Zwift’s New Scotland World: First Rides!


Ahead of February’s UCI Esports World Championships, Zwift is launching a new world/map: Scotland. This follows in the footsteps of other historical UCI-driven maps, such as the always-loved Richmond (2015), Innsbruck (2018), Yorkshire (2019), and the little-remembered Bologna TT event map (2019 – for the Giro). In the case of Scotland, the map encompasses some 58.8km of roads, including five specific routes, and one Nessie. Zwift says the new world is “inspired by the city of Glasgow”, which is also the site of the UCI Cycling World Championships in August.

Now for the month of February, the Scotland world will be so-called “event-only”, which means you can only ride it on/with a specific scheduled event. And the first such event is February 3rd (Stage 8 of the Tour de Zwift). There’s a slate of rides then taking place after that date, so it’s pretty easy to find events from those dates onwards. Then in “early March”, Zwift says it’ll be available for free ride, club events, and meetups. This is a pretty typical pattern for Zwift rollouts of UCI event worlds. Also, if you complete a ZRacing or Ride Scotland event, you’ll get a ‘Zwift Tartan’ cycling kit.

As noted earlier, there are five specific routes, which are as follows (descriptions direct from Zwift, because I lack enough flowery language to say much else besides ‘you pass some more fuzzy cows as you go past some more rocks and fields’):

Rolling Highlands – 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.


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!


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.


Loch Loop – 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.


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 sugar 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.

Now in my case I set out on two different press/media group rides. Of course, ‘group’ would be a bit of a strong term. Turns out I was the only person on such ride. One route was the City and the Sgurr route, the other was the Loch Loop route. Albeit, as I’d find out, the City route basically duplicates the Loch Loop route, except it starts very briefly in the city.

The 8KM long City and the Sgurr route would be absolutely brutal as a multi-lap race, given it’s essentially going over the top of a mountain and back down again over and over again. A yo-yo out-and-back route of sorts, but with 161m of climbing on it including some 14% grade. It’s got a looped under/overpass thingy, kinda like the loop on Sa Calobra on Mallorca (Spain).


That was a fun week.

In any case, here are a few quick shots of that course/route:

You’ll notice the Northern Lights, as well as some constellations. This was recorded on my M1 MacBook Pro, so nothing crazy in terms of graphics power (since sadly, Zwift has yet to optimize it for M1/M2 units).

Meanwhile, the Loch Loop is much tamer, but still involves the same climb (just not repeated). It meanders through the “rolling highlands” past many fields, lots of Highland Cows (or Fuzzy Cows as my daughters call them, they’re also here in Amsterdam), and one Loch Ness monster.

Overall these are nice courses, reminding me a bit of the Yorkshire courses, but more interesting. I think the ‘over the top’ type touches work well here, as otherwise it’s just a lot of fields/rocks. For example, this thing:


Now, one thing that’ll be interesting to see is if Zwift expands this world any. Up until now, most UCI-driven world maps tend to be ‘one and done’. They’re built ahead of the UCI outdoors event in that host city, and then otherwise don’t see any further expansion. However, this is the first time that Zwift has had the map ready for the Esports World Championship, which is held 6 months before the real-world-outdoors variants. Thus, in this case, Zwift would have 6 months of potential expansions of the Scotland map ahead of that August UCI event. If I were UCI and the Glasgow organizers, I’d be looking to find some way to maintain/increase interest between now and then. Given that was always the goal historically.

I asked Zwift what their plans were, and they said this:

“It’s a simple but not-so-simple question. Yes, the Scotland map is different to other UCI courses as it’s been designed from scratch whereas others have been road course replicas. There are no plans to add new tarmac between now and August but the door would be open to possible expansions in the future. Again though, nothing is planned at this point.”

Also, totally unrelated but kinda related side note, I noticed on the schedule that while the Esports World Championship is being held shortly here in February, two other UCI indoor cycling championships are actually being held in August. These being the Artistic Cycling, and Cycle-Ball events. Seriously, one of these years I’m gonna see these events in person. I’ve seen the Tour, I’ve seen the Giro, I’ve seen the Olympics…now bring on some Cycle-ball!

