the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mattheus
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby mattheus » 4 Jun 2019, 9:36am

Oldjohnw wrote:A few years ago an American friend phoned me to say he was "doing yurp" and could we meet up.

Eventually I worked out that he was coming to Europe: 5 capitals in 5 days. That was Yurp sorted.


I think this sort of thing was started by us Brits! Wasn't there a famous TV sketch by someone aournd the Python era (TW3 maybe?),spoofing the coach-trip-round-ever-Euro-capital-in-a-day?

River_rat
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby River_rat » 5 Jun 2019, 3:35pm

mattheus wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:A few years ago an American friend phoned me to say he was "doing yurp" and could we meet up.

Eventually I worked out that he was coming to Europe: 5 capitals in 5 days. That was Yurp sorted.


I think this sort of thing was started by us Brits! Wasn't there a famous TV sketch by someone aournd the Python era (TW3 maybe?),spoofing the coach-trip-round-ever-Euro-capital-in-a-day?


Do you mean this, perchance? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_It%27s_Tuesday,_This_Must_Be_Belgium

RR

mattheus
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby mattheus » 5 Jun 2019, 3:51pm

It might be - my memory is pretty hazy (I never saw the whole thing anyway).

If it is, that's amazing detective work - chapeau!

island girl
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby island girl » 5 Jun 2019, 9:30pm

I cycled the NC500 in August 2016 with a group of friends staying in B&B. We had a great time although the weather was horrendous. We found all the roads, including A roads very doable. The A9 coming south from JOG was fairly busy but had a small hard shoulder for most of the way. At no time did we feel uncomfortable due to the traffic. Just do it, you won't regret it, fabulous.

digitaldog
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Joined: 7 Jun 2018, 11:17am

Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby digitaldog » 7 Jun 2019, 8:59am

island girl wrote:The A9 coming south from JOG was fairly busy but had a small hard shoulder for most of the way. At no time did we feel uncomfortable due to the traffic.


I did about 200 yards of the A9 and felt incredibly uncomfortable. Everyone has a different tolerance to traffic, and it's not something I find fun at all. Ended up doing a 20 mile detour to avoid just a couple of miles of it.

The A9 can be missed completely by coming back inland (I think GCN may have done this?) where the roads are lovely. West and North coast were fine in my experience and the vast majority of tourists very courteous. It's the locals that get impatient.

There are actually very few roads in the far North, so you can't go wrong as long as you avoid the East coast.

I know some miss out JoG but I really quite like the place. There is a sense of being taken back in time there. There are no roads back inland without retracing your steps. However, there is a gravel road via Altnabreac if your bike is up to it. I did it gingerly on 28mm tyres.

jonk
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Joined: 16 Feb 2016, 8:19pm

Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby jonk » 13 Jun 2019, 11:28pm

Long time lurker here but I’ve been inspired to post.

We cycled this route on our tandem in 2017. I nearly cancelled the trip when I was booking a B and B before hand and the woman told me not to bother: “the roads are packed with motor homes. . .you’ll need to cycle at 4am in the morning. . . I’d never let my children cycle on these roads”. That advice became something of a joke refrain as we cycled mile after mile of beautiful scenery with fairly low traffic levels compared to most places I’ve cycled. It was August and it was certainly not busy. Motor homes were not a problem and although there were quite a lot of hire cars around no one was in a hurry, and everyone was considerate. We missed out the John o’Groats section having cycled it before, and went through Forsinard (Europe’s largest peat bog?). This was very, very quiet. Then the last section to Inverness is a typical A road, so not great but a price worth paying for the previous few days I think.

We finished it and would have done it again the next week if we had more holiday! It would be worth checking with locals, but I think it has actually got quieter since the early publicity days.

