Summer traffic by Loch Ness

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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geomannie
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Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby geomannie » 23 Oct 2019, 1:45pm

Hi

Our group are considering riding the Etape Loch Ness Route (not the event) next summer, which is basically an anticlockwise loop from Inverness, SW for roughly 30 miles on the north side of Loch Ness on the A82 to Fort Augustus, returning to Inverness on the SE side of the loch on mainly B roads. https://www.plotaroute.com/mobile/route/200982

We know that Loch Ness is a busy tourist area and worry about heavy or fast traffic on the A82. We are considering heading out at 6am on a Sunday morning. Our group are not very fast (~12 mph average) and we would likely still be on the A82 8-9am, especially if punctures mechanicals are involved.

Can anyone who knows the route comment on whether this is a good idea? With a fast road group this might be easy but we are a slower touring group......?

Thanks for any pointers anyone can give me.

Cheers
geomannie

Darkman
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Darkman » 23 Oct 2019, 2:06pm

Haven't cycled up there but driven up the A82 to Inverness several times. I've never considered it to be busier than any other A-road. As A-roads go, it is pretty narrow, though. But on the other hand it isn't big HGV country up there. Maybe one or two, plus a few tourist coaches but I wouldn't be too concerned.

The Drumnadrochit area is always busier as that's where most tourists converge to.

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100%JR
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Location: High Green,Sheffield.

Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby 100%JR » 23 Oct 2019, 2:08pm

I personally wouldn't use the A82 in Summer,even that early,if in a group.It's the main road from Glasgow to Inverness and can be horrendous.It's a well know accident black spot and having driven on it in August after a 15 year gap I can see why :|
I would avoid it solo let alone in a group.

Polkey
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Polkey » 23 Oct 2019, 2:24pm

At that time of the day on a Sunday you'll have nothing to worry about, I've ridden it frequently and during the week it's not nice, but traffic doesn't start to build on a Sunday until after 10am so you'll be fine.

Norman H
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Norman H » 23 Oct 2019, 3:25pm

Providing you make an early start you should be fine. I've ridden from Fort William to Fort Augustus early on a Sunday morning and it was fine.

That said if you've got any doubts why not do an out and back route to Fort Augustus on the south side of the loch. You could vary the route somewhat by taking the road along the Loch Mhòr on the outward leg and returning on the road alongside Loch Ness that goes through Foyers.

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Mick F
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Mick F » 23 Oct 2019, 3:40pm

Cycled the A82 in the 1980s over much of its length Glasgow to Ft William but not all in one go.
Used to drive it too, when we lived just off the embankment of the A82 in Dunbartonshire. We could hear it constantly.
Also, cycle-commuted along a few miles of it by Lomondside for a couple of years.
I would never recommend it, and last time I was up the A82 in the early 1990s it was even worse.

If doing an End2End, avoid it like the plague IMHO.
Mick F. Cornwall

bogmyrtle
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby bogmyrtle » 23 Oct 2019, 6:47pm

How many in the group? If large consider splitting up so that overtaking can be achieved without chances being taken. If any of the cyclists are not particularly confident on main roads you may be better looking to divert off the A82.
My experience from driving the A82 is that on sunny days (I know, few and far between) visibility is difficult due to constantly going from bright sun light into deep shade.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

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Mick F
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Mick F » 23 Oct 2019, 7:12pm

Yep.
In and out of the coast and the cliffs and round the bends.
Mick F. Cornwall

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SimonCelsa
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby SimonCelsa » 23 Oct 2019, 8:44pm

I did the Etape route with my 15 yr old daughter in April this year. Similarly, I didn't want to expose her to too much traffic so we set off at 0500 on the Sunday morning and were at Fort Augustus before 0800.

Very little traffic encountered, just a few logging lorries overtook us around 0630 ish. One of these we encountered at a particularly sinuous part of the route so we pulled over for a few moments to let him passed. I just asked her whether she found the A82 particularly unnerving that morning and she replied in the negative. We completed the whole circuit in 5.5 hours which is pretty slow compared with the times you can attain on the day of the event but we were in no particular hurry.

I would recommend leaving at 0500, not 0600 in the height of Summer. It will be full daylight and this will allow time for mechanicals. punctures etc.

Living by Inverness I would not usually recommend riding the A82 side of Loch Ness. South side more scenic, quieter, but with a little more elevation gain.

hemo
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby hemo » 23 Oct 2019, 9:10pm

What about Nessie aren't you afraid :lol:

Polisman
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby Polisman » 24 Oct 2019, 5:57am

The A82 Loch Ness Road is absolutely fine 95% of the year (I used to drive it 3 times a week, year round). The quietest times are early mornings up till 11am and after 6pm in the evening. In fact in the evenings, even at the height of tourist summer, its unusual to see more than a few cars per hour after 6. For sure its busy during the day in the summer months with caravans ect, but not excessively so. Certainly not as busy as Glencoe or Fort Bill in July /August. There are relatively few trucks on it either, as it only serves Inverness, which is a small town but English standards.

If it were me, I'd definitely be looking at an evening ride, which can be lovely as it rarely gets dark that far north in summer before 9.30/10pm. Even at 11pm in July its still bright enough to cycle by, with lights of course for safety.

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geomannie
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Re: Summer traffic by Loch Ness

Postby geomannie » 26 Oct 2019, 7:47am

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. These give me fair comfort that it will be fine.

Cheers
geomannie