nc500

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  • With fickle Scottish weather and all that, I have a few days have become free in early May. Anyone done NC500 before and would early May be ok, (weather)?

    Any other tips/thoughts are most welcome

  • Thanks - search cameup blank

  • I've had a failed attempt. The weather is the deciding factor if you're trying to get round in the 60hr limit because you need to maintain a level of speed that's challenging in 30mph rainy headwinds.

  • Thats fair, I would not want to race it, more of a potter around and enjoy.

  • Might make sense to do it in reverse then, means you're more likely to be cycling with the prevailing winds rather than against them. Or just take the train up to Thurso and skip the comparatively shitey bit from there to Inverness.

    Also early may should be fine but with changing weather patterns who the fuck knows any more.

  • Did it last year in early May - it rained torrentially for two days up the west coast, then had a couple of days of sun, then rain again for the east coast. That being said, it was beautiful riding and I have no regrets.

    One thing I would change is to skip out the east coast entirely. Most of the riding is on the A9 which is utter crap, and the scenery doesn't compare to the west. If I was doing it again, I'd probably cut the top right corner out and take the road from Tongue to Lairg instead - barely any civilisation and singletrack road for miles and miles, according to some motorcyclists we met. This would give you more time to piss around on the west coast too, there's loads of little day trips you could do if you wanted to see more of it, like exploring Assynt or taking the ferry across to Cape Wrath.

  • If I was doing it again, I'd probably cut the top right corner out and take the road from Tongue to Lairg instead - barely any civilisation and singletrack road for miles and miles

    Can confirm. Did this route past Ben Hope, Altnaharra, and past the Crask Inn in 2007.

  • I'm planning to give this a shot in a couple of weeks' time.

    Pretty much everything organised is either off or not possible for me this year, so I was looking for some achievement for the year (to top my TCR DNF last year and DNS the year before and IndyPac DNF the year before that - actually I haven't achieved very much in the last 5 years!). So I wondered, what is there in the UK that I've always wanted to do but never got round to, and it took me about half a second to decide it was this.

    Train booked to Inverness on the Monday morning (17th) and back on the Friday morning (21st). I only have 3 and a bit days, so will need to press on. Am planning to wild camp: tyring to decide between bivvy, which I'd rather do, and tent, which might be more sensible given rain and midges.

    Weather forecast looks reasonable now, but early days.

    Am planning to go clockwise as that seems to be best and likely to work best with winds.

    I don't fancy the A9 down the East coast, but I would like to do the north coast and check out Dunnet Head / JoG, just to say I've been there, so current plan is to do a 60km out and back to JoG, then go south on the Forsinard road. Everyone says the north coast leg is not worth it so I could cut that leg if behind on time.

    Intended route:
    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33615170

  • I highly recommend the Forsinard road. A nice alternative to what you have could be from Kinbrace to take road to Syre > Altnahara > Crask Inn > Lairg.

    Gorgeous roads I've done on some of the North Scotland Audax's

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/25999787


    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28688630

    I've ridden the A9 a few times and it isn't bad North of Dornoch

  • Your route through Kinbrace looks lovely, so it's probably 6 of one etc, but I can thoroughly recommend the Krask Inn - Loch Lever road as one of the real highlights of a LEJOG a few years ago...

  • A nice alternative to what you have could be from Kinbrace to take road to Syre > Altnahara > Crask Inn > Lairg

    That's a really good suggestion. Would keep me away from the A9 and temptations of trains back to Inverness, plus something to look forward to for the second half, going through the wild, empty interior.
    Surprisingly, it is only 1.5km longer, and slightly less climbing: I think I'll do that.

  • Crask Inn is definitely worth stopping by at for a refuel too. Soups are amazing and owners most friendly.

    The Kinbrace to Syre road will also take you by Britain's most remote hotel - Garvault House

    Some of the views from our ride up there in Arrivee p. 28
    https://issuu.com/audax-uk/docs/arrivee_­145_2019_issuu

  • Crask Inn is definitely worth stopping by at for a refuel too. Soups are amazing and owners most friendly.

    Glad to know it's still open. Was the perfect stop after 3 hours of rainy headwinds on a september loop in ~2007.

  • hrm.. i'm planning on this for next spring on the brommie. heard it's nicer in the spring?

    have a few milestone trips planned before it though (100 mi this weekend, 170mi next weekend for london-surrey ride, pennine bridleway 250mi sometime this winter)...

  • Yes, I've been up that way in May and have often heard that was the best time to go. Long days, more sun, fewer midges, etc.

  • In the snow - wow!

  • Anywhere else I can find a good write up / photos of this?

  • I put up some photos in the isen thread a while ago when we did the ride:
    https://www.lfgss.com/comments/14615785/­

    and another write up here:
    https://fifeingeejit.blogspot.com/2019/0­2/a-wintery-ride-around-ben-klibreck-2nd­.html

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nc500

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