Today Zwift released details of their new Scotland map, a purpose-built world that Zwift calls “your racing playground”. Designed for training and racing, the map is inspired by the city of Glasgow and the striking Scottish countryside riders will race in the 2023 UCI Worlds in August.
But this isn’t a GPS-accurate replica of a UCI Worlds course like Zwift’s Richmond, Innsbruck, and Yorkshire. Instead, Zwift’s teams collaborated to create scenery inspired by Scotland, with roads that make Zwift racing fun. It’s a marked shift in approach for Zwift, and it makes sense. Why try to replicate what’s outdoors, when we have full control over the virtual world? In Scotland we see Zwift carrying some of what’s good IRL into the game, then working to improve on the rest, with the goal of creating a next-level e-racing experience for riders and spectators.
We’ll know soon if it’s a success as many thousands of riders and runners will take to Scotland’s roads in the coming days, culminating with the 2023 UCI Esports World Championships on February 18.
When Can We Ride/Run Scotland?
Scotland is not free-ridable at this time, but will open up in early March. For now, it’s only accessible by joining events held on its routes.
The first events in Scotland will be Thursday’s Tour de Zwift, Stage 8, where runners and riders will be on the Rolling Highlands route.
See a full list of upcoming events in Scotland >
Scotland is launching with 5 routes totaling 58.8 kilometers of riding. Here’s the list, along with a description of each route supplied by Zwift. Click “More Route Details” to be taken to the Zwift Insider detail page (we’ll add more content to these pages later today, but the basics are already in place).
14.1 kilometers with 105 meters of climbing. This rollercoaster ride around the loch will have Zwifters constantly going up or downhill. In races, the punchy course provides lots of places to attack. In riding and training, the rolling hills are the perfect place to train quick bursts of power as you push yourself up the repeated short climbs. More Route Details >
City and the Sgurr
8.6 kilometers with 161 meters of climbing. Sgurr means “rocky peak” in Scottish Gaelic, and this route tackles Zwift’s newest hill from two directions. Roundabouts at the bottom of both sides of the climb mean that Zwifters can easily lap the climb, making it the perfect place for hill repeats, or very challenging racing! More Route Details >
Glasgow Crit Circuit
3 kilometers with 33 meters of climbing. Zwift’s newest crit course is set in the heart of Glasgow’s city center and shows off the city’s distinctive architecture. The short course has short, punchy climbs, tight, twisty roads, and two arches. The course provides options for any length of race on the easily lapable route that’s sure to produce intense racing. More Route Details >
8 kilometers with 71 meters of climbing. This loop is a time trialists’ paradise – the long, lapable course, is mostly flat and incorporates some of the Rolling Highlands, but skips the bigger climbs, giving Zwifters only a few gentle hills thrown in to break up their effort. The course measures 5 miles, making it the perfect place for 5-, 10-, 15-, or 20-mile time trials or team time trials. Or, keep riding for harder efforts! For traditional racing, exploring, and training, the Loch Loop also offers a flatter alternative to the Rolling Highlands. More Route Details >
The Muckle Yin
25.1 kilometers with 279 meters of climbing. This is the big one – a single route that incorporates almost all of Scotland’s roads in one single loop. The route starts in the heart of Glasgow city center and quickly takes riders out to the sheer cliffs on Scotland’s west coast before rolling along north to the loch, and then to the Sgurr and its dramatic views. This challenging route lets you take in all of Scotland’s most distinctive and engaging features in one ride or race. More Route Details >
Landmarks and Easter Eggs
Zwift’s art team seems to “level up” their game with each new world launch, and Scotland is no exception. The team clearly did their homework, adding many IRL landmarks to the Scotland map. They’ve also carried their Zwift playfulness into this world, adding easter eggs and beautiful art never before seen on Zwift.
Here are a few highlights, in the order you’d reach them if you took the Loch Loop counterclockwise:
- “The Cliffs” is a castle area with the ocean off to the left. A descent in this direction, but an attackable climb going the other way.
- The roundabout on the Glasgow side of the Sgurr looks rather ordinary by day, but wait until the sun goes down!
- A left at that roundabout takes you up the longer, gravel side of the Sgurr climb. Climb it at night and enjoy the Northern Lights. Then check out what happens to the constellations…
- Soon enough the trees close in and you’re surrounded by mist in a more closed-in, mysterious forest section.
