Touring Scotland

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  • The other side of loch Eil is really worth it compared to the A82 drudgery so I would definitely try and time it so you land on the ferries. After Loch Eil there is a lot of bike path which is actually a bit unnecessary because the roads pretty quiet, but some of it can take you up some to some pretty special viewpoints

  • Hi - whereabouts is this pic taken and can i get there on a roadbike? Cheers

  • NCR 7 (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route­/route-7), east side of The Trossachs heading South (somewhere South of Lochearnhead, I think).

    Some of the bike paths are compact gravel. If you're on a road bike I'd suggest more robust tyres than 700x23s (I was on 35s, but you could get away with smaller than that).

  • Hmm, got Open Pave 27s, steel frame, reckon I might make it? I'm staying in Balloch and heading generally towards Glencoe, looking at the NCR7 lots of this is on road so seems a good way to avoid a stretch of the A82. But, the route you linked to has warning markers between Aberfoyle and Invertrossachs suggesting not suitable for roadbikes - what's the odds the stretch in your pic is somewhere here? There's an easy road alternative (well, not that easy, looks like a tasty little climb) but be a shame to miss such a stunning path...

  • If that's where i think it is, driven past loads and seen people on it, old railway line so nice gentle gradient (i belive)

  • Nah, it's between Callander and Killin (we road South and turned off at Callander to get to Edinburgh). GPS tag says Lochearnhead.

    The Sustrans page has some comments on the road surface that are hopeful (and some pictures on one of them). I honestly think it would be fine with that setup. Just be aware you'll be riding slower at times, and you may find yourself dodging the occasional pothole or have some loose gravel at times. Really is lovely, though. And much nicer than the A road.

  • Yeah, that's it. We came down it (which was nice) after climbing up the other side on the road (wasn't as nice).

  • Thanks for this, I've got it now, planning a shorter day based entirely on theNCR7 with an overnight in Callander to catch some local folk music and ales. Cheers

  • Enjoy it! I really thought it was something else. Hope to go back sometime - maybe come down from Inverness.

  • Cheers, good advice. Though I'm not sure if we've got enough time to fit in another day or so to go round the east side of the national park, especially since getting to CR7 and swinging back west to Glasgow would add ~100k and three climbs over 200m... we're going to get to Crianlarich and then see if we're up for it.

  • Hey there!
    Me & my friend are planning to go to Scotland for a cycling trip during the summer. We are really in the 1st planning phase and just want to hang out in beautiful surroundings, that's all, and this would be Inverness and north of it. So I haven't gathered too many information on anything yet, just asking.
    Would you have any suggestions on the routes, towns to stop by, places to spend the night, meet nice people (maybe any of you? :) ) and which month do you suggest for that? I've been to Scotland once, I was lucky, without rain, but I know it doesn't depend on that...
    Thanks for any ideas! Eszter

  • Go to some islands and drink some whisky.

  • I'd probably go West rather than North of Inverness. The islands is definitely the right answer if you have the time to get out there. Pretty much all the Hebrides are amazing but personally I love Barra and Islay/Jura are stunning too. Distilleries, beaches, pubs and amazing poeple (and music if you're into that!).

    If you want to stay on the mainland the country north of Inverness is lovely but gets bleaker and bleaker if the weather turns! I did a stunning bit of road between Alness and Bettyhill that I can send you the route for if you're interested...

  • Nah man, Applecross peninsula, Gairloch up to Assynt is fucking incredible, up round john o groats can be bleak but also breathtaking depending on the weather. I'm waiting till the weather turns to head up there for a solid tour with a wee tent.

  • Thank you guys! We're not going there for the whiskey that time :D
    I'll check the cities you've mentioned - I'd be happy to get that route you've just mentioned @owl
    I hope the best about that trip :)

  • No problem - it's basically the final third of this route and the first two thirds of this. Everything from Alness to Bettyhill is lovely, in particular the section up and down to Bonar Bridge and the road from Lairg out around Loch Naver. This was a highlight of my entire LEJOG trip... But, will also bow to local knowledge and yer man above probably knows the area far better than I do.

