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A835 Ullapool - Inverness

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Kirstie, 12 Feb 2008.

  1. I'm planning a tour of the outer hebrides for later on this year, which may involve this road (ie ferry from stornaway to ullapool, ride to inverness to get the train back). Has anybody ridden this road? If so please can you tell me what it's like to cycle on? I've noticed there's a cycle friendly route into Inverness avoiding all the major roads, but what's the rest of it like?
    Ta.
     
  2. Jaded

    Jaded New Member

    I have ridden a bit of it. I've driven it loads.

    Tourists do cycle it, and there isn't much of an alternative, apart from the cycle bus.

    In a nutshell, not a lot of traffic, but what traffic is on it is fast and furious.
     
  3. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Quite a lot of ups and downs along Loch Broom, then a fair climb up to Braemore Junction, fairly easy after that. Agreed on the motor traffic, the ferry traffic can be a bit fast. You could get on the train at Garve if you weaken;), but that would mean another change at Dingwall for Inverness. I suggest you take a right on to the A832 just east of Contin, at Moy Bridge, then via Marybank and Urray to Muir of Ord. Leave Muir of Ord on the A832 then after about 2.5 miles turn right. This takes you on a nice quiet road along the north shore of the Beauly Firth. After passing the old ferry slipway you come to a fine tearoom on your left. Take a left at the next junction, up the steep hill and on to the Kessock Bridge for Inverness.
     
  4. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    Thanks!
     
  5. ransos

    ransos Usual suspect

    Kirstie, an alternative could be to return to Mallaig, and then cycle to Fort William for the train. You can still reach Lewis by taking the ferry from Skye.
     
  6. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    Thanks Ransos - I'm aware of the alternative. One possibility is that we take the ferry to Uig on Skye from Tarbert, on Harris. Then ride across Skye to Armadale (that's around 70 miles so it would take a couple of days at our sedate touring pace!), taking the ferry back to Mallaig from there. The only prob is I don't fancy riding across Skye. I've ridden part of the main road on Skye, and driven the full length of it a number of times before and it's grim. It's a really fast A road. We're also restriced to a week and with the travelling either side I'm not sure this is viable for all of us who are going on the tour.
     
  7. ransos

    ransos Usual suspect

    I know what you mean about Skye, but you don't need to take the main road the whole way across - you can turn off at Sligachan and then take the back road to Dunvegan and then across to Uig.

    I've done a similar holiday (in the car though) to the one you describe - Mallaig to Armadale, then Uig to Tarbet. I then went from Leverburgh to North Uist, then back to the mainland from Lochboisdale to Oban.
     
  8. Jaded

    Jaded New Member

    The bit between Garve and the Falls of Rogie would probably be my least favourite bit - wind-y, with stabby hills, a poor road surface at the edges, not good sightlines and fast traffic.

    Edit:

    Overall, on snorri's route, 56 miles. 1030m of climbing. All the real climbing is done by the 15th mile when you are at about 280m.
     
  9. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    Thanks Jaded, I plotted it in tracklogs and it came out roughly at that. Most of that road looks OK on the map but there are other bits that just look horrible, as you've suggested.

    Ransos - we'd be going the other way across Skye. From Uig - Armadale - the way it's worked out I think the whole tour involving Skye is too big for the time we've got. We'd start at South Uist and then go North...it's the getting back which is the difficult part.
     
  10. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    I just also discovered this:
    http://www.timdearmancoaches.co.uk/durness.htm
    The Tim Dearman cycle bus! It takes you from Ullapool to Inverness from the ferry terminal. Just posting it on here in case anyone else is interested.
    It means that we can have a more leisurely tour of the hebrides in a shorter time and not worry too much about getting back...so this might work.
     
  11. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Nah, they are not horrible in reality.:smile:
     
  12. Tail End Charlie

    Tail End Charlie Veteran

    Location:
    Altrincham
    I did this road in that direction earlier this year. It is a good road and I don't recall the traffic speed being a problem. There is a long pull out of Ullapool but nothing too bad and the drop down the other side is great. The scenery both sides is superb.
    When on the Hebrides do use the Gatliff hostels, they are basic but do you really need more and the locations are fantastic.
     
  13. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    Thanks, we are planning on using the Gatliff hostels, or some of them at least.
     
  14. Bromptonaut

    Bromptonaut Rohan Man

    Location:
    Bugbrooke UK
    Love the Hebrides. Mrs B and I had our first proper holiday together there in 1984 and we've been back time and time again since, mostly to South Harris. Kids, now 15 and 13 have the bug as well - family holiday in May will be daughter's 11th visit.

    The Gatliff hostel at Howmore is fantastic, hostelling like it should be. Stayed there last year with Mrs B and he kids who also loved it.

    Unfortunately, since the closure of the Gatliff hostel at Claddach Baleshare and the SYHA sites at Lochmaddy and Stockinish there is something of a gap for those hostelling the Hebridean chain.

    As alternative accom on South Harris the Am Bothan bunkhouse at Leverburgh is excellent. The Rockview bunkhouse in Tarbert, while very clean and hospitable was (at Spring Bank Holiday) rather too densely populated for my taste.
     
  15. OP
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    Kirstie

    Kirstie Über Member

    We've not really agreed on a final route yet. When riding s - n it's possible to take in most of the gatliff hostels ie berneray; rhenigdale and garenin (sp?), whilst dropping into nearby towns for overnight supplies (apart from garenin but there's a hotel just down the road so we won't starve!). I'm also a big fan of S Harris - I rode it a few years ago. I prefer to ride the east side rather than the west though, if I had to make the choice riding s-n it would be east coast every time.