The fact there are basically no directions to worry about is quite nice too. You can just enjoy the journey and the scenery.

rualexander
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby rualexander » 15 Jul 2019, 11:45pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland- ... s-48989218

Police patrols at the weekend on the NC500 resulted in 70 drivers receiving warnings and 39 given fixed penalty notices or referred to Procurator Fiscal for various offences, speeding, dangerous driving, mobile phone use, careless driving, etc.

jaydm
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Joined: 5 Feb 2019, 5:19pm

the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby jaydm » 6 Aug 2019, 3:00pm

I spent a few days touring around Sutherland a couple of weeks ago. On and off I have been cycle touring around there for 25 years. I have not seen it so busy, the road from Durness to Laxford bridge was particularly unpleasant - so many camper vans! I suppose the rental market has flourished since the 500's inception. I was forced to the side of the single track road by a local who then shouted at me "I live here and you are holding me up!" (I aso live in the Highlands). Unpleasant though this was, I later thought that it must be a hellish inconvenience if as a local, and say you have a doctor's appointment and you are running late. I do not think this excuses road raging on vulnerable road users, but it certainly was a very congested road that afternoon. Has anyone has similiar experiences on the NC500?

whoof
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Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby whoof » 6 Aug 2019, 3:05pm

jaydm wrote:I spent a few days touring around Sutherland a couple of weeks ago. On and off I have been cycle touring around there for 25 years. I have not seen it so busy, the road from Durness to Laxford bridge was particularly unpleasant - so many camper vans! I suppose the rental market has flourished since the 500's inception. I was forced to the side of the single track road by a local who then shouted at me "I live here and you are holding me up!" (I aso live in the Highlands). Unpleasant though this was, I later thought that it must be a hellish inconvenience if as a local, and say you have a doctor's appointment and you are running late. I do not think this excuses road raging on vulnerable road users, but it certainly was a very congested road that afternoon. Has anyone has similiar experiences on the NC500?


Take your pick of Newpaper articles about it.
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019 ... on-protest
It was created to bring tourism and associated income to a quite area. This has happened and it's been found that people bring themselves and their vehicles as well as thier money.

WRT your example "say you have a doctor's appointment and you are running late" then unless some tourist has tied you to the bed then it's probably your fault you are running late.

mattheus
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby mattheus » 6 Aug 2019, 3:15pm

We only just finished discussing this 3 weeks ago!!! :P

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=130259&hilit=nc500&start=30#p1375279

(can admins merge threads on this forum?)

I suspect all the facets of this problem were covered then ...

jaydm
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Joined: 5 Feb 2019, 5:19pm

Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby jaydm » 6 Aug 2019, 3:17pm

"WRT your example "say you have a doctor's appointment and you are running late" then unless some tourist has tied you to the bed then it's probably your fault you are running late."

Thank you. I had worked this part out for myself but I have tried graciously to see it from the other point of view.
Thank you for the links.

jaydm
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Joined: 5 Feb 2019, 5:19pm

Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby jaydm » 6 Aug 2019, 3:18pm

Thank you. I do not visit the touring forum that often. Please close the thread if appropriate. No smileys required.

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feefee8
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Location: Fort William

Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby feefee8 » 6 Aug 2019, 3:23pm

whoof wrote:WRT your example "say you have a doctor's appointment and you are running late" then unless some tourist has tied you to the bed then it's probably your fault you are running late.


Not on the NC500 but it can take up to an hour to get through Fort William in summer. That's not just "running late", it's painful and it does cost businesses money, cause children to be late being picked up at nursery etc. It's not that consistent either so giving yourself an extra hour to travel something which normally takes 10 minutes can also lead to a great deal of frustration and wasted time frankly.

Also agree that locals shouldn't rage on vulnerable road users, regardless of their frustration.

Lookrider
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Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby Lookrider » 10 Aug 2019, 10:24pm

Do you know the altnaharra area enough to recommend somewhere for food. ..we are staying overnight at the altnaharra hotel but it appears they are exploiting the cyclists on the 500 and charging an awful lot of money for not a lot of food

phil parker
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Re: the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Postby phil parker » 12 Aug 2019, 9:19pm

jaydm wrote:Has anyone has similiar experiences on the NC500?


I was perhaps fortunate, from what I read, to complete the NC500 (with Orkney and Shetland included) 3&1/2 years ago and although it was 'picking up' and getting popular, there were also very long, quiet stretches of road and no discontent with tourists. It saddens me to hear that the locals have grown weary of the 'intrusion'!