Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

North Of Scotland

aya604aya604 Posts: 67
edited June 2008 in Tour & expedition
I am planning 10 day trip around far north of Scotland for July time. If anyone has any recommendations for that area then I would be pleased to have that info.

cheers

Posts

  • Ok, various ideas so to narrow it down;

    Do you have a set starting point?

    Are you camping, hostelling, other?

    How light or otherwise are you planning to travel and what sort of bike do you have ie. what sort of daily mileage are you looking at?
  • aya604aya604 Posts: 67
    Hi and thanks for your reply

    (1) was thinking Culrain may be a good start and finish

    (2) we are 2 people and will be camping

    (3) will travel fairly light - have lightish Marin/Cannondale mountain/urban bikes and based on last year trip (Syke/Outer Hebrides/Mull) which was hilly and windy maybe 40 miles per day average

    Was thinking of something like this with add on trip to John 0'Groats which would be about 400 miles in 9 or 10 days

    www.mapmyride.com/ride/united-kingdom/e ... 9279913712

    cheers

  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Don't make John O Groats the pinnacle of your ambition. It's a dismal seedy place (Gretna is worse). Go out to Dunnet Head and Duncansby instead.

    From Culrain, I'd head up the A838 towards Cape Wrath and take it from there.


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • chasctcchasctc Posts: 52
    From Culrain I would head past Carbisdale YH then A837 to Elphin then SW to Achiltibuie before N via Lochinver and Drumbeg to Durness. Consider visiting Orkney (a lot more interesting than the N coast). If you must visit JoG you'll have to ride the A9 - the least the better eg only Lybster to Brora - using backroads elsewhere.

    Don't miss: Drumbeg road - most walks parts of it but it's the best cycling road in Scotland perhaps UK.
  • pneumatic wrote:
    Don't make John O Groats the pinnacle of your ambition. It's a dismal seedy place (Gretna is worse). Go out to Dunnet Head and Duncansby instead.quote]

    Seconded.
  • aya604aya604 Posts: 67
    pneumatic wrote:
    Don't make John O Groats the pinnacle of your ambition. It's a dismal seedy place (Gretna is worse). Go out to Dunnet Head and Duncansby instead.quote]

    Seconded.

    So which route to get there? or to not get there?
  • wakemalcolmwakemalcolm Posts: 633
    Just my opinion, but I'd take a left at Ledmore and take the road beneath Stac Pollaidh and up the coast road to Inverkirkaig. Almost as good as the Drumbeg road.

    Whatever route you choose, hope the weather goes with you.
    ================================
    Cake is just weakness entering the body
  • pw1brownpw1brown Posts: 243
    Just my opinion, but I'd take a left at Ledmore and take the road beneath Stac Pollaidh and up the coast road to Inverkirkaig. Almost as good as the Drumbeg road.
    I'd agree - a worthwhile detour. It would then be natural to carry on through Lochinver and along the Drumbeg road too. Mind, the Drumbeg road nearly killed me when I did it a few years ago - I didn't know it was possible to cram in so many steep short hills in a few miles of road.
  • vernonlevyvernonlevy Posts: 969
    aya604 wrote:
    pneumatic wrote:
    Don't make John O Groats the pinnacle of your ambition. It's a dismal seedy place (Gretna is worse). Go out to Dunnet Head and Duncansby instead.quote]

    Seconded.

    So which route to get there? or to not get there?

    There's not a lot of choice of routes to J O'G: A99 and A386

    I'd avoid them both.

    I was most unimpressed by John O'Groats when I arrived there after pedalling nigh on 1000 miles from Land's End. There is little to recommend it other than to validate your claim to have been there.
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,666
    edited May 2008
    If you stop at Durness you could take the ferry from Keoldale and cycle to Cape Wrath, the most North Easterly point on the mainland. That was my goal a couple of years ago, but a force 6 gale put paid to it. If you go to Dunnet Head that's 2 milestones on one trip.

    Re. camping: Get a VisitScotland caravan and camping map or use the link. All the sites are recommended and I found all of the ones that I used to be very good (and cheap - dearest was £8). There are plenty of other sites that are perfectly good though for an overnight stay.

    Edited to change a 'cool smiley' back to an 8.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    whilst at Durness go down to the Craft Village - nice cafes and local crafts to have a look at, excellent bookshop too. Then carry on another 1km for Balnakeil Bay - beautiful.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • ronstruttronstrutt Posts: 3,170
    daviddd wrote:
    whilst at Durness go down to the Craft Village - nice cafes and local crafts to have a look at, excellent bookshop too. Then carry on another 1km for Balnakeil Bay - beautiful.

