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Anyone doing the Bealach Beag?

As it says, anyone heading to Shieldaig on the 7th, to tackle the longest uninterupted climb in the UK.
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  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,373
    Not me. I've done the climb once, now I don't need to do it again :oops:
  • Not doing the sportive, but did that circuit a few days ago and Bealach Na Ba is a great, great climb. Have you done it before? If not, have a real good look at the profile beforehand and hold a lot back for the last couple of k.

    I reckon the toughest bit is the last straight ramp before you get up into the final hairpins, especially if you've got a headwind. The hairpins look fierce, but they're not as bad as the straight bit before which is relentless. In the hairpins you do get a couple of metres here and there where it's less steep so you can recover a little.

    I did it with a 34 x 28 which meant a grinding cadence at the speed I was going at. Might have been just about ok for a sportive.

    So is Bealach Na Ba a longer climb than Great Dunfell in the Pennines? Guess it probably is.

    Btw, I reckon there's a tougher road than the one over Bealach to Applecross - the coastal road from Lochinver to Kylesku in the far North West of Scotland. No long climbs, but about 10 short steep ones that soften the legs nicely before a fierce 25 per center towards the end. Would be a great route for a sportive!
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 2,707
    bealach na ba looks stunning from the pictures i've seen.unfortunately it's too far away for anyone to be willing to travel up there with me
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • DaveMossDaveMoss Posts: 236
    gsk82 wrote:
    bealach na ba looks stunning from the pictures i've seen.unfortunately it's too far away for anyone to be willing to travel up there with me

    Believe me, it would be worth the journey.

    lots of other fantastic cycling up there, . If you can be felexible and last minute about when you go, go when the weather forcast looks good. Otherwise choose to go May/ early June for the best bet for decent weather. ( though april has been great this year).

    for a cycle tour, just drive to dumfries,(or train) then cycle to Ardrossan, ferry to Arran then on to Oban, Mull, on to Mallaig, over to Skye, then back over the bridge to spend a day doing the Bealach na ba, . cycle back to Fort william or Inverness to get the train back to dumfries.(or home). you can do all than in 6 days easy.
    Sportives and tours, 100% for charity, http://www.tearfundcycling.btck.co.uk
  • Yep, would definitely recommend cycling in the North West of Scotland. Reckon it's hugely overlooked because of misconceptions about the weather. I went for the first time in early May last year and had just one day of light rain over a whole week.

    It's just unbelievably beautiful up there and was so good that I went back again over the long weekend just gone - one hour of rain over five days and brilliant sunshine on most of them.

    Ok, I might have been a bit lucky, but as Dave Moss mentions, this time of year is not a bad bet for dry weather. Think it's quite a bit wetter in the summer.

    This year I threw in 62 miles involving Bealach Na Ba, but both years have centred on a classic road cycling route around the very North West tip of Scotland. You can find details here:

    http://active.visitscotland.com/findrou ... -Overview/

    Worth mentioning that yesterday we cycled for nearly an hour without passing a car (it's that remote!)
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    Yep, would definitely recommend cycling in the North West of Scotland. Reckon it's hugely overlooked because of misconceptions about the weather. I went for the first time in early May last year and had just one day of light rain over a whole week.

    No, you are wrong. It rains every day by law.


    It's just unbelievably beautiful up there and was so good that I went back again over the long weekend just gone - one hour of rain over five days and brilliant sunshine on most of them.

    That's completely impossible and you must be lying.


    Ok, I might have been a bit lucky, but as Dave Moss mentions, this time of year is not a bad bet for dry weather. Think it's quite a bit wetter in the summer.

    This year I threw in 62 miles involving Bealach Na Ba, but both years have centred on a classic road cycling route around the very North West tip of Scotland. You can find details here:

    http://active.visitscotland.com/findrou ... -Overview/

    Worth mentioning that yesterday we cycled for nearly an hour without passing a car (it's that remote!)

    I've been up and over but on my motorbike. Looks a real challenge for the bicycle.
  • RonBRonB Posts: 3,984
    Good luck to those doing the sportive. I did the climb E-W for the first time last Monday setting out from Torridon and taking in the coast road from Applecross after the descent. Blistering hot still day (sorry Navrig) :wink:
  • alan14alan14 Posts: 149
    Ah, allow me to reminisce....

    I did the Bealach na Ba climb in 2005 with my brother. We did it on mountain bikes as part of a loop from Torridon Youth Hostel. We had a headwind on the climb and that made it the single toughest climb I've ever done. In fact I had to stop for a rest on the straight bit before the hairpin bends, but just about managed to remount, clip-in and get going again. I would say be very careful on the initial descent on the other side because it's very steep and twisty and you have to be well balanced and on the brakes the whole time. Also, save some energy for the coast road from Applecross: the first few miles are fairly easy, but then there are a series of tiring short sharp hills all the way to Shieldaig, with twisty descents which mean that you can't carry much momentum into the next ascent.

    The Bealach was a long-held ambition finally fulfilled, making an 800 mile round trip just to do it.
    Btw, I reckon there's a tougher road than the one over Bealach to Applecross - the coastal road from Lochinver to Kylesku in the far North West of Scotland. No long climbs, but about 10 short steep ones that soften the legs nicely before a fierce 25 per center towards the end. Would be a great route for a sportive!
    We did that as part of a cycle camping/YHA tour of North West Scotland in 1985. Our cycling guidebook described it as the 'toughest road in Britain', and I have to agree with you and the book.
    but both years have centred on a classic road cycling route around the very North West tip of Scotland. You can find details here:

    http://active.visitscotland.com/findrou ... -Overview/
    Our tour was similar to this, but we started in Inverness and cycled to Kinlochewe. From there we had planned a day doing the Applecross Round, taking in the infamous Pass of the Cattle (Bealach na Ba), but chickened out after finding the first day tougher than expected! Those were the days of youthful fitness, but we didn't know anything about hydration, nutrition or the best cycling foods etc. - breakfast was usually a cup of tea with fried egg and bacon cooked on a tiny Camping Gaz Globetrotter stove!

    If you make it to Durness in the far NW, it's well worth cycling to the Cape Wrath lighthouse. We loaded our bikes onto the Keoldale 'ferry' - a small rowing boat with an outboard motor - to cross the Kyle of Durness, along with another 2 passengers. Blimey, it still survives - that's it in the bottom photo - http://www.capewrath.org.uk/05_Kyle.htm ! I don't know what the road is like now, but back in '85 it was very rough and I punctured on the way back, and had to mend it quickly to get back in time for the return crossing.

    I also remember the next day on the tour, sneaking across the railway viaduct at Invershin station to take a shortcut to Carbisdale Castle. That is no longer necessary as a footbridge has been built.
  • thecrofterthecrofter Posts: 734
    So is Bealach Na Ba a longer climb than Great Dunfell in the Pennines? Guess it probably is.!

    Looking at Great Dun Fell, it appears to be slightly shorter but similar height gain, taking the start of the climb as the village of Knock, making it on average steeper that the Bealach, I suppose. However Great Dun Fell is not a public road. The Bealach was in the Guiness Book of Records as the longest steep hill in Britain, when the book carried such records.

    Looks like light southerly winds for Sat. perfect :D
    You've no won the Big Cup since 1902!
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