Oh, finally note that there aren’t any running-specific routes on Scotland, in terms of run paths or such different from the cycling roads. But you can still run these roads, and Zwift says there will be run-specific events coming up as part of the Scotland world launch.

With that, thanks for reading!


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  1. Xavier

    Released with such a pile of bugs! 500,000 XP’s lost once at L60, that’s what it takes to reach L50!
    Drops don’t add up anymore. Can’t do a work out anymore. Name it, they broke it…

    • Alex

      The XP reset/freeze at level 60 seems to be by design. Was that way immediately after they added levels 51-60 at least according to the first people who reached 60.

      Not sure why they did it but it has become painfully obvious that they stopped caring about long term customers at least 2 years ago.

    • Xavier Neys

      So the 500,000 XP I still had in the bank are gone by design? I did sweat and actually paid for them. I still get +20XP after each km. I wonder where they go to.
      Time for Ray to write another round up of cycling platforms I guess. I look forward to reading that one.

  2. Sam

    is the screenshot taken on apple tv? cause it looks quite bad

    • As noted in the post, Macbook Pro (M1).

      More specifically:

      Apple M1 Max met 10 core CPU, 24 core GPU en 16 core Neural Engine
      32 GB RAM

      At the end of the day, the M1/M2 series has been out for a few years now, and Zwift has really failed to leverage it in any way.

    • Marc L.

      The lack of support for Apple Silicon, more than 2 years on is just embarrassing. No rider shadows, very low profile setting, no 4K option. Terrible.

    • Gilbert

      It’s beyond frustrating. I have an M1 Max 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 64 gigs of RAM… My wife has a similar laptop and recently started cycling and asked me why it looks so bad on my laptop.

      Zwift raised 450 million dollars during their series C funding round in Sept 2020. How they have not put that money to use by hiring more developers for general platform development and solving this problem for Apple users is beyond me. Maybe they hired too many MBAs?

      I get managing your burn rate but thinking a hardware expansion was a good idea vs. focusing on expanding your core software with your partners, which is in your customer’s best interests beyond me.

      Imagine this… Zwift led the development of Bluetooth profiles to extend the virtual experience. How about integration with head units virtual GPS, distance, etc? Climbing functions on your head unit pop up on your head unit as your approach a climb or the ability to hit lap on your head unit, and it resets your zwift display… I’m not sold on steering… How about allowing us to customize our Zwift display… I know I know. Mind-blowing suggestions…

      I don’t fault Zwift for chasing the esports world, but as everyone has mentioned, integrate the worlds using common sense and continue expanding the existing worlds. NYC is much more than central park… London / York Shire / Scotland worlds could be linked to create an expansive experience. Whoever is the product manager(s) at Zwift should listen to their customer base.

    • CowRob

      From the Zwift forum thread on M1 compatibility:


      copy the ultra.txt file overtop of the medium.txt file in the ~/Library/Application Support/Zwift/data/configs folder. I then edited the ~/Documents/Zwift/prefs.xml and changed the USER_RESOLUTION_PREF line to force 4K resolution, as in the following:


      Now when I run Zwift, I get 4K resolution, WITH rider shadows (interestingly).


      Post #300 here: link to

    • CowRob

      But check the post above as this post doesn’t show the XML tags…

  3. David E.

    They need to connect Scotland to London next! ;)

  4. Stuart G

    Any word on the optimisation for Mac and getting rider shadows. Recall you said in the comments on a past post you had some info coming soon on that for a Jan update…. Suspect Zwift failed to deliver?

    • Peter Blair

      Thanks Ray – came here to ask the same. They’ve been suspiciously quiet on all the Zwift Forum posts about it. On my M1 Pro I did get defaulted to ZwiftMetal recently, but still stuck on “high” mode…

    • TS

      Had this same question, though at this point it’s more perfunctory than a genuine belief that they might one day make use of these insanely powerful machines.

    • Marc L

      The entire history of Zwift on Apple Silicon is very strange. When the M1s first came out over 2 years ago, Zwift defaulted them to Medium. In early 2021, they allocated them to High profile, so we had rider shadows. Then in a subsequent release soon afterwards, they downgraded them to Basic, and that’s where are are now for almost 2 years.

      About a year ago, Jon Mayfield posted something on a Reddit thread that M1 native was imminent, but it’s been crickets since then.

