An off-road touring route in Scotland?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by samid, 20 Aug 2012.

  1. samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi all,

    Would appreciate suggestions for an off-road route somewhere in Scotland suitable for a loaded MTB - i.e. something not technical, on trails/unpaved roads, around 100+ miles - could be a loop but not necessarily.
     
  2. Crankarm

    Crankarm Guru

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    http://www.mbruk.co.uk/mbruk_ScotlandTrail_details.htm

    Haven't ridden it, but hope it is of help.
     
  3. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

  4. Ticktockmy

    Ticktockmy Veteran

    Here is a section of a tour I did a few years ago,when I rode the tracks they were in good order, but I found that in places I had to push, as like you I was carring fulll touring kit. Distance for this section was about 40 miles, and I camped by the Lochs Bealach nam Meirleach
    Starting At Rosehall GR NC 473023 on the A837 head north on the B road heading for Glencassley Castle, carry on to Duchally Lodge, carry on along the track to the Power Station, just past the Power Station GR NC365206 head Right along the Landrover track past Maovally and the Radio mast then on to Corrykinloch, then to the Main road A838 GR NC399253.

    Turn north along the A838 until West Merkland GR NC384329 follow track past the loch of Bealach nam Meirleach stay on track to Gobernuisgach Lodge
    GR NC437 416 then follow track to the Junction of B road at GR NC461421.

    Turn North and follow the B road to Hope, or follow to GR NC459492, turn Left along track to River, here you get your feet wet, if the river is low enough ford the river and and take the Landrover track across the mountains to its junction with the main road at Eriboll GR NC 428562
     
  5. Bodhbh

    Bodhbh Veteran

    You might want to check the routes in the Scottish section of the following website:

    http://www.rsf.org.uk/routes-archive.html

    I've never done an off-road tour up there, but it's on the list. I walked the Cape Wrath Trail a few years back and thought at the time I would love to have a crack at this on a bike at some point, at least where it's possible. You could always plan your own route from scratch with OS Landranger maps, or bikehike:

    http://bikehike.co.uk/index.php

    (tho it is a bit fiddly, I'd be looking to buy the OS maps, but the price can add up).
     
  6. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Crankarm: this does look very interesting and seems to fit the bill, will look further and/or probably buy the book. If anyone rode that route (Highland Coast-to-Coast, see link in Crankarm's post) would appreciate your comments.

    Crackle: I walked part of the West Highland Way (from Loch Lomond to Tyndrum) this summer and I won't be able to ride it on any bike let alone a loaded one. Even the easy sections contained e.g. cattle "gates" with ladders that would be a pain to negotiate.

    Ticktockmy: thanks, your route also looks interesting, but I'm ashamed to say I don't know what "GR NC384329" etc mean, could you explain please?
     
  7. Ticktockmy

    Ticktockmy Veteran

    GR means Grid Reference, which refers to Ordnance Survey, NC is the 100 KM square and 384329 is the location spot on that square. which if you don't know, it will mean nothing, best to use Google earth, and look up the named places to start with, find the A837 on a map of scotland, then find Rosehall and you should be able to find the roiute
     
  8. Ticktockmy

    Ticktockmy Veteran

    If you use www.streetmap.co.uk you can enter rosehall then you can increase or decrease the scale and follow either 1:50000 or 1:250000 OS mapping.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks, got it. (I actually do have OS 1:50k maps, so I just found the locations you referred to.)

    Edit: I like that Google maps don't even have any photos (let alone streetview) on your route, great!
     
  10. Ticktockmy

    Ticktockmy Veteran

    I just Checked Goggle Earth, Street view is OK from Rosehall to Duchally Lodge along the tarmac road, the short length along A838 between tracks, then from Allanabad to Cashel Dhu along the B road. Goggle earth seem to have trouble finding Rosehall, I typed in "Rosehall Scotland" then it found it. Hope that helps. Some of the Tarmac B road in Scotland can be nothing more than tracks with the surface suffering from a lack of repair and weathering
     
  11. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks again Ticktockmy, your help is much appreciated.
     
  12. fimm

    fimm Veteran

    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Respectfully, if you don't know about Grid References, may I encourage you to learn? (Or did you work it out - I don't quite follow what you mean by "I got it")?

    My other half has done the northern part of the West Highland Way by mountain bike - a lot of it is on Landrover tracks. The northern part of Loch Lomond is the most technical part of the whole trail.

    One route I think might be possible by MTB would be through Glen Lichd (behind the Five Sisters of Kintail) and Glen Affric. I've walked large sections of this at various times and a lot of it is Landrover track, though there's a reasonable section of path in the middle, and I would want to push my bike on some of it.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Fimm: I worked it out :smile: ... And thanks for the info re the northern part of West Highland Way - sounds interesting.
     
  14. Ffoeg

    Ffoeg .

    Location:
    The Isle of Carl
  15. andrew_s

    andrew_s Guru

    Location:
    Gloucester
    I did a route from Inverness to Tongue a couple of years back, the second half of which was the same as Ticktockmy's as far as Gobernuisgach.
    The first half went up Strath Rusdale (starting near Alness, NE of Dingwall), past Loch a'Chairn to Croick, then up Strath Cuilleannach and over to Oykel Bridge. Turn right on the A837 for a few miles to Rosehall, where ticktockmy's route starts.
    2 days, during which I passed 3 commercial establishments, all of which were shut (Oykel Bridge Hotel, shop & pub in Rosehall), between Evanton & Bettyhill.
    On the return I followed the road route past the Crask Inn as far as Bonar Bridge, then went up Strathcarron to the Craigs and followed the track up Gleann Mor and down Strath Vaich to the A835. There were also forestry roads paralleling sections of the A835 towards Contin, but I didn't bother with them as I was running a bit late.

    Another possible route that I've not tried is up Glen Achall from near Ullapool, and past Loch an Daimh towards Oykel Bridge (probably would mean a fair bit of walking past the loch).

    There's also the possibility of a circuit of the Cairngorms if you feel adventurous and don't mind a fair bit of hike-a-bike (Aviemore, down Glen Feshie, across to Braemar, north via the river Avon to Tomintoul, back to Aviemore on the Abernethy/Rothiemurchus forest tracks).
     
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