My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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Paulatic
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Paulatic » 26 Aug 2018, 9:37am

stephenjlynch wrote:
Paulatic wrote:
stephenjlynch wrote:My friend and I are doing LEJOG in mid April next year. We had a route planned but have modified certain aspects of it based on advice on the forum.

One question I have is from Inverness northwards on the A9... your route takes you via Dingwall, Helmsdale to JOG. We were looking at Lairg, Tongue and Thurso with a super short and easy ride from Thurso to JOG. We really want to avoid the busy roads which is why we chose this route.

Is the A9 north of Inverness a very busy route or unfriendly to cyclists? Or any other reason why we shouldn't go via A9?

Thanks!

Isn’t that NCN route 1 all the way?


The route through Lairg, Tongue and Thurso is NCN 1 which is why we chose it - but wouldn't mind shaving a few miles off if A9 through Dingwall and Helmsdale is cycle friendly.


Ah yes, I hadn’t woken up properly :D
We found it all right, avoiding much of the A9 as far as Tain and the traffic thins the further north you go.
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https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

stephenjlynch
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby stephenjlynch » 26 Aug 2018, 10:10am

Paulatic wrote:
stephenjlynch wrote:
Paulatic wrote:Isn’t that NCN route 1 all the way?


The route through Lairg, Tongue and Thurso is NCN 1 which is why we chose it - but wouldn't mind shaving a few miles off if A9 through Dingwall and Helmsdale is cycle friendly.


Ah yes, I hadn’t woken up properly :D
We found it all right, avoiding much of the A9 as far as Tain and the traffic thins the further north you go.


No worries :D I've been up for hours due to a busy 16 month old daughter... flagging now.

Thanks for the advice - much appreciated.

It's just a toss up between some lovely cycling on NCN 1 and a quicker (possibly not as nice) route on the A9. I'll mull it over with (another) a coffee.

shadwellrhino
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby shadwellrhino » 26 Aug 2018, 11:51am

stephenjlynch wrote:My friend and I are doing LEJOG in mid April next year. We had a route planned but have modified certain aspects of it based on advice on the forum.

One question I have is from Inverness northwards on the A9... your route takes you via Dingwall, Helmsdale to JOG. We were looking at Lairg, Tongue and Thurso with a super short and easy ride from Thurso to JOG. We really want to avoid the busy roads which is why we chose this route.

Is the A9 north of Inverness a very busy route or unfriendly to cyclists? Or any other reason why we shouldn't go via A9?

Thanks!


I don't recall any issues with the A9 north of Inverness. It was fairly quiet. The few lorries I encountered all gave me a wide berth (I'm sure that bright clothing and a rear light helps). I wouldn't hesitate to use this route again.

stephenjlynch
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby stephenjlynch » 26 Aug 2018, 12:06pm

shadwellrhino wrote:
stephenjlynch wrote:My friend and I are doing LEJOG in mid April next year. We had a route planned but have modified certain aspects of it based on advice on the forum.

One question I have is from Inverness northwards on the A9... your route takes you via Dingwall, Helmsdale to JOG. We were looking at Lairg, Tongue and Thurso with a super short and easy ride from Thurso to JOG. We really want to avoid the busy roads which is why we chose this route.

Is the A9 north of Inverness a very busy route or unfriendly to cyclists? Or any other reason why we shouldn't go via A9?

Thanks!


I don't recall any issues with the A9 north of Inverness. It was fairly quiet. The few lorries I encountered all gave me a wide berth (I'm sure that bright clothing and a rear light helps). I wouldn't hesitate to use this route again.


Thankyou - that's really useful. I think we'll do the A9 route in order to reduce the time and distance. Our route seems quite similar to yours with a few exceptions - we're going through Glasgow - Dumbarton - Bulloch - Callander etc.

shadwellrhino
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby shadwellrhino » 26 Aug 2018, 12:32pm

stephenjlynch wrote:
shadwellrhino wrote:
stephenjlynch wrote:My friend and I are doing LEJOG in mid April next year. We had a route planned but have modified certain aspects of it based on advice on the forum.

One question I have is from Inverness northwards on the A9... your route takes you via Dingwall, Helmsdale to JOG. We were looking at Lairg, Tongue and Thurso with a super short and easy ride from Thurso to JOG. We really want to avoid the busy roads which is why we chose this route.

