Lonely Planet travel guides have named Scotland as number three in the top ten countries to visit in 2014. They say that the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Year of Homecoming and numerous festivals are the main reasons to visit.
I would like to add another reason- cycling. Take a look at this road in the far north-west of the country. This is typical of the roads and scenery that await you if you choose to come to Scotland for a cycling trip.
You will find that many roads have little traffic, like this one on the Island of Jura:
You may have to negotiate your way through the local wildlife, like these Highland Cattle in Glen Lonan, near Oban:
Head to one of Scotland's islands where you will find some of the best bicycling roads in the country. This is the ferry that travels to the Island of Lismore:
Your bicycle will take you to some of Scotland's most famous places, like the Callanish Standing Stones:
You can even cycle up the driveway of a castle, such as Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire:
Or Cragievar Castle, also in Aberdeenshire:
You can take your bike on the train and get off at one of many remote railway stations where you will have the place to yourself. How about Kildonan Station in Sutherland?
Sometimes the weather will be terrible, but it makes the scenery even more dramatic. Be brave and cycle on! This photo was taken near Loch Ossian where a storm was brewing:
When the weather is good make the most of it. Glen Esk in Angus:
Find a road with trees on both sides. Scotland has many. This one is near Insch:
Take a bike ride as the sun sets, preferably near the sea with islands nearby. This is the view from Morar:
Yes, Scotland deserves to be in that top ten of countries to visit in 2014. If you are planning to come then please put aside some time to do a bit of exploring on a bicycle.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.