    I'm off there in June on a Dover to Durness (and Cape Wrath - gales excepting) run (followed by a pop across to Wick via Thurso, Dunnet Head, and Duncansby Head), so I'll make sure I have a look at the Craft Village and Balnakeil Bay. Warm enough for swimming in late June?


    www.justgiving.com/ronstrutt
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,666
    ronstrutt wrote:
    I'm off there in June on a Dover to Durness (and Cape Wrath - gales excepting) run (followed by a pop across to Wick via Thurso, Dunnet Head, and Duncansby Head), so I'll make sure I have a look at the Craft Village and Balnakeil Bay. Warm enough for swimming in late June?
    I don't know about warm, but I'd keep an eye out for pods of porpoise, orcas and seals. They're fascinating to watch; I could, and did, watch them for hours.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • Tim FarrTim Farr Posts: 665
    Bettyhill post office for lovely cheesy turnovers, and a counter with absolutely no security - a step back in time!! A visit to Farr Bay - ancient domain of my clan??At Tongue, the youth hostel with orchids on the lawn, and artic terns nesting on the causeway.
    T Farr
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    nah, seas too cold! Farr Bay Inn used to do nice food too...
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • cafestopcafestop Posts: 1
    There are some great routes round there, was up there touring a few years ago - as one other poster has suggested the Ardbeg road is superb (though its called the Breakdown road for a reason). My now-wife & I rode 40-odd miles from Lochinver (excellent pie shop) to Scourie along this route and it took most of the day from what I remember - partly due to the stunning views and deserted beaches but mainly cos of the frequent and hellish climbs - steepest was 25%, good job we both like climbing!! :D I remember seeing another another couple riding with their kids and carrying enormous backpacking-syle rucksacks - WTF - not hard enough already?? There was a tremendous cafe en-route just in the middle of absolutely nowhere with a great little covered outdoor herb garden.

    I also recommend the YHA in Durness a really homely little place that seemed untouched since the 50s, not like some of these modern soulless functional places. A good base from which to tackle Cape Wrath via the ferry (unfortunately we didnt manage this as I had a knackered chain and was awaiting delivery of a new one from the nearest bike shop in Inverness)

    another great road was from the North Coast along the side of Loch Hope down to Altnaharra - about 20 miles or so and absolutely NO TRAFFIC whatsoever :lol: , the only hazard was the six inches of grass growing in the middle of the road

    Some great roads on the West Coast North of Ullapool as well esp round Stac Polly (sic) though a bit busier with sightseers - crashes are a risk just cos of the stunning vistas hard to keep your eyes on the road

    Great trip, hope to go up there again sometime

    further south a trip to Applecross over the belnach-na-ba or whatever its called would be a great round trip from Torridon where theres a campsites though the ******* midges will eat you alive
  • Ullapool (yum yums at tea store )to Lochinver (pie shop )via the coast road.
    Lochinver to Scourie on the dreaded Drumbeg road (cafe stop on route).
    Scourie up to Durness ( possible detour to Kinlochbervie and Sandwood bay or Oldshoremore - fishermans mission for haddock and chips )with a visit to Cape Wrath, Fish and chips in the Oasis, chocolates in the craft village, some amazing craft at 58 Degrees North ( by the pub )the owners of the craft shop have a bike friendly B&B too, nice lttle croft house with onsuite, two lovely white labradours and the hosts cook an amazing breakfast, . Fantastic white sand beaches, Smoo Caves and Smoo falls ( hotel for beers and pool ).
    You cant beat the north west corner of Scotland.
    Can be a bit windy though, but if the wather is with you I would rate this as the most attractive place in the world.

    And yes you can swim in the sea at any time of the year ( you'll just end up with 3 adams apples :shock: !!!!)
  • :roll:
    Thought I best come clean,.......I live at Durness
    The B&B's mine as is the 58 Degrees North,

    But Sutherland is truley awesome. You must cycle here at some point in your lives.
  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    Dunnet Bay was rather nice
    http://www.hyperthenellyphant.fotopic.n ... 01709.html

    Though I still haven't figured out what scrabster is
    http://www.hyperthenellyphant.fotopic.n ... 01523.html
    http://www.hyperthenellyphant.fotopic.n ... 01524.html

    I didn't find the A836 particularly a problem between Thurso and Dunnet, though maybe because it was September, passed by less cars (2) than on Strathkinness low road the other week (5). THough it can be avoided by using Route 1 from Thurso to sEAter and then use the yellows to get to the mill. Square counting makes that to be 5km longer.
    Do Nellyphants count?

    Commuter: FCN 9
    Cheapo Roadie: FCN 5
    Off Road: FCN 11

    +1 when I don't get round to shaving for x days
  • Scrabster is the main RORO ferry terminal for the Stromness ferry. Also a fishing harbour and home to what appears to be a 24 hour pub :lol:

    Where else did you get to?
  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    Stromness, spent most of the time being amused with the main road in the village, so much so I didn't get anywhere much else.
    Do Nellyphants count?

    Commuter: FCN 9
    Cheapo Roadie: FCN 5
    Off Road: FCN 11

    +1 when I don't get round to shaving for x days
  • ronstruttronstrutt Posts: 3,170
    :roll:
    Thought I best come clean,.......I live at Durness
    The B&B's mine as is the 58 Degrees North,

    If only I'd known I'd have booked with you later this month!
  • Next time.....not quite ready for reopening just at the moment as the house has been over run with broken mountain bikes. terrible run of bad luck !
    Or just too fat :wink:
Sign In or Register to comment.