Inverness and North

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
tim_f
Posts: 245
Joined: 12 Oct 2009, 10:37pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby tim_f » 19 Jul 2017, 2:00pm

Was up that way in May and virtually all B & B had no vacancies signs displayed - so probably will be hard to find a B&B on the day.

Time ferry across to Cape Wrath runs is dependent on the tides. Time are aligned with minibus trips. Need to go at a good pace (given the poor state of the road) to get to the lighthouse and back in alignment with one minibus circuit. But I managed it and then cycled to Tongue in the afternoon.

captain offensive
Posts: 140
Joined: 22 Oct 2014, 8:36am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby captain offensive » 19 Jul 2017, 3:01pm

bikepacker - cheers for the warning - I have seen comments about tides etc sometimes causing problems on Cromarty ferry but thought they normally managed to operate for foot/cycle passengers at least. I'll check tide times and make the decision on the route to follow accordingly.

Tim - how rough is the track to CW? I was working on the basis that I might leave any bags containing overnight gear etc the other side of the ferry so that I'm only carrying what I need and then hopefully should be able to do the ride to the lighthouse in about an hour each way but wasn't sure if that was being optimistic if the surface is v poor. I'm going to try contacting the ferry man in the next few days for advice - would there be a time I'd need to be there by if I tried to add CW in after riding up from Lairg.

landsurfer
Posts: 4998
Joined: 27 Oct 2012, 9:13pm
Location: Rotherham

Re: Inverness and North

Postby landsurfer » 19 Jul 2017, 3:52pm

Just remember ....

"Don't pay the ferryman, until he gets you to the other side"

Chris de Burgh.



:lol:
It's just like that, it's just the way it is.
The road goes on forever.

bikepacker
Posts: 1980
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:08pm
Location: Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: Inverness and North

Postby bikepacker » 19 Jul 2017, 7:19pm

captain offensive wrote: how rough is the track to CW? I was working on the basis that I might leave any bags containing overnight gear etc the other side of the ferry so that I'm only carrying what I need and then hopefully should be able to do the ride to the lighthouse in about an hour each way but wasn't sure if that was being optimistic if the surface is v poor. I'm going to try contacting the ferry man in the next few days for advice - would there be a time I'd need to be there by if I tried to add CW in after riding up from Lairg.


Last time I went over to CW two years ago I took the minibus from the ferry to the lighthouse because of the bad state of the road. Four years ago I took my bike over and it took me about 90 minutes to cycle there dodging huge potholes and very bad surface. Probably took longer getting back as my body started to ache with all the bouncing around. If I do ever cycle it again It will be on a suspension bike.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

captain offensive
Posts: 140
Joined: 22 Oct 2014, 8:36am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby captain offensive » 19 Jul 2017, 9:09pm

Ah. Not the answer I was hoping for but better to be fore warned! :-)

bogmyrtle
Posts: 899
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby bogmyrtle » 19 Jul 2017, 10:38pm

It's been announced that a nine mile stretch of the A836 will be subject to closures over the next year when materials are being removed from Dounreay. No dates or times have been given for the closures.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

Moonbeam
Posts: 9
Joined: 6 Aug 2017, 10:06am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby Moonbeam » 6 Aug 2017, 10:53am

You could cut back to the Struie after the Cromarty crossing, the roads on the alternative route via Muir of Ord are quite busy. Plus, you could stop at Chanonry Point on the Black Isle to do some dolphin watching!

The road from Dounreay to Scrabster is being used to shift nuclear waste. There is a back road so this won't prevent any travel, but the preferred cycle route along the back will get busier during the 'rush hour' traffic for Dounreay.

A wee saunter round Loch Calder would take you away from most of that if necessary, and depending in your timings a snack in Castletown or the hotel at Dunnet would allow you to stay on the back roads rather than going into Thurso, which is a nice wee town but not compulsory viewing. Leave yourself time to walk down onto Dunnet Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand with an exceptional dune system. On going to Dunnet Head it is worth it to take a look up some of the minor roads, Dunnet having a lovely wee pier at Dwarick, and a decent view from up by the Northern Gate. Heading east from Brough, after Dunnet Head itself, you can go the other side of the loch and there is an old mill and harbour.