- Breakaway Brae is next, an official KOM taking you up to a tower loosely based on McCaig’s Tower. Look left at the Loch and see if you can spot someone familiar!
- Descending from the tower there’s a bit of a corkscrew road through a castle. In the other direction, this sneaky climb may be an excellent place to launch a long race attack!
- Nearing the end of our loop, you’re at what Zwift’s art team calls “The Postcard” – a big swooping vista that is off to your left and behind when traveling in this direction.
- We would be remiss if we didn’t mention some Glasgow landmarks. They include the Clyde Arc, Finnieston Crane, Central Station, and a certain equestrian sculpture which may or may not have a traffic cone on its head…
New Gravel Surface
Zwift rolled out a new surface with the Scotland map: gravel!
As far as we’ve seen, this surface only shows up on the longer Sgurr climb (the one on the Glasgow side). Here’s what it looks like:
If you’re on a gravel bike, this surface rolls faster than the “dirt” surface we’re familiar with in the Mayan Jungle and on various Makuri Islands roads. If you’re on a mountain bike, this new gravel surface is just slightly slower than dirt. And if you’re on a road bike, the surface is faster than dirt, but still much slower than pavement.
The takeaway? Gravel is made for gravel bikes, which means gravel bikes climb the south side of the Sgurr much faster than road or mountain bikes.
See our Crr page for details >
New Zwift Tartan Kit
To celebrate Scotland’s launch, a new Tartan-themed kit has been added to the game. Zwifters can unlock the kit by completing a ZRacing “Race Scotland” event in February (we’ll be posting about this later today), or taking part in any of the “Ride Scotland” events which will be showing up on the calendar soon.
Questions or Comments
Looking forward to the hills!
Yaay! Looking forward to this! 😃
If only it hadn’t been released with a heap of bugs…
dont you mean midges
there is a much nicer scotland kit available! join the zwift riders scotland ride on a sunday morning. you will unlock the zwift scotland night sky kit, which is so much cooler than the one above 😉
Thought you couldn’t get that any more and it was limited to a set number of users? I’ve asked about this before and that’s what I was told.
Weather settings: 99% rain activated
Lol, and the kit should be thermal Long-Johns 😉
“But this isn’t a GPS-accurate replica of a UCI Worlds course like Zwift’s Richmond, Innsbruck, and Yorkshire.”
I’ll admit that’s a disappointment for me. Nice that they have more than one route, but I would’ve liked a “gps-accurate” UCI course along with them.
yes and I wonder if it would be a lot more efficient (faster) to create gps-accurate routes using algorithms. My preference is more new roads over “Zwiftified” fantasy courses, especially if the former can be released faster
I agree – I’d wish they’d use more time on roads and less time on the surroundings…
Also, the fantasy roads tend to be very exaggerated, they’re more like rollercoasters than any real world roads I have ever ridden on. It just doesn’t feel right.
Sounds to me like an excuse for laziness on their end not to even try making it GPS accurate. If just doing whatever for roads, stick with existing maps such as Watopia.
Or maybe, I dunno, “RGT/Wahoo already do the GPS-accurate thing, so we are doing something different”. Wahoo’s magic roads already allow users to add any new route they like and make it GPS-accurate … personally I found riding it as dull as dishwater, so give me the “Zwiftified” roads any day of the week.
there’s a balance point somewhere in between. I’m fine with “Zwiftified” roads if they can pump them out way more than a handful of new miles every year. I haven’t tried RGT since Wahoo bought them, but the two biggest advantages Zwift had over RGT was the number of users (saw maybe 1 or 2 other people in RGT), and the fact that Zwift connects the routes together so you can piece together a bigger ride rather than being a point A to point B and you’re done like RGT. I never used magic roads, but the concept just proves… Read more »
Exactly what I said. The European Championships in Glasgow was amazing. A really tough lumpy crit course. Brilliant racing. The crit course is good but it could have been awesome.
I do wish there was the big climb in the UCI circuit. But it’s always good to add more variety to Zwift.
how much of the total new roads is the nonsense gravel?
Very little. It’s just on the Glasgow side of the Sgurr climb… most of that is gravel. I don’t think there’s gravel anywhere else.
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately another way to look at it if I’m reading the maps correctly is that 2 out of the 5 loops force you to ride on gravel for no reason, and if you want to climb you have to deal with gravel. I would really love to hear from someone at Zwift about why they insist on doing this. Create gravel routes for people who want gravel routes, but don’t throw in gravel sections on other routes because that just makes everyone mad.
