Kirkpatrick C2C: South Scotland's Premier Cycling Route

Written by Chris Thornton | 11th of May 2023
Kirkpatrick C2C South of Scotland's Coast to Coast

Spanning from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth on Scotland's southeast coast, the Kirkpatrick C2C is poised to become one of the UK's longest and most thrilling coast-to-coast cycling routes. Designed as a challenge for seasoned cyclists, this new route pays homage to Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the 19th-century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede (an early form of bicycle).

East Coast to West Coast cycle route

Ambitious riders are encouraged to tackle the Kirkpatrick C2C in either four or eight days, journeying through stunning coastal landscapes, picturesque rolling hills, tranquil lochs, and historic tweed mills along the way.

Initial estimates indicate that the new route could draw up to 175,000 additional visitors to the region, generating a direct annual spend of £13.7 million.

David Hope-Jones, Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), which played a pivotal role in establishing the route, expressed excitement about the upcoming cycling season in the south of Scotland. He said,

"As the home of the bike, anticipation is mounting for the Kirkpatrick C2C, one of the UK's longest and most exhilarating on-road routes."

The SSDA is working closely with businesses along the route to help capitalize on the burgeoning cycle tourism market, which is predicted to be a significant driver of Scotland's visitor economy.

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director, lauded the Kirkpatrick C2C as a valuable addition to the region's already robust cycling offerings. He said,

"The launch of this route coincides with an exciting time for cycling in Scotland as we prepare to host the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, with events taking place in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway."

Smith urged tourism businesses in the south of Scotland to seize this unique opportunity, noting that there has never been a better time to experience cycling in the country. He added,

"With new cycling initiatives like the Kirkpatrick C2C and a focus on supporting businesses catering to this growing market, communities throughout the region and beyond will reap the benefits."

As the Kirkpatrick C2C route prepares to welcome an influx of visitors in the coming months, businesses along the route are gearing up to accommodate the needs of cycling enthusiasts.

Cycling in the South of Scotland

South Scotland boasts an array of long-distance cycling routes and walking trails, but the Kirkpatrick C2C stands as the region's most prized cycling gem. Spanning 250 miles, this unparalleled adventure allows enthusiasts to traverse stunning landscapes featuring awe-inspiring coastlines, pristine beaches, undulating hills, tranquil lochs, and historic tweed mills.

Additionally, the route is adorned with magnificent Victorian stone viaducts and enchanting ruined abbeys, all leading to the charming harbour at Eyemouth—creating a truly unforgettable cycling experience.

New exciting tourism offering
Go at your own pace and take in all the sights.

Available routes

Primarily following National Cycle Routes 1, 7, and 73, the Kirkpatrick C2C is ideally suited for skilled cyclists due to the nature of the terrain. Thrill-seekers can opt for the Challenge Route, completing the journey in as few as four days. However, consider the Explorer Route for a more leisurely experience, which spans eight days and allows ample time to explore the surrounding attractions.

The choice of starting point—east or west—is entirely yours. Though we won't divulge any insider secrets, beginning your journey in Stranraer may grant you the advantage of a tailwind. If the allure of South Scotland proves irresistible, consider tackling the route in segments over an extended period or take advantage of local loops to further immerse yourself in the region's charm.

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

Challenge Route

  • Stranraer – Kirkcudbright – 74 miles

  • Kirkcudbright – Langholm – 69 miles

  • Langholm – Selkirk – 48 miles

  • Selkirk – Eyemouth – 59 miles

FAQs on Kirkpatrick C2C

Here are a few frequently asked questions on the Kirkpatrick C2C cycle route.

What is the Kirkpatrick C2C cycling route?

The Kirkpatrick C2C is a 250-mile long coast-to-coast cycling route in South Scotland, connecting Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth on the southeast coast. This challenging and picturesque route offers a remarkable cycling experience for enthusiasts, showcasing the region's diverse landscapes and historic sites.