Is the A9 north of Inverness a very busy route or unfriendly to cyclists? Or any other reason why we shouldn't go via A9?

Thanks!


I don't recall any issues with the A9 north of Inverness. It was fairly quiet. The few lorries I encountered all gave me a wide berth (I'm sure that bright clothing and a rear light helps). I wouldn't hesitate to use this route again.


Thankyou - that's really useful. I think we'll do the A9 route in order to reduce the time and distance. Our route seems quite similar to yours with a few exceptions - we're going through Glasgow - Dumbarton - Bulloch - Callander etc.


I chose the A9 route for the same reasons as you. Also I seem to recall that this route was more likely to have places to find food and drink - these are quite a rarity away from urban areas in Scotland, so keep well stocked up! I think there are possibly more accommodation options on this route.

Best of luck!

FasterFerret
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby FasterFerret » 26 Aug 2018, 1:43pm

I did it the other way JOGLE not LEJOG.

I got a taxi from Inverness to JOG so I have a small insight into the A9, albeit from inside a car. Personally, I am glad I didn't choose to cycle it.

The route I took was JOG to Bettyhill on the NCN1 (apart from a dogleg to Dunnet Head). Then down through Skelpick and Syre alongside Loch Naver, which was a truly beautiful route, then back on the NCN1 over Crask (if going this way definitely stop at the Crask Inn for Banana Cake), through Lairg, to my first night in Ardgay.

To get from Ardgay/Boanar Bridge to Inverness I went 'over the top' through Sittenham/Dalnavie before meeting NCN1 again into Dingwall. Into Inverness via Muir of Ord, Beauly, Lentran, Bunchrew.

All of that section was good traffic wise, either very quiet (top bit) or with very wide passing cars/lorries.

Not the shortest or flatest route, but glad I went that way rather than banging straight up the A9.

As with all these things, really depends on where all these things sit on your sliding scale. If it's about 'just getting there' (which after 800 miles it might well be) then direct might be the best option. If it is all about the scenery and riding experience and you still have a lot of riding left in your legs then there are probably more pleasant routes.

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Paulatic
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Paulatic » 26 Aug 2018, 6:31pm

Using IoS satellite view I’ve counted approx 25 vehicles travelling in both directions on the A9 between Golspie and Brora just over 5 mls. Obviously we don’t know what time of day that was. All I can tell is it’s Spring and it’s sunny.
I would say it was busier than that on July5th this year but not frightening.
Closer to Inverness is a different story but easily avoided.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

shadwellrhino
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby shadwellrhino » 26 Aug 2018, 9:00pm

For me. the ride was mainly about getting safely from one end to the other. Scenery would be a bonus. I agree that if you have the time and inclination, then coming off the A9 is probably a good idea. However....I think there is a little more civilisation (food and drink, and accommodation) along the coast road. There isn't a right or wrong way - just what's best for each of us as individuals.

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Mick F
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Mick F » 27 Aug 2018, 9:18am

A9 north of Inverness.

The Kessock Bridge is best done on the western side behind the barriers.
After crossing the bridge, turn off left (cycles allowed) and head down Old Craigton Road hill to the water's edge and follow the road west.
This will take you along Main Street North Kessock.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@57.50131 ... 2!1b1!2i49

Follow that to Muir of Ord and join the Old A9 turning north. Then Maryburgh, Dingwall, Ardlui, Evanton, Alness and go through Invergordon to join the A9.

All this, will keep you away from the fast traffic over The Black Isle and Tore roundabout.

Highly recommended.
Mick F. Cornwall

Chat Noir
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Chat Noir » 27 Aug 2018, 10:44am

There are several ways to leave Inverness. You can go west to Beauly and up to Muir of Ord, perhaps a bit longer than taking the bridge but all fine (start of the NC500 route). Mick’s route probably the quietest to get to Muir of Ord but you might want to follow the NCR1 all the way to Tain from Alness, mostly through the woods. I like the ferry from Cromarty to Nigg, seems to be working again, pick up the route from North Kessock to Cromarty, then follow through to Tain. The other route is to pick up the B9176 at Alness and go up and over to Bonar Bridge. Pretty quiet, beautiful views, often other cyclists around but does then suggest you follow north through Lairg, past the Crask Inn and Altnaharra, up to Bettyhill. I have to declare a bias: the road from Lairg to Bettyhill one of my favourites, flowing, quiet, a feeling of utter remoteness. It is a bit hilly from Bettyhill, but no more than using the A9, just a few more miles. In terms of food supplies, these days I find there are many shops, cafes and fuel stations selling decent foodstuffs, coffee, etc, not the problem it was even just a few years ago.
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FasterFerret
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby FasterFerret » 31 Aug 2018, 10:37am