      I have a support ticket open with them for over a year, and despite pushing them on it for answers, I get nothing of any value other than “we hope this doesn’t take away from your enthusiasm for the Zwift platform”…

      It’s all very strange.

    • Gilbert


      If the Zwift bear pokes back, remind them about how you man-handled Strava… :)

    • CowRob

      Post #300 here: link to

      Not official, but seems to work.

  5. Tim

    To my mind, I’m not sure why they haven’t expanded any of their real world inspired courses (NYC, London, France). Especially for London and NYC they could easily add an extra street/route every little while to keep it fresh. I get that they’re spending their map creation time doing stuff like this and Makuri, but their old maps are getting stale.

    • I completely agree. There’s tons of opportunities in NYC (for example, a fake bridge to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty). In the Paris map they could even add countless interesting routes, even hilly/etc ones out to Versailles. In France there’s even more options with more famed climbs or regions. And on and on.

      I get why they do the UCI courses, but I don’t get why they don’t leverage them further. Even running is a good example of that. Runners don’t need 50KM of extra pavement. A few interconnecting half-assed running paths off in some cow fields is all ya really need to keep Zwift runners happy. :)

    • BikePower

      I’ve been using Zwift for about 7 years, and in early days there were regular updates with new roads to keep things interesting. Then Zwift seemed to become more interested in racing, etc. and stopped expanding existing worlds and creating new worlds. Last fall after the disappointingly small expansion of Makuri Islands I was just so bored riding the same roads over and over that I finally cancelled my subscription.

      I tried Rouvy again and have been happy with how Rouvy has improved their platform and with the number of great AR routes that are available (especially some of the iconic climbs). There may not be as many concurrent users, but I use the “ghost riders” feature (unlike Zwift, the “ghosts” look like regular riders) and it feels like I’m on a group ride with different members drifting forward and back.

      I think most Zwift users are fairly new and perhaps the current number of maps/roads is sufficient to keep them interested, but if Zwift continues their current glacial pace for expansion at some point the Zwift population is going to begin to decrease.

    • Marc L

      I honestly don’t know why they continue to support Zwift Run. I say this as a regular user of Zwift Run. That being said, it’s not like anything Zwift does makes much sense from a good business standpoint.

  6. Harry

    I’m confused, is the actual Worlds RR circuit one of these routes?

    • Jim

      No. That’s what they’ve done in the past, but now Zwift designed their own circuit for the eSports WC, rather than basing it off of GPS data for the actual RR route. Hence “inspired by Glasgow” in their marketing.

  7. Antoine Martin

    As long as Zwift won’t include some kind of semi realist turning model they can add map it just change the look of cycling without changing the race dynamics.
    I don’t want to steer, just something that limit the maximum speed depending on sharpness and that thin up a group of rider by the rear when they enter a corner to favour front running or solo riders.

  8. eric

    Did we get all pavement this time, or is this another map with gravel thrown in for no reason?

  9. Chris

    That one rock circle shot looks like something from Outlander, which my wife makes me watch.

  10. Graham

    Well, I recognised Argyle Street in Glasgow, the rest looks fantasy. I don’t know if you were riding it at night but the sun does shine *sometimes* in Scotland! And that’s not gravel, that’s standard tarmac for round here!

    • sg8357

      Wahoo has announced the rain plug in and an improved
      sheep randomizer. You will need to add the 5 litre bluetooth
      water bucket option to your headwind fan unit for best effect.

  11. Dan

    Why does Zwift insist on rotating the world maps 90* compared to what gets uploaded to Strava?
    North is north. Always has been.
    Let’s keep it that way.

  12. Neil Jones

    I wonder how many other readers saw that first picture and instantly thought “Ah, that’s surely inspired by Glasgow” :-)

    As regards the Bologna map, I don’t understand why Zwift never included this as a free ride map once the Giro was over. It’s seems such a waste of effort to build a whole map just for one event period when there doesn’t seem (to me) to be any reason why they couldn’t continue to offer it. Was there any licensing involved?

  13. Neil Jones

    Also, only one autocorrection of ‘Sgurr’ to ‘sugar’ missed, so not bad… though to be fair that might just have been copied across from Zwift’s description.