It doesn’t make me mad, but I’m an old school MTBer and I don’t always look for the easiest fastest route when riding either virtually or IRL 🙂
Personally, I can’t fathom why people would be upset that their avatar is moving slightly slower for a small section of a route.
The way people moan about slower surfaces and hills I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zwift introduce gondola lifts so people can just sit and watch their avatar roll downhill 😉
This guy gets it.
Would there be double-XP for the gondola ride? The devil is in the details.
So… to confirm, gravel is on the “South” Sgurr Summit climb? I’ve gone 1x with the Tron bike but sad to say i was too busy working the climb to notice the difference between South and North. 🙂 Maybe i can try it again with a gravel ride, just hillclimb repeats as you’ve said. 🙂
Gravel is on the climb labeled “Sgurr Summit North”. Which, confusingly, is the southern climb on the map. It’s the longer, windier one closer to Glasgow.
I just don’t get the sense of gravel. It slows down. In fact the graphics. Period. And to speed up again I shall change the bike?
when to use in usual club-rides or meetups?
Usually Zwift release the course after the Tour finishes.
Who is even asking for gravel? So annoying.
I like mixed surface routes… makes racing more interesting
Now that is the coolest looking jersey I have seen in a LONG TIME
To be fair, in real life the road surfaces are so bad they may as well be gravel.
I really like the outdoor replications though. I ride all the mentioned maps for that very reason. The reason I love riding Alpe and Ventop is because they’re GPS accurate. Zwift already has a nice mix of actual routes versus fantasy; all of Makuri Island is fantasy, same as Watopia. I really don’t want to see them get too far away from GPS accurate courses IMO.
The Alpe in zwift is actually what is known as the “Tourist side” or in irl the backside of the climb. When you climb that course in zwift you are not climbing the course you see in the Tour.
Huh, I didn’t know that. Everything I’m reading indicates it’s the main climb up the Alpe? Either way, it’s a butt-kicker!
You didn’t know that because it is not correct. The Alpe du Zwift is an exact copy of the real climb. The Tour version is a bit longer because, for logistical reasons, they don’t finish in the center of Alpe d’Huez village.
Maybe Speed means the Ventoux climb. In real life you can climb Mont Ventoux from 3 directions. The Zwift versions is a replica of the climb starting in Bédoin; hardly a ‘tourist version’.
Not so. I’ve ridden up the Tour climb of the Alpe IRL, and apart from the last bit at the end the Zwift version is so close I can’t tell the difference. Actually one difference is that it’s slightly more interesting on Zwift than IRL.
A small but really awesome looking map with a little bit of everything. Seems to be constantly undulating like NY. Glasgow Crit looks very interesting & challenging. Can’t wait to ride the map at Friday (TdZ #8).
Can you add this to the routes PDF please? Or is that waiting until public release?
Do any of the new routes roll faster overall with a gravel wheel set though?
There is the train too on a familiar bridge from some famous movies. Just after the stone circle roundabout.
A train driver writes: that would be (inspired by) The Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Why try to replicate what’s outdoors? I take a stab at answering. Let’s say hypothetically you are a climbing enthusiast . Someone who enjoys tackling the iconic climbs the cycling world has to offer, but doesn’t necessarily excel at climbing (finishing in the top 1%). Now let’s pretend you have set a goal of participating in the Mt. Fuji hill climb in 2024. You currently lack the funds to travel to Japan and train on the course as often as you would like. Would it not be advantageous to have a gps accurate course you could train on? This is… Read more »
Subscribe to Rouvy then. All the real life climbs you’d want
Or Wahoo RGT … download a GPX of the climb you want to do and create a magic road version.
I did look at Rouvy, I didn’t Mt. Fuji but you are right, there are a lot of great climbs.
