Touring Scotland

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  • The sleeper is my weekly commuter :)

    A lovely old thing

  • What a commute!

  • real life Obanite.

    I’ve only ever met two of them. They’re rare

    Few survive that winter weather... Nice in summer though and the Wetherspoons has lots of cheap whisky. Dram of Oban whisky is cheaper per ml than a bottle from the distillery

  • You could go around Arran and get a second ferry to Claonaig instead of going up the Mull of Kintyre.

  • You can download a GPX from this version of the route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7336424­

    I've started it in Craignure cos the first part would just be the ferry crossing from Oban. Last time I was on that ferry we saw some porpoises and a sea eagle. It was mint.

  • If you fancy properly breaking a seafood rule, detour to here .

    Agreed, this place was the highlight of the west highland way

  • We went from Oban south to Aran, via much the same route as you've planned. Generally lovely, though apparently the south shore of Loch Awe is much nicer than the north. It can be very rolling though, don't presume the lack of overall elevation translates to easy riding. The canal to/from Lochgilphead is very pretty. Are you camping, hotelling, warmshowersing?

  • Hard to tell just looking at numbers via Google maps, but consider myself warned about the route not being exactly easy. Weather dependant I think we should be okay as less elevation than our tour last year and planning smaller rides over a longer time period - famous last words eh. Remember Lochgilphead being very pretty from visiting a few years back, that's actually where the (Mr Bean style) seafood phobia originated.

    Part of the deal with touring with the girlfriend is staying at B&B's, which is fine with me. If we get stuck out in the sticks tenting has been mentioned although will depend on what we find for mid July.

  • Yeah, should be fine then :) Not having to worry about finding a good wild camping spot and sorting everything out goes a long way in mileage!

  • my secret is out, thanks @LeePaton

    my family have mostly moved away from oban now, so i don't really go back often and i've not cycled there much either beyond about the town and south a bit to the Barn Bar where I used to work.

    Funnily enough I was back there doing some cyclo-touring with an ex a few years ago and got hit off my bike by some tosser in an SUV towing a caravan (he overtook me, going downhill, on a corner :/ )

    The main roads from Oban to Glasgow and Ft William can be pretty sketchy but other than that the roads are pretty good. I do suspect that there are a fair few drunk drivers on the rural roads but that is probably true of most places without good public transport.

    Would reccomend Mull and Ardnamurchan peninsula as places to aim for - incredible. Just go April/May or mid September onwards. Midges will have ye otherwise.

  • I've got two weeks leave to use up before April. I was thinking of getting the train up to Inverness and riding back to London, a leisurely 50 miles a day or so.

    Is it really unwise of me to consider such a trip in late March due to the likelihood of snow and general shitty weather...?

  • No such thing as bad weather!

    Sounds fun!

  • plan your route so that you're never too far away from a train station

    bring the right gear, and mudguards and you'll be fine - if you get un-fine, head to nearest train station.

  • I can't work out from your map whether you're going straight up the A82 along the NW side of Loch Ness? I've not done it, but I was strongly advised against it when I did LEJOG last year, due to the heavy traffic. Of course, the alternative route along General Wade's Military Road (B862) involves one very large climb but once you're up there, the views are fantastic. And it's a nice downhill into Inverness.

  • Oh and B&B sounds like a very good way to avoid the midges! We camped in Glencoe which was a bloody nightmare.

  • Apologies if my map was misleading, looking on the Sustrans site we'll be taking NCR78 up the SE side of Loch Ness when we get to Fort Augustus. My short touring experience has been following the National Cycle Routes almost religiously, as aware such an experience on the A82 for example could be curtains for me and the girlfriend (riding) together in future.

    From @gillies advice think we'll be going early September instead of July to mean we avoid most of the midges, that and staying in B&B's should hopefully work in our favour. Just want the weather to heat up and be riding it now.

  • @PhilPub Just to say also the gradient is less than our last tour in Wales (NCR8) which had some crazy climbs, but people do keep mentioning them which is starting to worry me. May regret saying this but think we both prefer suffering on a climb as opposed to feeling endangered on a fast A road.

  • It's all relative! I found the Highlands way easier going than, say, Cornwall. I don't think the B862 gets any steeper than about 10%, it just goes on a long time but stick it in a granny gear and you're golden. The terrain's so beautifully expansive so for all the ups, you're blessed with some lovely long freewheeling descents, compared to the lumpiness of Cornwall where you're just on the brakes all the time. Ugh!

  • i wouldn't be too worried about the climbs. Around Torridon and Lochinver there are some pretty steep fuckers and it can be quite unrelenting at times - you can rack up some amount of elevation without doing any hills longer than 300 meters in length (bealach na ba aside)

    It doesn't sound like you're gonna be near there so as long as you've got decent touring gears, you should be fine. Hills > traffic, for sure.

  • Thanks for all advice everyone, at the weekend we booked our Caledonian Sleeper tickets for the end of Aug. Really looking forward to it now we've got a tour under our belt and have a better idea what worked and what didn't. Considering making some changes to the CdF but part of me can't be bothered as it was great and couldn't really fault it.

  • Looking at the Isle of Lewis, is there any option to stay on the west coast, say from Hushinish to Mealasta? Kind of not tempted to cycle back to the main A road (A859) and do the long way round...

  • if you're going, you must stay in mangersta bothy (email and book in advance).

  • noted, I'll email tomorrow and we'll definitely plan that. did you take that main A road, by the way?

  • oh wow, scary "singletrack" here. could anyone advise if that's wise...?

    Imgur

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Touring Scotland

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