Who is the route named after?

The route is named in honour of Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a 19th-century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede.

Is the Kirkpatrick C2C suitable for all skill levels?

Due to its terrain and distance, the Kirkpatrick C2C is most suitable for experienced cyclists comfortable with long-distance riding.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan is an iconic cycling figure which we in the South are immensely proud of, and it is fitting that his achievements are being acknowledged and our heritage celebrated with this new exciting tourism offering. 

Paula Ward - Delivery Manager for the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy and UCI Optimisation Plan

What are the two route options for the Kirkpatrick C2C?

There are two main options for cyclists: the Challenge Route, which covers the entire distance in as few as four days, and the Explorer Route, which takes a more leisurely pace over eight days, allowing riders ample time to enjoy the various attractions along the way.

Can I start the route from either the east or west coast?

Yes, the starting point for the Kirkpatrick C2C is flexible, and cyclists can choose to begin their journey from either Stranraer in the west or Eyemouth on the southeast coast.

What are some of the key attractions along the Kirkpatrick C2C route?

The route features breathtaking landscapes, dramatic coastlines, serene beaches, rolling hills, shimmering lochs, historic tweed mills, Victorian stone viaducts, and romantic ruined abbeys, culminating in the picturesque harbour at Eyemouth.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Roxburgh Castle.

  • Coulters Candy statue in Galashiels.

  • The Borders Distillery.

  • Lochmaben Castle

  • The Robert Burns Statue.

  • Kirkcudbright Bridge.

  • Dalavan Bay Beach.

  • Cairn Holy Chambered Cairn.

Scotland's leading cycling destination
Cycle through some of the finest landscapes in the UK.

What is the potential economic impact of the Kirkpatrick C2C route on the region?

The route is expected to attract up to 175,000 new visitors annually, with an estimated direct spend of £13.7 million annually, benefiting local businesses and communities.

Are there any additional cycling opportunities in South Scotland?

South Scotland offers a variety of long-distance cycling routes and walking paths, as well as local loops that riders can explore to further immerse themselves in the region's charm. Here are the top 5 cycling routes in the south of Scotland.

  1. Peebles to Innerleithen loop (15.4 miles)

  2. Ayr to GRO Coffee via Troon Promenade (26.5 miles)

  3. St Mary's Loch & Megget Water loop from Peebles (49.1 miles)

  4. Dumfries to Caerlaverock Castle loop via NCN 7 cycle route (19.6 miles)

  5. Selkirk to Innerleithen – Brown Knowe gravel loop (30.8 miles)

Key information

  • Route name: Kirkpatrick C2C (Coast to coast)

  • Launching July 2023

  • Span: Stranraer (west) to Eyemouth (southeast coast)

  • Primarily follows National Cycle Routes 1, 7, and 73

  • Suitable for experienced cyclists

  • Two route options: Challenge Route (4 days) and Explorer Route (8 days)

  • Flexible starting point: east or west

  • Attractions: scenic coastlines, rolling hills, serene lochs, and historic tweed mills

  • Potential economic impact: £13.7 million direct annual spend

  • Estimated new visitors: up to 175,000 annually

  • Supported by South of Scotland Destination Alliance and VisitScotland

  • Encourages local businesses to cater to the growing cycling tourism market

  • The south of Scotland's coast-to-coast cycle route

A 250-mile coast to coast cycle route set to launch in the South of Scotland
Stunning scenery along the Kirkpatrick C2C route.


The Kirkpatrick C2C cycling route offers an unparalleled opportunity for experienced cyclists to explore the breathtaking landscapes and rich heritage of South Scotland. Whether you choose the adrenaline-fueled Challenge Route or the more relaxed Explorer Route, this unforgettable journey will provide lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the region's beauty.

By embracing this new cycling adventure, riders will not only boost the local economy but also contribute to the continued growth and recognition of South Scotland as a premier destination for cycling enthusiasts worldwide.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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