NW Scotland again

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

  1. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  2. aberal

    aberal Senior Member

    Location:
    Midlothian
    How are you planning to get from Edinburgh to Oban - are you planning to cycle that as well?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes. Last year I did that in two days - from Edinburgh to Queensferry, then crossed the bridge to the north and took A823/A822/B827 to Comrie. Spent the night there (at a campsite just east of Comrie on A85), next day took A85 (with a detour along the south shore of Loch Earn) and was in Oban in the evening. I'm not bent on taking exactly the same route this time - ideas are welcome - but I'd rather cycle right from Edinburgh (Prestonpans actually).
     
  4. aberal

    aberal Senior Member

    Location:
    Midlothian
    It's a tricky one as the route between Edinburgh and the Falkirk/Stirling area is busy and the roads are not good. The route you took last year was probably a good option. One slightly off the wall option, is to take the Union Canal pathway from Edinburgh city centre to the Falkirk wheel and then the Forth/Clyde Canal from there, branching off at some point to either Callander and the to Lochearnhead or better, work across to Inveraray via Helensburgh. The canal path, which I've done from Edinburgh to the Falkirk wheel can be very pretty, with the occasional slightly industrial bit*, and is easily ridden on a tourer. With the added advantage of being flat.

    *edit: should probably expand on this - the industrial bits amount to maybe 5% of the total route and don't detract from the overall experience which takes you through some lovely countryside over huge viaducts and through several tunnels and historic towns like Linlithgow with a few decent stop off canal side pubs and eatery's along the way. I'd recommend it to anybody.
     
  5. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    Okay, thinking head on, to give you a good mix of coast, off-the-main-road, and a bit more inland...how about:

    After Kyle of Lochalsh, turning towards Lochcarron then heading over Bealach-na-ba to Applecross and round the peninsula and onto Kinlochewe - a toughie but if you want to see the coast well worth it!

    Then you can either take a left and follow a big loop onto the main road (A835?) - or take a right and head through Achnasheen and onto the main road a bit lower down - then onto Ullapool. From there you have the choice of continuing up the main road or turning left which will take you past Stac Polly and onto Lochinver. The options are then to either head back onto the main road or follow the road round the coast onto Drumbeg (the road is very hilly with many short hard climbs and sharp turns) and rejoin the main road a bit further up.

    Options from there to Durness are somewhat limited in that there is only one road :laugh:

    Having looked at my earlier options I would sugest the best mix of terrain and scenery would then be following the road all the way to Tongue, looping round the Kyle of Tongue and then taking the road down towards Altnaharra and into Strathnaver. Rather than following the road all the way to Bettyhill take a right turn at Syre which leads you to Strath Halladale where you take a left turn and this takes you make onto the main coast road just after Melvich. Right turn onto the main road and pass through Reay (in comparrison to the last wee bit the road will appear very busy :laugh:) and then take a right turn off the main road (I think it is signposted Shebster and/or Halkirk) which takes you via quieter roads into Thurso...

    The only downside with this is you will not get the chance to visit Skerray and Bettyhill. But the other scenery will hopefully make up for it :becool:

    A word of warning - you might be cursing me when you see how many hills I've sent you up! :laugh:
     
  6. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Aberal - thanks for the idea, this looks very interesting, will look into this option.

    And thanks again Noodley - great info, will most probably follow your advice hills notwithstanding :biggrin:
     
  7. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    Once you get to the junction with the main road after the south road there is the option of turning left rather than right....cycle a few yards and look to your right where you'll see a fence...on the other side of this fence is a cycle path...jump the fence then point your bike back the way so you are heading right again. The cycle track rises very steeply through some hairpins but then levels off and takes you over the aqueduct which you can see from the main road before returning to the main road again...nice views from the aqueduct.

    But you might already know this :biggrin:
     
  8. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    No I didn't know that, so thanks yet again B) . I did see an aqueduct which if I understand correctly is the one you're talking about, from the road though. If I take that road this year I'll check it out.
     
  9. theloafer

    theloafer Guru

    Location:
    newton aycliffe
    re-mod range at cape wrath.. when we did went there in 2005 we called in the tourist info at lairg and asked there they phoned up for us ...was clear but ferryman could not take us across.. weather to bad was a shame got to do it in 2006 though when we did the western coast... as noodley says some great roads and views... and you must try the bealach-na-ba.. :laugh:

    larry
    ps this may be of use
    http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/mapindex.html
     
  10. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks Larry!
     
  11. aberal

    aberal Senior Member

    Location:
    Midlothian
    No problem. Started looking into this a bit more (for myself, I'm thinking of doing it) and came across this Forth & Clyde.
     
  12. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    I would just like to renew the invitation to meet with as many of Central Scotland CC members as can be rounded up, in an Edinburgh pub on your way thought. We could even organises a few to accompany you along the way from Edinburgh to Falkirk, if you would like a wee bit of local colour...
     
  13. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi HJ, sure, let's try to meet this time. Perhaps we should set up a date - at least a preliminary one - right now? How about Monday May 31st? I trust you to pick a pub :biggrin: ... pm me your phone number and I'll call you when I arrive in Edinburgh.
     
  14. The west coast of scotland is notoriously steep but well worth it - take your climbing legs. Of the route you have mentioned I would avoid the main road up to mallaig - it's full of tourist ferry traffic and not particularly pleasant. I would also avoid Skye for the same reasons. You could always take a train to mallaig from lochailort station (end of A861 across the ardnamurchan peninsula) and do the short ride on Skye.

    In Lochaline, if you want to stay there, the Dive centre is highly recommended. The hotel there is definitely NOT recommended and I would avoid it at all costs. You can cook for yourself in the dive centre as it has a well equipped kitchen and there is a shop next door.

    However if you are on Mull why not go to Tobermoray instead (the long way) and then take the ferry to Kilchoan and go across Ardnamurchan rather than go to Lochaline/Morvern peninsula from Fishnish. The advantages are: better facilities in Tobermoray, and better scenery on Ardnamurchan as opposed to the Morvern (IMO).

    Also to find good cheap places to stay look at www. hostel-scotland.co.uk
     
  15. OP
    OP
    samid

    samid Über Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I'd rather not take trains... but thanks for the info. That unpleasant part you mention - if I understand correctly, it's only about 15 miles or so right? Not too long I mean.

    Yes, you're absolutely right -that would be a better route, will do just as you say.
     
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