Tour of Sutherland pics

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Kirstie, 9 Sep 2007.

  1. Just returned from an epic tour of Sutherland last night, which truly was one of the best weeks' riding I have ever done. It just had it all, challenging riding, amazing food and accommodation, unbelievable scenery, great company...and by god there are some strange people up there in that forgotten part of the UK! Ha ha. There are too many highlights to mention...from the scary (observing the bombing of Cape Wrath by Tornados - we could smell the cordite) to the absolutely magical (cresting a hill on day 1 to see a view which took in the Summer Isles, Raasay, Skye Cullins and the Outer Hebrides).

    Our route was:
    Carbisdale Castle - Reiff
    Rieff - Kylesku
    Kylesku - Durness
    Durness - Tongue
    Tongue - Carbisdale

    All in all it amounted to 210 miles of riding, with 15,500 feet of climbing. Some viscious 1:4s, and all the weather that it could throw at us. Thanks to my touring buddies, some of whom post on here - you know who you are!

    It was just awesome.

    There are a few pics here:
  2. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    looks like a lot of fun was had!...very cool pics as well. I looked at several..and will look through them all soon.

    Were you camping, hostelling, hotelling?

    looks like the wet weather gear got a work out eh!:blush:
  3. OP

    Kirstie Über Member

    We hostelled, hotelled and B&B'd, but mostly hostelled. We got both ends of the accommodation spectrum, from the very cosy Kylesku hotel, to the Durness youth hostel, which is essentially a glorified shed. Still, we made the best of it and had a laugh.
  4. Foghat

    Foghat Guru

    Nice photos. I've just returned from a trip that way myself, although this was a walking/scrambling sojourn taking in the mountains of Glen Coe, Skye, Torridon, Assynt and a few days camping up at Durness.

    You're right about the 'forgotten' feeling to that far north area: the spectacular road across the top to Tongue has a really remote feel to it, then suddenly a little isolated community appears which gets one wondering about what life there is like, how they stand the incessant grey/wet days, and the limited opportunities for earning a living......Interesting how, even way up there, the catering staff are all East European now.

    I take it from the Tornados comment that the ride out to the Cape Wrath lighthouse was out of the question? If you haven't done it, the quirkily shambolic 'ferry' service is amusingly worth a go; but the road is in a fair state of disrepair and demands 'comfortable' tyres.
  5. OP

    Kirstie Über Member

    Yes we couldn't get to the Cape Wrath lighthouse because it was being bombed on the day we wanted to go. That and the howling Westerly put pay to that idea. We went to the beach instead and watched the Tornados fly in. Some of the bombs seemed to land closer to the village than was comfortable ie people were instinctively ducking down when they exploded.
  6. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    Excellent. Reminds me of my trip up there in May this year. How did you get on with the hills? I had to get off and walk a few times (I had my camping gear with me). Very impressed with the place though e.g. 15 mins between cars in some places e.g. Strathnaver.

    I thought you had better weather than me until I got to the Kylesku pictures onwards! I did some of those roads but the other way round:

    Day 1: Inverness to Lairg
    Day 2: Lairg to Canisbay - nr. to JOG (splendid sun:smile:)
    Day 3: Canisbay to Bettyhill (dreadful, 40mph head wind, got blown off bike after getting out of Thurso, rain)
    Day 4: Bettyhill to Scourie (wind had eased off but intermittent rain, heavy burst south of Durness - just like you it would seem!)
    Day 5: Scourie to Ullapool (beautiful coastal road through Drumbeg which it looks like you took too)
    Day 6: Ullapool to Contin (shed-full of rain - seriously losing the will to live by this point - retreated to tent - no food:sad:)
    Day 7: Contin to Inverness (no prizes for guessing the conditions).

  7. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Limoges or York
    Cheers for the photos. I have never cycled toured in Scotland but would quite like to give it a go one day. Clearly whisky is essential for the end of those wet days:biggrin:
  8. Good Photos. I've got an Aunt who stays in Lochinver yet Ive only been there once :blush:, when I was a kid; looks a nice place.
  9. OP

    Kirstie Über Member

    That looks like a great route as well. Actually the hills were OK because we weren't carrying camping gear, so I didn't walk any of them. The coast road from Lochinver to Kylesku was brutal, especially at the end of the day - I would guess it's much better the other way round, as you did it. There were a few stings in the tail, especially as the wind didn't really let up the whole time. For the first time ever I was blown off the road on one of the tops and ended up in a ditch, but thankfully remained upright!

    You need to visit Lochinver purely to go to the Lochinver pie shop which is pie heaven :smile:
  10. wakemalcolm

    wakemalcolm New Member

    Oh no you don't. They deliver via a service caled
  11. OP

    Kirstie Über Member

    Oh wow I've heard of pies by post - I hadn't realised it was the Lochinver pie shop. Cool!
  12. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    Some hope! I can assure you I was absolutely slaughtered by the gradients, particularly in the stretch between the junction with the A894 (just south of Unapool) and Drumbeg.
    My first time too, but I ended up flat on the tarmac. Still, at least it was a graceful fall, as I knew it was going to happen but couldn't unclip in time :smile:
    Blast! Missed that. I stopped briefly at the tourist place to swig some water and admire the display of rocks outside (Torridonian sandstone, etc.), before continuing on the brilliant road through Inverkirkaig (I don't think you did this, and I only did after a tip off from a cyclist-resident of Thurso). Oh, blissful memories... :biggrin:
  13. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Some character building country, and weather!:smile:
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