Chat Noir wrote:The other route is to pick up the B9176 at Alness and go up and over to Bonar Bridge. Pretty quiet, beautiful views, often other cyclists around but does then suggest you follow north through Lairg, past the Crask Inn and Altnaharra, up to Bettyhill. I have to declare a bias: the road from Lairg to Bettyhill one of my favourites, flowing, quiet, a feeling of utter remoteness. It is a bit hilly from Bettyhill, but no more than using the A9, just a few more miles. In terms of food supplies, these days I find there are many shops, cafes and fuel stations selling decent foodstuffs, coffee, etc, not the problem it was even just a few years ago.


+1 for this!

Although from what I remember there was not a great deal between Lairg and Bettyhill - Crask Inn (closed on Tuesday's I think), Altnaharra Hotel, Caravan Club site on the side of Loch Naver?

I planned/knew that I would get from Bettyhill to Crask in one section, so I guess I wasn't really looking out for other options. They might be there and I just didn't see them. But for me that was part of the attraction, the remoteness and views are amazing.

On the A386 I never felt too far away from some form of provisions and has been said elsewhere on this forum there seem to be lots of B&Bs on that section that you won't find listed on Booking.com.

stephenjlynch
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby stephenjlynch » 31 Aug 2018, 7:38pm

Mick F wrote:A9 north of Inverness.

The Kessock Bridge is best done on the western side behind the barriers.
After crossing the bridge, turn off left (cycles allowed) and head down Old Craigton Road hill to the water's edge and follow the road west.
This will take you along Main Street North Kessock.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@57.50131 ... 2!1b1!2i49

Follow that to Muir of Ord and join the Old A9 turning north. Then Maryburgh, Dingwall, Ardlui, Evanton, Alness and go through Invergordon to join the A9.

All this, will keep you away from the fast traffic over The Black Isle and Tore roundabout.

Highly recommended.


That looks like a gorgeous route to Dingwall (our next stop after Kingussie) - route duly amended - thanks! Think we're almost done with the route now - few tweaks here and there and we'll post it up this weekend for everyone's much valued opinion.

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Paulatic
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Paulatic » 1 Sep 2018, 9:30am

Paulatic wrote:Using IoS satellite view I’ve counted approx 25 vehicles travelling in both directions on the A9 between Golspie and Brora just over 5 mls. Obviously we don’t know what time of day that was. All I can tell is it’s Spring and it’s sunny.
I would say it was busier than that on July5th this year but not frightening.
Closer to Inverness is a different story but easily avoided.


This is someone else’s experience of the A9 around that area.
https://twitter.com/HI_Voices/status/10 ... 64417?s=20
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

Igobybike
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby Igobybike » 3 Sep 2018, 5:45pm

I have just cycled the A9 from Tain to Helmsdale. From Inverness as far as Tain there is a cycle friendly route to avoid it, but no further it seems. At first there is a 'shoulder' for cyclists to cycle on, but once over the Dornoch Firth bridge this soon disappears. Then you are on a fast, single-carriageway in each direction road, the carriageway sometimes being wide, sometimes narrow, sometimes open straight road with good sight lines for drivers, sometimes tightly curved and not. It is not 'busy' if you go by volume of traffic, but the traffic there is can be very fast, and some drivers, a minority but too many, think it's ok to pass within inches at speed.

In short, it's been the worst road for cycling so far. I've been on more cycle-friendly dual carriageway than this -IMO. If I ever do it another time I'll avoid it.

John100
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Re: My 16 Day LeJog May / June 2017

Postby John100 » 3 Sep 2018, 6:33pm

Agree entirely with Igobybike. Cycled this in early July and I felt if I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time I'm going to get squashed. Some drivers seem to want to pass you so close so as to shave your legs for you.