Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
subfusk
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Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby subfusk » 6 Nov 2012, 3:13pm

After a fantastic time cycling the Outer Hebrides end to end this year I have got the island bug and am now planning to cycle the National Route 1 from Aberdeen via the Orkneys to Norwick in the Shetlands in May 2013. I will be traveling solo on a Bromton, much easier for transport and it amuses people to see an old boy squeek by on a big barbie. Any advice on the route particulary some of the early rail track sections would be most appreciated. Also accomodation and anything thing else that you may feel worth sharing to help make my trip a success.

Russcoles
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Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby Russcoles » 7 Nov 2012, 8:15pm

I did a small bit of NCN 1 from Tain to Dingwall this year whilst doing JOG to Bristol. It was very pleasant but the section where it runs along the B817 is a really poor bit of cycle path in that it keeps crossing the road. I just used the road as it was not terribly busy or fast.

irc
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby irc » 7 Nov 2012, 8:34pm

I used a fair bit of NCN1 between Inverness and Aberdeen last year. Well signposted. The old railway section north of Aberdeen had a pretty good surface. No problems for my 700x32mms. If you are camping there is an excellent council run camp site in Turrif. Close to the town centre, cheap, excellent showers and laundry facilities.

http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/caravan ... urriff.asp

Jon Lucas
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby Jon Lucas » 8 Nov 2012, 8:42am

I have cycled this in the opposite direction, though it was about 10 years ago. A group of us spent a week cycling in the Shetlands, then went over to Orkney, and then two us cycled south from Thurso through Inverness to Aberdeen.

If you want to cycle to the northernmost point in Shetland, I would suggest you cycle to Herma Ness, which is marginally further north than Norwick, and which has the most fantastic cliffs, which are completely covered in sea birds. Watching gannets, puffins etc wheeling around just a few feet away is an experience not to be missed, though I know they have had population crashes there in the last few years.

Shetland is wonderful for cycling, with lovely quiet roads, wild, often bleak countryside and lots of wildlife, but be prepared for strong winds. There's a great cafe on Yell where the ferry to Unst leaves from, and almost nothing else on the whole island! Unst is civilisation by comparison.

Orkney is greener and less demanding cycling, but also beautiful, with two lovely towns to explore as well as all the islands.

From Thurso we cycled down Strathnaver to the Crask Inn and via the Cromarty ferry down the coast to Inverness. There are some hideous main roads leading out of Inverness which I would definitely avoid, but from there we went over the famous mountain road from Grantown to Tomintoul and Cockbridge via the Lecht, a great road for views if you enjoy the climbs, then along Deeside to Aberdeen. I would certainly recommend this route.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby Tigerbiten » 8 Nov 2012, 2:03pm

I've cycled up that way on my recumbent trike for the last three years and done most of that route north of Inverness.

You want the west side of the bridge out of Inverness to pick up the cycle track alongside the A9. The only fiddly bit is just after you cross under the carriageway.
Go via the Black Isle and Nigg ferry not the A9. The ferry was running once every half hour last year. Its a much nicer route.
Turn left at Altnaharra and go alongside Lock Naver, unless you want to use the YHA at Tounge. It a flatter route.
If you want a very quite route then turn left again Syre to end up going down Strath Halladale. Adds around 10 miles to route.

Ferries to Orkneys are easy. Just pick which one you want to use.
Two years ago the ferry to Shetland ran every other day and left around 11 pm. You need some form of ID to use this ferry.
Roads in the Shetland are good, but its mostly steady climbs and decents. It only gets silly steep at the end.

I mostly camp on my trips so don't know of many B&B's/Hostles.
There was one towards the bottom of Strath Halladale three years ago and one at Uynasound on Unst two years ago.

Luck ............. :D

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pjclinch
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby pjclinch » 8 Nov 2012, 2:24pm

A wee while ago now, but we have a tour diary from the Aberdeen to Thurso part which you can see http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/tourdunord.htm and is probably still fairly relevant.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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andrew_s
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby andrew_s » 8 Nov 2012, 3:07pm

Tigerbiten wrote:Turn right at Altnaharra and go alongside Lock Naver, unless you want to use the YHA at Tounge. It a flatter route.
If you want a very quite route then turn right again Syre to end up going down Strath Halladale. Adds around 10 miles to route.


In Shetland, the Hermaness puffins are a couple of miles walk from the end of the road, and there was (in 2007) a pub at Mid-Yell, and shops at Mid-Yell and Burravoe

gloomyandy
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Re: Abredeen to Norwick in the Shetlands

Postby gloomyandy » 8 Nov 2012, 6:23pm

Have not used them, but I seem to remember that Shetland has a number of "camping barns" called Bods which you may find of use:
http://www.camping-bods.co.uk/
Fantastic islands and very good roads, the one that crosses the main runway of the airport at Sumburgh is particularly odd!

Have fun

Andy