Lodging between Glasgow and Inverness

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by PaulLee, 11 Jan 2019.

  1. PaulLee

    PaulLee Regular

    Portland OR
    My son and I will be biking from Glasgow to Inverness in May. We will not be camping. Should we make advance reservations for lodging, or can we be spontaneous and figure it out each day? We are open to hotels, inns, AirBnB, hostels, Warm Showers, whatever. Thanks!
  2. Bobby Mhor

    Bobby Mhor Wasn't born to follow

    Linked your posts in what is the thread for us Scots.. HERE
    I've only done some of the sections of the route but any info on routes etc that I can help with.
    I have found that booking ahead is an essential...

    I'm sure the gang will be most helpful....
    PaulLee, Brandane and Edwardoka like this.
  3. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Senior Member

    The Netherlands
    Hi Paul,
    I can't give any specific info on reservations etc without an idea of the route you want to follow.

    I see that you're also asking about hiring bikes, so that is at least one variable to consider. An ill-fitting bike could have a significant impact on your daily mileage goals putting pressure on reservations.

    Scotland has hills, wind and weather, all of which can impact on your daily progress.

    How experienced a cyclist are you two? Used to cycling/touring together? That also has an impact on daily mileage.

    My personal preference is to travel on the fly as I enjoy the sense of freedom. That does not mean that I'm not prepared, just that I'm flexible to change destinations depending on circumstances. Your own touring/travelling experience will influence how open you are to similar.

    Certainly any public holidays and weekends will increase demand for accommodation.

    https://cycle.travel/map will help you plot a route and show accommodation options along the way.

    If you do decide to go down the reservation route, my advice would be to err on the side of caution in terms of daily mileage. If you've extra energy at the end of the day there's lots of local cycling to do..... better than struggling to reach your destination.
  4. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    Are you doing the Lochs and Glens north route? There are a couple of hostels in Pitlochry. I stayed at the Backpackers purely because it opened earlier and wasn't uphill (I was having a bad day). I did a mix a camping and Hotel/B&B for the rest and was able to just arrive somewhere and find a bed. That was April though and not Easter. May can be a popular time in Scotland because it is before the midge season. Your strategy will depend on how flexible your timescale is and whether your legs could cope with pushing on to the next destination if the first one if full.
    PaulLee, Edwardoka and Pat "5mph" like this.
  5. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Moderator

    Hi Paul!
    We did Glasgow to Inverness a few years ago, if you search the member's travelog section you will find the Strava link to the route we took.
    We did it over 4 days, following NCN 7 for the most part.
    Booking is essential!
    @Edwardoka is your man, he'll come along shortly.
    PaulLee and Edwardoka like this.
  6. Edwardoka

    Edwardoka Facetious Remark Generator, Waffler

    :cry: I'm going to have to write a definitive LnG thread aren't I. I might even be able to get a book out of it :whistle:

    I will echo Pat's statement - yes, book well in advance, ideally. The later you leave it the higher the risk of finding yourself without a place to sleep - some areas of the route are pretty remote and don't have many options. (I have roughed it on tour before and it was a horrid experience.)

    The places we stayed when cyclechat did it together were:
    - Callander Hostel (http://www.callanderhostel.co.uk/) were very friendly and helpful and relatively new.
    - Pitlochry Backpackers Hotel (http://pitlochrybackpackershotel.com/) was functional at best, I have a vague memory about six pints (???)
    - Newtonmore Hostel (http://www.newtonmorehostel.co.uk/) was fantastic, as a group we had the entire place to ourselves, the people who run it couldn't have been nicer or more helpful (proper cyclists themselves, we were well impressed with their bike workspace and credentials. They fixed someone's pedal IIRC?)
    - Inverness Youth Hostel (https://www.hostellingscotland.org.uk/hostels/inverness/) - a bit of a walk into the city but a decent enough place to stay. Efficient.

    When I did it myself in 2004 I did it in 3 days and stayed in Strathyre Hotel (I don't know what it is called now, sorry), a B and B in Blair Atholl (same) and I honestly can't remember where I stayed in Inverness, I only remember wandering around for hours feeling sorry for myself while trying to find a hotel and not finding one until 11pm. (Life before mobile internet :rolleyes:)

    If you're getting the bikes from Billy Bilsland (which is a good call, it's a great wee place) you'd probably be best not to stay at a hostel in Glasgow as some of them around there have ... reputations... and instead either get an airbnb or a hotel. There's a couple of hotels at the start point in front of the SEC - the Crowne Plaza and the Campanile, but I have never stayed in a hotel in Glasgow so cannot comment. :okay:

    Hope this is of some use!
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  7. Edwardoka

    Edwardoka Facetious Remark Generator, Waffler

    This is an excellent point.

