Touring Scotland

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  • Nice easy start there.

  • Haha.

    For sure. Gonna stick to the flat coast to Dundee. Hopefully not too much wind and make the day a Audax diy (loaded w panniers)

  • I did Dundee to Strathyre, north of Callander, when I was studying in the former, and that was a solid afternoon out. If I recall, there was a fairly stiff westerly and I did the Tay flood plain section west of Dundee which meant the ride started with a tough 1.5 hours. Not that it got much easier after that.

  • Cool, sorting schedule at the moment, but may give you a shout.

  • Just back from the Highlands and thought I'd share a wee ride report.

    Drop bar gravel bike with 700x38 Teravail Rutland tyres, full bike packing and camping set-up for surviving whatever bizarre weather combo Scotland rolled out for me. Not bare bones, but equally not overkill. Kit list on request.

    By the end of the trip I was only carrying about 1 day or less of food onboard, compared to 3 days at the start. I thought I'd be hunting for calories, especially with Covid restrictions, but there are Coops and other small stores dotted around. Just plan ahead to keep the weight down.

    Took the train to Glasgow - no stress booking a bike on the day before. Social media or live chat worked best depending on train provider. 50/50 on whether reservation was checked at each connection but would have been left stranded a couple of times if I hadn't booked.

    Bashed along the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William in 2 days. It was about 70% lush or manageable gravel, 10% ropey woodland track, and 20% rocky gully madness. Several people advised me to take the road along the west of Loch Lomond to avoid some grim hike a bike on the north-east shore. If water buses had been running I would have preferred to take the south-east shore to Rowardennan and then crossed the loch to the west shore, but no luck.

    Weather was seriously warm for most of the trail, but rain closed in and the wind picked up for the last quarter. This change in conditions halved my speed. Fortunately I'd also navigated the most demanding sections of the trail - I'm unsure if I could have safely completed them without a decent mountain bike setup.

    Scenery was banging on the approach to Glencoe and beyond, so last 1/3 of the trail was by far the most picturesque.

    Riding on road to Invergarry to visit a mate was fairly grim on some fast A road. I'd take National Cycle Network Route 78 if I went back.

    Return train Fort William --> Glasgow. Managed to book my bike on last minute but would recommend in advance to avoid that nervous wait on the platform while the conductor checks reservations. Ace trip back enjoying the scenery with an egg McMuffin and pancakes.

    Overall it's a fun one to bike. Really well sign-posted but you do need a map to check the odd turning. Recommend OS maps app (£5 subscription for the month, buy and cancel the renewal). Lots of bailout options or road loop substitutes as it basically follows the same valley passes as the A82.

    It might actually work better on the bike. It's a bit like having a donkey carrying your gear. When it's on the move the living is easy. You can skip through the less inspiring sections and make small detours to explore. But once it stops and you have to push it up 'The Devil's Staircase' you'll curse the day it was born.

  • How many hours of annoying rock slab action did you endure on the East side of Loch Lomand, still never done that bit, folk im with always bail and take boat across (but then you have nearly 10 miles of camper vans and trucks inside your asshole on the a82).

  • Doing badger divide tomorrow and planning to stop near killin. I remember someone mentioning on this forum some.good camp spots, hoping someone has suggestions as was just going to go south side of loch tay and hope for the best.

  • If you could put yourself in one bit of Scotland and do 4–5 days of pure road riding on different roads where would you consider?

    Current plan is to head from Glasgow to a friends place on North Uist in one go, stay a few days then ferry over to Skye and make my way inward to stay in one location for around a week, then back to Glasgow. Just not sure where I would get the most out of the riding staying put somewhere. Ideally wouldn't take a tent so somewhere within a 200k range from Uig I think would be doable.

  • ullapool or maybe aviemore

  • The peninsulas on the mainland between Skye and Mull have some lovely roads. Arisaig, Ardnamurchan and Morvern. Mull is also nice and the ferries link nicely with the peninsulas.

  • Let me know how you go! Thinking about doing this soon

  • My experience was not as bad as some people would like to have you believe.

    I've gone south from Inversnaid loaded up with front panniers, North to Inversnaid on a coaster brake only klunker and I think both directions of that section with a (ss) freewheel.

    I've done North from Inversnaid once and didn't go right up to Beinglas etc, I jumped the boat across to Ardlui and went up the a82 for a pint and some grub at the Drover's.

    As I remember, Rowardennen to Inversnaid gets progressively worse until you're carrying the bike and using it as a ladder to get up and down things but a lot of it is rideable.

    Good brakes and the ability to back pedal definitely help as some of it is pretty technical.

    North from Inversnaid wasn't so technical as I remember it, just lots of steep bits and quite overgrown in places which made the going harder. Think it was a bit less interesting than the Rowardennen-Inversnaid bit and that's why I patched it at the boat. To be fair, it probably actually gets easier from there as you move away from the loch side.

  • It's just a lot of pushing and carrying, every 10m in some places, hundreds of drainage ditches with sharp edges that are just a bit far to bounce over or up hill etc. Can't see much as its deep in trees so not really interesting
    After the ferry to ardlui its more rideable, more open.
    Done it now, don't need to do it again lol. Would prob take train tk ardlui and start from there. Add an extra 30 miles of Gravel on by taking some farm tracks around bridge of Orchy /talla/blackwater instead

  • Cannot recommend enough. Tough 3 days and that was with ok weather.

  • Took loads but I'm a terrible philistine phone snapper so apologies for the quality. Think this was on beginning of corrieyarick. Will upload more when I'm not on my phone as it's only letting me do one at a time.

    We got lucky with the weather, first day I even put on some suncream. Only got a thorough drenching twice and the midges were bearable.

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Touring Scotland

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