I need to investigate further, it seems you have to pay the subscription a year up front. It is cheaper than zwift
I took the deal for Rouvy on black Friday….£98 for the year (you can cancel anytime). Should this be in a post for Zwift ..lol
IMO Zwift started to lose its way a couple of years ago. As others have noted, there’s no place for gravel or dirt on road bike routes. Those folks deserve routes of their own, but please don’t co-mingle them—it just frustrates everyone. The focus on racing to the exclusion of most everything else, the fetish for “big climbs,” the buggy updates, etc. have all moved me away from the platform after six-plus years of sticking with it. I picked up a Rouvy subscription at a very attractive prices when I started to lose faith in Zwift. I now do probably… Read more »
I find a lot of things to like about these maps. The distances and contours seem to be purpose-built with certain types of rides in mind that should prove popular for events and group rides. The hill repeat option between traffic circles is a nice little add. I hope it will become World-hackable as “World 12”. (Yes, I tried, and it’s not at the moment).
So Rolling Highlands, is it 14 or 9km as article says one thing but route description the other
9km Loop with 5km lead-in
LOL, 50% lead-in. LAzy gits should just build more ‘pens…
Let’s be honest, while new road is good, it’s only actually just over 15miles, so pretty much everyone can have rided it all within an hour one way and easily within 2 in both directions, and with a pointless bit of gravel. Your hardly going to go through the trouble of swapping bike just for it so what was the point. Think I’d rather zwift spent its time and effort on sorting out all the issues, proper club events tools, sorting out UI properly, bringing graphics in line with modern gaming to name but a few.
Eric, any news yet on its availability when it is free-rideable? With worlds paired up on the schedule, do we know what it will be paired with and how often it will appear in the rotation? Would be a shame if it only appears a couple of days a month. Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Early March… I would guess in the first 5-10 days of March.
Not sure what it will be paired with or how that will work.
Argh! Early March? Bummer!
I’m snowed in here in Colorado and only doing Zwift rides – no IRL. I’ve been around almost all of the routes in all of the worlds and something new would be VERY welcome.
Step in the right direction. Tying themselves to real world GPS coordinates for the sake of Strava(?) has hampered the platform IMO. Certain smaller worlds could have just been part of Watopia. The fascination with the UK is a little baffling. Three worlds now. The place isn’t that big. Seems like you’d be better off choosing another area from a marketing perspective. It’s certainly a picturesque area, so hopefully that comes through. As for gravel, count me in as a hater. I don’t know why since it’s all virtual, but I like to move faster on the screen. That does… Read more »
Maybe they are not fascinated with the UK so much as the UCI keeps giving the World Champs to the UK (Harrogate, then Glasgow) and RideLondon is one of the best known mass participation cycling events around and covers parts of the 2012 Olympic road race course.
I imagine Jon Mayfield being from the UK might also be a factor.
Jon Mayfield is from the UK?
Don’t forget that one of the UCI events is coming East, close to the Innerleithen, the heart of Enduro Mountain Biking..
New routes are always good news.
But I see so many routes nearly unused. My feeling is that there are so many great routes but in the events there are only a few which repeat and repeat.
also I look forward to more routes with a uphill followed by a longer flat. (Or steps upwards followed by steps down…) So that heavy rider can try to get back on. Most of the strava hills are uphill and directly downhill.
The gravel situation is an interesting one. Zwift raced to include gravel bikes in the game when they became the new in thing, only to make them slower than dirt than mountain bikes, thus effectively useless. You can’t sell bikes, and manufacturers are paying to have their bikes in zwift (and hopefully not useless), so here come the gravel surface, and the climbs that benefit the gravel bike’s weight advantage. That said, with only a couple of gravel climbs making the gravel bike worthwhile, it is still a novelty. I don’t see why people are getting upset with one gravel… Read more »
Great, gravel and it’s on a climb…… fan-freaking-tastic. Perfect simulation of riding into a headwind. Hard pass.
I didn’t see anything about the Loch Ness monster…lol 🙃
It’s not GPS accurate?
Load of shit. Short boring routes that just have repetitive laps. No challenging climb. As useless as Yorkshire
Pump Room 8 is one of my favourite routes!
I don’t really care whether it’s GPS-accurate or not. If it’s fun, then I’ll ride it. If it’s not fun then I don’t. For example: Ventoux is GPS-accurate, but I find it an utterly boring riding experience. Alpe de Zwift is also GPS-accurate, but it has nice checkpoints at each turn, making and the scenery has lots of variation going on, making it a real gem to ride. Neokyo is not GPS-accurate and I find it a dreadful experience. There are so many roads in the city, but you can only ride on some of them, which makes it extremely… Read more »
To each their own. While I can appreciate the AdZ, after finally doing Ven-Top I actually preferred a long climb where I can get into a rhythm.
