Last month, we told you all about the Marie Curie Etape Caledonia, the epic closed road cycling event which starts and ends close to our hotel in Pitlochry, before taking riders on an 81 mile journey through some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery.
Since then, we’ve spoken to scores of you about this year’s event, sharing in your excitement about what is widely regarded as one of the most challenging and exhilarating events of its type anywhere in the United Kingdom.
For some of you, this year’s event is a chance to better your efforts from last year, to record a new personal best, or simply to get back in the game following several years away. For the rest of you however, 2017’s Etape Caledonia will be your first. For you, your excitement about the biggest sporting event to hit Highland Perthshire this summer is matched only by your curiosity.
What exactly is it like to stay in a Pitlochry hotel for the Etape Caledonia? How can you be sure that you’re really making the most of what is set to be a truly unique weekend? And where can you celebrate finally conquering those gruelling 81 miles?
To answer all of those questions, and more, the Dunalastair Hotel Suites have put together this complete guide to the 2017 Etape Caledonia, detailing everything you could possibly need to know about the UK’s most scenic cycling event.
When to Arrive:
Each and every year, record crowds descend on Pitlochry to take on the majestic munroes and magnificent, forest-lined roads of Highland Perthshire, making this our busiest time of the year.
As such, we highly recommend arriving at least a day or two in advance to beat the biggest of the crowds, not to mention the long traffic queues you may face on the way into Perthshire.
That being said, arriving even earlier where possible will present you with the best opportunity to really get yourself settled into your Perthshire accommodation, explore the local area, and prepare for the ride of your life.
What Riders Need to Know Before the Race Starts:
For those of you taking part in the event itself, arriving in Pitlochry at least the day before is essential, as you will need to register your attendance and collect your race pack from the Event Village in Pitlochry. This can be done on either the Friday or Saturday before Sunday’s race.
Where to Park:
Car parking will be severely limited on Etape Caledonia day, as the roads and usual parking spaces are made unavailable to accommodate the route.
Limited parking spaces will be available in the town itself. These are available on a first-come-first-served basis, so organisers are advising that you book parking well in advance.
This can be done online at http://etapecaledonia.co.uk/competitor-zone/on-the-day/
Alternatively, guests staying at the Dunalastair Hotel Suites near Pitlochry town centre will have access to free parking on the hotel grounds.
How to Get the Best View of the Action:
Planning to cheer on your loved ones as they set off to tackle the gruelling 81 mile course? Want to be there as they make their triumphant return at the end? Pitlochry town centre is the place to be. The route starts and ends here, so you’ll have the best view of the start and finish of the race.
Be warned though, the town centre is going to be incredibly busy on race day, so it pays to arrive as early as possible to secure a good spot.
For a vantage point that is a little less crowded, Aberfeldy offers plenty of viewing areas. A little closer to our hotel, Loch Rannoch itself also forms part of the course, and you’ll be able to get a great view from there, too.
Where to Meet Up With Family and Friends After Finishing the Etape Caledonia:
Whilst there is no official meeting point for post-Etape reunions, Event Village in the centre of Pitlochry is a highly visible, easily accessible area which should serve as an ideal rendezvous point.
To keep yourself and your loved ones safe throughout the event, we recommend agreeing on a meeting point before you set off.
Pre and Post Event Activities:
As the biggest event to hit the town all year, the Etape Caledonia brings a vibrant, festival-like atmosphere to Pitlochry each and every year.
At time of writing, details of this year’s festivities hadn’t yet been announced, but you should expect to find a wealth of lively entertainment and family-friendly activities taking place throughout the weekend.
When to Book Your Pitlochry Hotel for the 2017 Etape Caledonia:
Pitlochry hotel accommodation is always sat a premium at Caledonia time, so it pays to book yours as early as you possibly can, preferably at the same time as you book your space for the event itself.
If you haven’t yet secured your hotel suite, don’t worry. Here at the Dunalastair Hotel Suites, we still have limited space available for the Etape Caledonia between Thursday, May 18th to Monday, May 22nd.
To avoid disappointment, book your stay online today, or call our reservations team now on +44 (0)1882 580444.