NW Scotland again

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by samid, 7 Apr 2010.

  1. samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Ok, here I go again ;)

    I'm coming to Edinburgh at end of May, and am planning a 2 weeks tour going up along the West coast. I would like to start from Edinburgh, get to Oban, take a ferry to Mull (Craignure), spend a day or so riding around Mull, then get on a ferry to Lochaline, go up to Mallaig, again a ferry to Armadale, ride around Skye a bit, then get back to Kyle of Lochalsh, and then continue more or less along the coast all the way up to Thurso. (A friend will pick me up there, so it will be a one-way tour.)

    Would appreciate your comments, roads to take and to avoid, must see places etc.

    FWIW, I will be camping. My bike is a road/touring one with drop bars, so dirt road capabilities are limited.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    After Mull, I would get a ferry out to Loch Boisdale and cycle up the Hebrides, crossing back to the mainland (or via Skye) from Tarbert on Harris. Better scenery, much quieter roads and you can camp pretty much anywhere because you are always close to the shore.

    Unless that is what you did last time...
     
  3. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for the advice - but yes, as a matter of fact that's what I did last year - took a ferry from Oban to Castlebay, and went all the way up to Stornoway. I liked the Hebrides a lot - but would like to do something different this time, so this year I'm thinking of taking the mainland route.
     
  4. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    1. On the road from Durness to Tongue after Loch Eriboll and adjacent to Loch Hope you can take a right hand turn along a tarred track (fine for road bikes and tourers) which runs adjacent to Loch Hope and past Loch Meadie to Altnaharra, then from Altnaharra take the Strath Naver road as below.

    2. Or on the same road you can turn left just before the Kyle of Tongue along to Melness and Talmine and spend the night there looking over Rabbit Island - one way in same way out.

    3. Or turn right just before the Kyle of Tongue which takes you round the Kyle of Tongue to Kinloch Lodge and Ribigill and into Tongue with a grander than the already grand view of the mountains...

    You can combine 2. and 3.

    At Tongue you have a few options:

    4. Turn right out of the village towards Altnaharra, then just before the village take a left turn into Strath Naver (scene of a major Highland Clearance) where you follow course of the River Naver and which brings you out onto a couple of miles before Bettyhill.

    5. Keep going out of Tongue on the main road to Bettyhill all the way to Bettyhill.

    6. Keep going on the main road to Bettyhill until Borgie and take a left turn at the bottom of the hill next to the Forestry Commission plantation which takes you along a very quiet road to Skerray which loops round back onto the main road - adds a good few km onto the route but well worth it. And there is a Caravan Club camp site near the harbour at Skerray.

    Can you tell where Mrs Noodley comes from? ;)

    There are a few routes which are much better than the main road to Tongue, but I'll have to go look at a map to get the right roads as I know where they are and what turns to take but not their classification (if they have one!)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi Noodley, thanks a lot - that's exactly the kind of info I'm looking for!
     
  6. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    Glad to be of assistance.

    I'll have a think about other options - you could obviously combine a few of my suggestions above depending on how long you can spend, but it is well worth pottering about off the main road - you'll have seen all the dramatic coast roads you can shake a stick at by ther time you passed Loch Eriboll so a wee change of scenery might do you good ;)
     
  7. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    You might wish to consider taking the wee ferry over the Kyle of Durness and following the road out to Cape Wrath, there is a cafe at the lighthouse, camp a night and back over the ferry next day.
     
  8. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    But check the MOD ain't blowing it to bits beforehand ;)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    How do I check that? Does it happen often?
     
  10. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    You should be okay in May, I think they only bomb out of season.


    The 'ferry' (well, it's a wee boat) runs subject to tide and weather conditions...and does not always have space for bikes...

    http://www.capewrath.org.uk/Kyle.htm
     
  11. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    If you hit the north west on the last weekend of May you might see a few other cyclists as there is a 300km audax starting in Portmahomack on the 29th which goes up to Durness and back...don't think I'll be one of them tho' :becool:
     
  12. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    The local Post Office is advised of military activities.:becool:
     
  13. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    Make sure you speak loudly if you give them a call, just in case :becool:

    I SAID JUST MAKE SURE YOU SPEAK LOUDLY IF YOU GIVE THEM A CALL :wacko:

    I SAID JUST..OH NEVER MIND :biggrin:
     
  14. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Again, thanks for all the info. Re the above - no, I won't be there yet - I'm going to stay in Edinburgh on that weekend, and hopefully will start my ride the following Tuesday (must get some rest/beers/whisky first to get over the jet lag :becool:).
     
  15. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

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