generated the images by learning the specific aesthetics of each location by analysing over a thousand curated images, and then combining them to create new depictions in line with the real-life photos it had been exposed to!
Whilst lots of the UNESCO trail is easily accessible for cyclists, we wanted to share our top bicycle-friendly designations to inspire your trip this year. There are a range of distances and gradients to navigate here.
Also, with these rides, put Strava to the back of your mind. If you’re too busy focusing on clocking up those miles, you’ll surely miss out. The Scottish scenery is nothing short of stunning!
Scotland’s beautiful capital is home to some of the most breathtaking cycling routes in the country. One unmissable trip is the route from Edinburgh to Pennicuick; this 38-mile return journey winds through low traffic marked paths and will guide you through serene rivers, historical railway architecture and lush county side views.
This passage will lead you to Rosslyn Chapel, just 7 miles south of Edinburgh and famous for its feature in the best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code. This picturesque location offers a historically immersive experience like no other.
The AI-generated imagery depicts the diverse landscapes of Edinburgh, and it is this variety of paths, trails and hidden treasures that makes Edinburgh so unique.
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire
A hub of untouched coastline and woodland, this Biosphere offers endless opportunities for natural discovery. The AI-generated imagery above shows the vast range of wildlife and nature that resides in this stunning area.
This site offers a perfect location for you to hop off the saddle and venture into Galloway Forest Park, renowned for its gold-standard dark skies. We suggest visiting after hours to find yourself underneath luminous stars and breathtaking constellations.
Next, why not follow the cycle route to the majestic Drumlanrig Castle and take a guided tour? Located in the 120,000-acre Queensberry Estate, this 17th Century Castle encompasses all that is grand and luxurious.
This site has a variety of cycling routes designed to suit everyone from beginners to experts.
North West Highlands
This Geopark stretches over 2,000 square kilometres and is a location defined, but it’s expansive sandy white beaches, atmospheric rock caves and rich biodiversity.
The AI image captures these features via its rocky coastlines that contrast with its soaring mountains.
Why not embark on your own adventure, by exploring one of the six Pebble Routes that the Highlands offer?
By exploring these routes by bike, you are offered the unique opportunity to observe lesser known paths, and can truly embrace nature at a slow and steady pace (the best way to do it).
So, what are you waiting for? Get planning your next cycling adventure today, and discover Scotland’s most hidden locations and natural wonders! Our challenge to you is to compare VS’s AI-generated imagery with your own perceptions of these locations? How do they compare? There’s only one way to find out!