    • Haha, that one’s from Zwift and their description. Obviously, I plan on leaving. I mean, it’s kinda true – it’s all sweet. Sorta. If you like suffering.

  14. BrezDog

    Was hoping they’d mimic the Bealach Na Ba climb on the Scotland circuit. :(

  15. portemat

    I don’t understand why Zwift add new maps. Look at the users. Watopia is always busier than the other worlds.

    Why is that? From my perspective, it way more interesting to ride Watopia than any of the other worlds because there is far more to see, and far more variety.

    Desert, forest, dinosaurs, jungle & mountain. In one ride!

    Linking the other worlds into Watopia would, IMHO, be a far better way to go. Then there is a real target. a 3hr ride from Neokyo, via Innsbruck & France, ending at the top of the Alp. That would be cool. It would be interesting.

    To me, it is the scenery changes that hold the interest. I have ridden RGT, MyWhoosh & others. But they seem dull to me. No matter the variety of courses they have (RGT is pretty good on that front, for example), each ride is set in scenery that doesn’t change. It make for a dull indoor ride.

    Zwift works the best of the virtual apps not because it has the best graphics (it really doesn’t). But, by giving us a world that was designed to be a ridden virtually, we get lots of interest to keep us going. Breaking it up into smaller, “samer” places really eats away at this.

    We don’t ride indoor app to replicate outside. It is not the same. And can never be. So app builders should not try to replicate. They should give us something fun to look at.

    • Neil Jones

      People have long asked for a way to teleport between worlds during rides, but I can’t help wondering what chaos that would cause with the corresponding activities on Strava and the like. IIRC Strava does its own distance and associated calculations based on GPS tracks, which if they suddenly jumped from London to New York on the same ride would be ‘interesting’. I guess Zwift could just break up the activities in multiple separate ones every time you teleported, but I think a lot of people would be unhappy with that.

    • Paul S.

      Watopia is busier because Watopia is always available. I’ve been using Zwift for about 7 weeks now, just go to level 14 yesterday. At the moment I usually would rather ride one of the other maps. Yesterday I rode London, and if the same choices are available today I’ll ride Yorkshire. I’m always looking for rides of about 20 miles with 1000 ft of climbing, which is my typical IRL valley ride where I live. (In the mountains it’s 20 miles and 2000 ft of climbing on mostly gravel or worse, but I’m not that interested in spending 2 hours on the trainer.)

      The problem with the non-Watopia’s is they’re smaller maps and they quickly get played out. If it’s France and Paris today, I’ll probably ride the Serpentine 8 in Watopia (I like that one). I haven’t actually ridden Paris, but it doesn’t look interesting. If Makuri is available, I’ll probably do the Makuri 40, one of the last rides that sort of fit my criteria. I’ve done the other ~20 mile rides in Makuri already. I’m looking forward to riding Scotland, but it’ll probably lose its allure fairly quickly. I’ll probably do the Muckle Yin once or twice and then it’ll be back to Watopia.

    • Paul S.

      I was thinking about teleporting and Strava yesterday. Since Zwift pays little attention to what’s physically there (see north of the Thames in London vs. south of the Thames, or the Solomon Islands and Watopia) when they make their maps, they could simply trace the track from the new map on the starting map, making altitude adjustments appropriately so that Strava wouldn’t be that confused. Probably couldn’t do that entirely, there might still be ridiculous grades at some teleportation points, but it shouldn’t be that hard to do something reasonable.

    • portemat

      I don’t see why the Zwift worlds have to be on top of the real worlds?

      After all, the Alp du Zwift does not overlap the real Alp d’huez, so why should we be bothered that Zwift NY overlaps real NY on Strava? (Riding Zwift Surrey Hills give a pretty dumb map trace on Zwift).

      Would be far better to have virtual London / virtual NY / etc. as districts of Watopia and have meaningful linkage between them all.

  16. Tyler

    I just got my first trainer set up (and still prefer riding outdoors in 10° F, to it) and have only used the TACX freeware (non-dynamic videos of road rides/possibly via motorcycle?).

    Is there somewhere that I could find a review of the various trainer connected services?
    I’m especially looking for a service that offers mostly gravel/off-road tour type routes.

    Any help is appreciated.

  17. John

    (Blah blah blah, more troll comment from John and his 18 different names)