Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

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Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby sjl » 31 Aug 2014, 9:38pm


Have some free time and have a hankering for a short Scottish tour travelling light. My plan is to take the sleeper up to Inverness on the Sunday night and go back down from Glasgow the Friday after. Initial thoughts are

Day 1 Inverness -> Kyle of Lochalsh 80 miles
Day 2 A loop round Skye - 80 miles
Armadale -> Mallaig ferry
Day 3 Mallaig -> Oban 86 miles (YHS or B&B)
Day 4 = Oban -> Tarbert -> Claonaig -> (ferry) Lochranza (stay in YHS) 65 miles
Day 5 - Lochranza -> Brodick -> (ferry) Ardrossan -> Kilmarnock 50 miles (visit my Mum before heading up to Glasgow for the sleeper)

Definitely want to stay in Oban and Lochranza but unsure about overnights around Skye? Would appreciate advice on good places to stay and a good loop around Skye.

Planning to travel light with Carradice Barley saddlebag on the back and Carradice zipped roll up front on lightweight road bike, am thinking

# wearing
Bib Shorts
s/s jersey

# front zipped roll bag
arm warmers
leg warmers

# barley saddlebag - this will be a squeeze
spare socks
lightweight trousers (unzip to shorts)
long sleeve thin thermal vest
lightweight fleece jacket
waterproof jacket
waterproof trousers

Suggestions welcomed

Many thanks


phil parker
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Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby phil parker » 2 Sep 2014, 9:24pm

I've done all of the roads you will be cycling on at some stage or other, but I was cycle-camping, however I know Skye fairly well. You won't be able to circumnavigate Skye as it will be much longer than 80 miles, so you route will be fairly restricted. There is a nice pub with a bunk house in Carbost, I think there is also some kind of 'bunk' at the Slighachan as well, it would be worth checking. Plenty of accommodation in Portree,of course.

I stayed at the campsite at Lochranza, but there is other accommodation as well as the Youth Hostel, but if you can get booked in there, it looks very nice!

There is a forumite based on Skye who might be able to advise better than me!

Edit: looking at your schedule you would be better off completing a simple loop on Skye and getting the ferry to Mallaig and getting some accommodation there. Again, I spent the night in a campsite near Mallaig, so can't advise where to stay, but there are plenty of B&B's.

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Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby jamesgilbert » 2 Sep 2014, 9:50pm

I stayed in the Backpackers Lodge in Mallaig in 2012, very basic but okay for one night - bunk beds, lockers and a communal kitchen area. Although if you're not on too tight a budget, there must be nicer places nearby!

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Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby sjl » 2 Sep 2014, 11:41pm

Thanks for the replies - i have booked into broadfoot youth hostel on skye and a b&b in Mallaig - still need to decide on what loop to do on skye

Have also booked b&b's for oban and lochranza - will be nicer for not much more money

Have got all my stuff organised into saddlebag and drybag for rack so quite pleased to have kept the luggage weight down to make the miles easier

And sleepers all booked - starting to get excited by it all now!

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Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby keithg » 3 Sep 2014, 7:45pm

Personally, in September, I'd ditch the overtrousers and just endure wet legs in the likely event of rain. Hate riding in them.
I tend to take a lightweight pair of "flip-flops" (OK sandals if you prefer!) so you can dry out your shoes in the evening.
Do you need a fleece to wear in the evening? You could get away with a T shirt and your arm warmers or a long sleeve base layer and a T shirt.
You might need a lightweight towel for the hostels if you want to save a few quid.
Have fun, nice route.

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Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 9:04pm

Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby sjl » 3 Sep 2014, 11:03pm

Agreed on ditching waterproof trousers! Am also definitely taking a light pair of campers for the evenings, nothing worse than being in damp shoes! I have loaded all this onto nike and weight is pretty good so quite pleased with it. Still debating on best route around Skye.

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Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby cheesypeeps » 4 Sep 2014, 12:05pm

I tended to pick up a newspaper at a local shop if it had been raining. Best way to dry out the shoes overnight.
Enjoy and be sure to let us know how it goes.
Ps agree with ditching the waterproof trousers although I'd be keeping the fleece :)
using hovercraft full of eels.

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Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 9:04pm

Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

Postby sjl » 19 Sep 2014, 11:59pm

Job done, 350 miles in 5 days and no rain

Left home on Sunday evening for the 9pm sleeper to inverness which arrived in on time at 8-30 to a chilly but dry Inverness. Took the northerly route to Skye via dingwall and the Cullins(?). Very picturesque country and flat easy riding. Stopped in Strathcarron for a late lunch and. Kyle of. Lochalsh for coffee before arriving at broadfoot YHS after 90 miles. YHS was pretty basic but a good breakfast made up for it.

Second day was a loop to Portree over to the south and back to portree and the Craignure ferry. Quite a hard day and 80 miles chasing a ferry timetable. Scenery on Skye was impressive with big mountains and bleak moors, very beautiful. Over to Mallaig and a very nice B&B to end the day on.

Third day was going to be 80 miles to Oban via FortBill until (over breakfast) i realised i could go down via glenuig, hop on a ferry to Mull (lochaline to fishnish) and then hop back on another ferry from Mull to Oban, only problem was it was 9-30 and the ferry was at 3 and 67 miles away! I decided to go for it and pushed hard through fabulous scenery and two mega passes to climb, what a day! 72 miles. As luck would have it the Oban ferry on Mull was delayed but had a good chat with anither cyclist at the ferry terminal, made it to Oban and a so so B&b by 7pm - very tired

Fourth day was straightforward, oban to lochgilphead, tarbert and the lochranza ferry (60 miles and just one major climb). Lochranza hasnt changed much in 27 years, good b&b and a good meal at the hotel.

Up early today and over lochranza hill to brodick for the ferry to Ardrossan. Rather than head straight to my mums in Kilmarnock i decided to finish with the fairle dalry moor road, another challenging climb, arrived late after 50 miles!

Typing this on the glasgow sleeper back to london

Bike performed perfectly, triple and 30/29 was essential and saddlebag worked well with a couple of dry bags strapped to rack. Baggage weighed in at 6 kilos and i suspect i could pare this down further for next time. I was lucky it didn't rain and weather was very good. I would probably only take one pair of shoes and more cycling jerseys but all in all think i got it just about right.

And i should have brought a map, the garmin and iphone combo worked well but sometimes you cant beat a good old fashioned map!