  • I cycled through the Outer Hebrides last summer - Barra, South Uist, North Uist, Harris, ferry to Skye, ferry to Mallaig, Fort William, Loch Ness, Inverness.

    Favorite bits were the Barra, South Uist, Harris. Would definitely like to return to Harris for more exploring, and beaches. Cycling is fine there - mostly single track roads so it can get a bit stoppy/starty pulling over to let vehicles past. Excellent road surfaces.

    Skye was a bit meh (just a long drag along the main road, and no alternative quieter routes).

    Tried to follow the Sustrans route from Fort William to Inverness. Some parts of this are really terrible and hard going - pot-holled dirt track around Achnacarry, and deep chunky gravel on the canal path West of Fort Augustus. General Wade's Military Road from Fort Augustus to Inverness is a pleasure, as is the canal at the West end (Fort William to Gairlochy). Nice free flat camping spots are dotted along this canal.

    From other Scottish trips - As @ùbér_grùbér says, I'd also recommend Applecross, and the desolate North Western bits.

  • Sounds like an epic trip but surprised you didn't like Skye-there's a lot of wee routes that are simply breathtaking but they can tend to lead out to peninsulas so you have to do out and back runs. The ride from Broadford to Elgol is simply amazing-last time I did it I saw eagles and everything...

    Granted, if you're schlepping along that main road in the wind it's not fun, but there's also the old road that runs parallel to it along big sections, and the road from Sligachan up along the West to Colbost or Trumpay is fucking epic-very climby place to ride if you're fully loaded mind you and the midges are savage any time past April.

    There's also a cracking ride from by Broadford to Kylerhea where there's a ferry taking you back over to the mainland, going over the old military road straight over the top of Glenelg and back round to the bridge at Kyleakin via Eilean Donan Castle, but again, very climby and would be tough fully loaded.

  • Hope you enjoy, there's a lot of beautiful scenery up north and quiet roads to discover.

    One thing I'd emphasise if you're camping is to take a well-sealed tent and protection from the midges-little biting flies that can hang in big clouds and make your life miserable! They are really bad in summer and if you don't have a midge net and some decent repellant (Smidge is the brand I use) then you'll suffer. I can remember me and my friend cycling through a huge thick cloud of them literally screaming because there were so many biting us and sticking to our sweat... it was like something out of a horror movie so best to be prepared!

  • Just passing balloch now. And can account for nice quiet roads. Much fun and good concrete to be had. Recommend a compact crank..

  • Different type of touring - with a car! But suggestions from your knowledgeable people?

    We've family visiting from Canada in April and we're going up to Scotland for a few days - three full days to be wherever (five days, but day one is arrive and night in Edinburgh, and day five is get back to Edinburgh and catch the train to London). Ideally not too much driving - few hours a day, be somewhere new each night, and maybe see some awesome sites along the way.

    Originally thought of doing a loop via Stornoway, but the ferries are pricey from what I've found. Was in the Trossachs cycling last year, so no need to go there (unless it's on the way).

    Thoughts?

  • The East side of Lomond - the bike path - is incredible (especially heading South). Absolutely stunning.

  • Sounds like an epic trip but surprised you didn't like Skye

    Possibly I've been a bit harsh. Context was it had been raining solidly for about 3 days and I was trying to minimise spending time on bike and more time in cafes/tent hence doing the main drag along the A road from Portree to Broadford. The Portree - Uig via Staffin road was nicer but still relatively busy with tour buses.

    I'll probably be back that way and will give the West a try next time.

  • If you're not set on the dramatic highlands the borders are really lovely if you're not familiar with them? The Southern Uplands are beautiful, really quiet, some stunning walks and LOADS of history. Charming little market towns and great pubs.

  • I spent some time in Peebles a few years ago. It was nice, and the mountain biking was excellent (except for the broken collar bone - great hospital there, though!).

    I think the family would prefer the sublime over the sublte, though.

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Touring Scotland

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