    In 2017 the midges were out in force in February :laugh:
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  8. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Moderator

    Yes, please, do as it comes up quite frequently.
    You can use the thread editing suite: it's a placeholder for long threads that you can use to write over a period of time.
    Nobody can see what you're writing (apart from the mods) until you're ready to publish.
    When you're done, give me a pm and I will pin the info on top of the touring forum :okay:
  9. I've stopped in the Newtonmore hostel and can echo above comments about how good it is.
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2019
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  10. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Personal choice really, I know some people like to know where they will sleep as soon as they get out of bed in the morning:smile:.
    I have never booked ahead on the route via Perth and doubt if you would have a problem in May. There are several route options between Glasgow and Inverness, so it is a little difficult to advise on accommodation until you have drawn up a rough route plan.
    I suppose there are two main options, west coast via Fort William or up the middle via Perth, unless you wanted to take the high road by Tomintoul. Do you have a "must see" list of places for your Scottish tour?
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2019
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  11. OP

    PaulLee Regular

    Portland OR
    At this point we are planning to go on NCN7 unless we receive enough recommendations for a different route. We don't know alot about Scotland. Mainly, we want to see the Highlands. Regarding experience and abilities, my son rode across the USA solo last year, so obviously this will be easy for him. I am more of a bicycle commuter and haven't done many long rides in quite awhile. But, I am in shape for a 64 year old and plan to do many training rides between now and May.
    We really like the idea of being spontaneous and not being restricted by lodging reservations, but if the majority think that this is foolish and reservations are strongly recommended, we will do that.
    I should add that we have plenty of time, we will not be in any rush.
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2019
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  12. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    In that case, you will be fine, just tag along behind and have faith in youth:biggrin:.

    The main tourist information body for Scotland is VisitScotland, their website should give you an idea of accommodation and places of interest along your route.



    Feel free to ask on here if you have any particular queries:smile:.
  13. OP

    PaulLee Regular

    Portland OR
    We have now decided to cycle for 14 days, going from Glasgow to Inverness on the NCN7 (unless we are persuaded to take a different route), then to Ulapool and over to the Isle of Lewis where my Scottish ancestors (named Morrison) are from and see if we can connect with any relatives we might find there, then ride back to Inverness and take the train back to Glasgow. That's 330 miles plus whatever cycling we do on Lewis. That's an average of 24 miles a day (or more depending on how much we bike on Lewis). So, with that itinerary we can be very flexible regarding lodging. So now what do you think? Should we make reservations for lodging or do you think we can be spontaneous?
    Also, does anybody know any Morrisons on Lewis or other Morrisons who might be able to help me connect with relatives? Thank You!
  14. Bobby Mhor

    Bobby Mhor Wasn't born to follow

    There are/were more than a few Morrisons on the outer isles..:laugh:
    If you have any names, these sites are worth a browse
    HERE (pay)
    HERE (I haven't used lately)
    HERE ((free)

    Best of luck and enjoy Lewis (take yourself to Harris whilst you are there then ferry from Tarbet to Uig, Skye then to Inverness)
    AND if not roughing it, book ahead....advised.
    I did a cycle on the islands on a 'lets go tomorrow' and had to get my Mrs to go ahead and find somewhere to stay and that was not in high season...not easy!!
    I've done some parts of your route..
    Keep posting if needing any advice or help.
    PaulLee and Edwardoka like this.
  15. Edwardoka

    Edwardoka Facetious Remark Generator, Waffler

    Your best bet for local knowledge of Lewis is @wicker man.

    My experience of the area is that they are very proud of their genealogy, but your luck will depend upon how much detail you have about your ancestors that emigrated. The Highland Clearances have a lot to answer for :-(

    Back to accommodation, there's a hostel (Heb Hostel) and plenty of hotels in Stornoway, and if heading south, there's a series of hostels dotted around the wilder parts of the Outer Hebrides run by the Gatliff Trust ( http://www.gatliff.org.uk/ ) - these can't be booked in advance, you just turn up and they are rarely at capacity.

    As you will be likely heading north from Stornoway to look into family connections in Barvas and Ness, you'll struggle to find accommodation other than airbnb, as there's only very small villages dotted around. There is a bus service, though I doubt it would take bikes.

    Alternatively, a loop from Stornoway to Ness and back via Dun Carloway and the Calanais Standing Stones (well worth seeing) is 65 mostly flat miles; doable in a day if the wind is favourable.
    PaulLee likes this.
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