As mentioned before, the NC500 is increasing vehicular traffic along its route. Be aware you may encounter some daft driving. Stay off it where possible would be my plan.

ambodach
Posts: 849
Joined: 15 Mar 2011, 6:45pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby ambodach » 6 Aug 2017, 7:18pm

Not really read this thread before but can hardly believe some of it. You are not going to Outer Mongolia but just the northern parts of Scotland. As a young teenager I toured the whole of this area before there was more than the occasional phone box and nobody had invented anything like the North Coast 500. You are more likely now to complain about overcrowding which is the main reason I have abandoned any idea of touring there now. My ancestors came from this area which is originally why I went there so often,

captain offensive
Posts: 140
Joined: 22 Oct 2014, 8:36am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby captain offensive » 7 Aug 2017, 9:05am

Moonbeam - Many thanks for the tips. If I do make the Cromarty ferry I'll probably pass on the cut back to Struie as I'll probably have enough miles under the belt on that day; but if the legs are feelign good and the wind is favourable I'll bear that in mind. Chanonry Point sounds like a great tip though; not far off the route and should be a nice place for a first break of the day so cheers for that.

I'll keep the Loch Calder tip in the locker as well - looks nice. Again it might just be a few miles too far extra but certainly if the main road is closed and lots of traffic on the cycle route I'll head that way. I'll check out Dunnet Beach and Dwarick Pier as a little diversion on the Dunnets Head diversion; my planned route does already take me past the mill and harbour past Brough so I'll certainly look forward to that. [I see the OS map also has a Sheep Dip marked there as well; something to look forward to!].

As for daft driving; I'm used to riding around the doddery old holidaymakers in Eastbourne; I'm sure that's good practice :-)

Ambodach - thanks the assurance. I guess it the usual issue of what's known/unknown and everything is relative. I'll let you know just how crowded I find it now :-)

Cheers all

ambodach
Posts: 849
Joined: 15 Mar 2011, 6:45pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby ambodach » 7 Aug 2017, 10:21am

On a more positive note from me I would say that moonbeam has it all spot on.

captain offensive
Posts: 140
Joined: 22 Oct 2014, 8:36am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby captain offensive » 7 Aug 2017, 10:39am

ambodach wrote:On a more positive note from me I would say that moonbeam has it all spot on.


:-) I'm certanly being positive - can't wait for the off; on the train north on Sunday

tim_f
Posts: 245
Joined: 12 Oct 2009, 10:37pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby tim_f » 7 Aug 2017, 12:53pm

Tim - how rough is the track to CW? I was working on the basis that I might leave any bags containing overnight gear etc the other side of the ferry so that I'm only carrying what I need and then hopefully should be able to do the ride to the lighthouse in about an hour each way but wasn't sure if that was being optimistic if the surface is v poor. I'm going to try contacting the ferry man in the next few days for advice - would there be a time I'd need to be there by if I tried to add CW in after riding up from Lairg.


The track varies, some is fine and some has broken surface and pot holes. Unless you are on a mountain bike 80 minutes is a more realistic time than 60 minutes.

I think you would be hard pressed to do it in an hour.

Unless you start from Lairg at first light you would be hard pressed to get their earlier enough to do the trip in the afternoon, but the ferry times are dependent on the tide.

The ferry / bus work on a 3 hour cycle starting about 9:30. So 2nd trip of the day would be about 12:30. If you go on 2nd trip and have an issue might miss the return trip on the ferry.

But actual timetable will depend on tides, as if the water is too low the ferry man can not get across.

captain offensive
Posts: 140
Joined: 22 Oct 2014, 8:36am

Re: Inverness and North

Postby captain offensive » 7 Aug 2017, 2:11pm

Thanks TIm - thats' s handy info. 80 minutes sounds reasonable; I guess I'd thought the trips were a bit more throughout the day rather than just once or twice a day. I'd certainly be doing well if I made it there by 12:30 ;-) It might have the be the following morning - but that's cool

tim_f
Posts: 245
Joined: 12 Oct 2009, 10:37pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby tim_f » 7 Aug 2017, 6:18pm

You might be lucky and it might be a day when tides and demand mean there are three trips a day, or two trips with the 1st one significantly later than 9:30. It all depends...

Plus there are two sizes of boat which is used depends on the tide, and the boat capacity does not map on to bus capacity one to one.

If there are more people than one minibus load than both minibuses may make the trip, so that means the next trip will not be for 3 hours, But if only enough people for one minibus, the 2nd minibus might not be in step.

So many variables, you can just have to see how it goes on the day.

Dawesboi
Posts: 29
Joined: 13 Mar 2017, 9:37pm

Re: Inverness and North

Postby Dawesboi » 8 Aug 2017, 7:30am

The road on the north side of the Dornoch Firth is very pleasant- pretty quiet, too, as it has been effectively bypassed by the bridge. Struie road then Ardgay/Bonar/Dornoch would be my choice.