I only wish they would add on to Watopia. That is the most known world, has the most varied terrain, and it just makes more sense to add non-GPS accurate routes to it. So many more possibilities to it just by adding more connected roads without even having to expand the map itself.
“Inspired by Scotland”. Well, that’s a bit low effort, isn’t? Just randomly throwing together some lochs and castles and calling it Scotland? Rubbish.
Judging by the screenshots the Art team seems to think that The Giants Causeway is in Scotland! It’s a wondrous geographic feature to be sure but it’s actually in Northern Ireland. Still in the UK but not in Scotland.
Maybe it’s meant to be a representation of Fingal’s Cave (which is in Scotland and was made by the same lava flow)
How much total new road (not routes)? Looks like around 15 km maybe (as the 25.1 km Muckle Yin takes in most roads, but repeats a log in the opposite direction).
Does anyone know if night when riding in Zwift is based on a particular Timezone or is it based on the clock on the client side CPU?
I cannot imagine why Zwift has been rotating the maps 90* compared to what’s uploaded to Strava. I find that very hard to orient myself when looking at the route on Strava.
North is north.
It should be that way in the Zwift worlds, too.
I think you have a typo: “and then to the sugar and its dramatic views” – should be Sgurr ?
Fixed. That’s what I get for copy-pasting text from Zwift!
Why does the kit have to be such hideous colours? There are so many lovely tartans out there.
Other opinions are available.
Scotland looks great! If I do a stage there, am I able to stay in Scotland after the finish?
I believe so. I saw on Strava that someone had ridden Stage 8 of TdZ and then afterwards diverted to ride through the streets of Glasgow
Rode Stage 8 of the TdZ this morning and really liked the route and scenery. I do hope that they continue to develop the world and add some bigger mountain climbs. Even better would be if they added a connecting road to Yorkshire and from there a connecting road to London – it has the makings of a fantastic Great Britain world and would open up some truly epic rides.
Rode it this morning. Enjoyed the course. Nice climbs and a variety of rolling routes. Sadly way too much Zwift cartoon inflatable tomfoolery for my liking but the Northern Lights, Enchanted Forest and Mist were all surprises and nice touches. Not sure about the introduction of yet another surface only suitable for one bike type but I guess those who ONLY ride Gravel bikes might like it.
I rode stage 8 of Tour de Zwift this morning. Scotland is a very nice world but I didn’t see the obligatory Scot on the side of the road playing the pipes? This must be fixed. 😊
No! Please no!
I love Zwift and I realize the UCI road Worlds are in Glasgow, but why this as a new world? How about something with some actual cycling tradition? Perhaps Flanders or northern France, (Roubaix).
No real climbs, again… Another world I’ll never use after one or two laps to check it out (and I’m Scottish!).
Zwift desperately needs some medium-length climbs – not as long as the Alpe or Ventoux, but a little longer than the Epic Kom or Innsbruck. For FTP training through climbing you want something that lasts around 30 – 40 minutes, like Sa Calobra. The Scotland world could have incorporated the Bealach-na-Ba climb. Massive missed opportunity.
With a stop at the Applecross Inn for some top notch fresh fish.
How do I ride the other routes? The only one in the tour is rolling highlands?
You can free-ride them after joining and exiting a Rolling Highlands event… or just wait for other events in the next few weeks which will be on the other routes. Lots of events planned in February!
But you won’t get the badge just freeriding, correct?
This looks great, hopefully it will see a higher rotation and you can take some of the worlds that 95% avoid and stop featuring them as much.
Tartan, I like. The color selection is quite chaotic and busy. Purple, light blue, orange, pink, green (?)…
An enhancement could be unlocking designs at different Levels and using drops to unlock colors. Maybe certain significant designs or combinations (red/white polka dots, solid green, yellow, etc) are locked to specific achievements. Get an overall major KOM, get access to polka dot gloves / socks.
The city centre circuit is good but could have been amazing if they were accurate. anyone watching the race will see this Let’s hope they do Bealach na Ba later.
Rode the route this morning as part of TdZ. The map just doesn’t add anything to the game. I don’t think this map even warrants being in the regular map rotation.
How do the results work on Zwift Power for the Scotland Timed events?
I love that the maps overlay on the Isle of Arran AKA as “Scotland in miniature” – nice touch.
I live there – was a very pleasant surprise when I zoomed out on Strava to see where they’d set it 😀