Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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McVouty
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Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby McVouty » 5 Oct 2013, 9:53pm

Any route advice for a trip from Gretna to John o' Groats, on road bikes with a support car, covering about 50 miles a day but avoiding the A9 and the A82 as far as possible?

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 10:17am

hi

I've advised a few people of this of road avoidance trick - come up through the borders, the quiet country roads though Biggar and Lanark, drop onto the a73 Clyde valley road, and when you get to Chatelherault castle, bike track all the way to end of Strathclyde Loch. Take A725 for 1 mile to Blantyre, straight along Glasgow road till you see turn off for Newton railway station. 100 yards past the station, past the roundabout on your right, another bike track.

From there, there's excellent bike track all the way through Glasgow, to Erskine bridge, where it continue on till Balloch and then onto Tarbet. Total off A roads: 47 miles.

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 10:22am

From there, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Fort William up Loch Ness to Black Isle and on.

The A9 is horrorshow, any time of the day. The A82 only really bad peak hours. 6-9am very quiet and same again after 4pm.
Outside of public holidays and July/August its really quite thin on traffic, but id try and ride it after 4pm, super quiet in the evenings.

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 10:26am

Send your support car for a well earned rest at Newton station - its nearly 40 miles of idyllic river and loch riding with good surfaces. I used to commute a fair bit of it, I never punctured in 3 years!

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Mick F
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby Mick F » 6 Oct 2013, 10:35am

Leave Edinburgh on the Old A90 and cross the Forth Road Bridge to Perth through Inverkeithing and Kelty.
Head up the Old A9 to Inverness.
Cross the Kessock bridge on the left behind the barrier then turn immediately left following the north side of the Beauly Firth and turn through Muir of Ord and Dingwall, then Evanton, Alness, Invergordon and Tain and cross the Dornoch Firth. By the time you are north of there, the A9 is ok all the way.

Other than that, from Tain head for Bonar Bridge and north through Lairg to Tongue, then east to JOG.



Forget the A82.
Mick F. Cornwall

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 10:53am

I have to disagree. Three cycling road deaths on the A9 in the last 12 months, definitely the busiest and most dangerous route in Scotland. I dont know any Scots who would voluntarily choose it over the A82. The section from Dalwhinnie north is just a constant nerve jangling rush of juggernauts. Shudder!

irc
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby irc » 6 Oct 2013, 10:59am

bates51 wrote:Outside of public holidays and July/August its really quite thin on traffic, but id try and ride it after 4pm, super quiet in the evenings.


I disagree. Weekday May traffic flows are 2/3 those of weekday August flows. Even August weekend traffic flows are only double those of weekdays in May. The A82 is busy from morning until late evening. It is the main trunk route from west central Scotland to the highlands after all.

http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/fil ... rch_06.pdf

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 11:16am

I ride this route from Tarbet to Fort William probably once every two weeks, May to November. Early in the morning you are unlikely to find much in the way of traffic at all. Up until 8.30am anyway. I tend to ride it in the early evening between 4.30pm and 8pm. Nearly all the traffic is going southbound, maybe two dozen cars an hour northbound in the evenings, quieter still outside of July/August.

If you can hold off your Jogle till mid/end September, the tourist trade Is pretty much petered out by then. October is generally a lovely month in Scotland, (17 degrees today and sunny, forecast dry, apart from monday for next five days), that would be my first choice of the calendar.

July and early/mid August best avoided. I ride these roads regularly, and I wouldnt go near the A9 on pain of death!

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 11:21am

Of course if you dont mind half a dozen forty wheelers screaming by you every minute of the day, by all means ride the A9, you wont see one authentic bit of the Highlands though ;)

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 11:24am

Riding through Edinburgh on a weekday is not for the faint hearted...

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Mick F
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby Mick F » 6 Oct 2013, 11:57am

bates51 wrote:I have to disagree. Three cycling road deaths on the A9 in the last 12 months.
Where?
Up through Helmsdale or Golspie?
...... or on the main A9 up to Inverness or over Black Isle?

As I said, forget the A82.
Having lived up there, I know what it's like.
Mick F. Cornwall

bates51
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby bates51 » 6 Oct 2013, 3:23pm

Having had the misfortune to ride on both the Perth to Inverness sections of the A9 and the Black Isle, I can only say that 40 wheeler juggernauts are the bulk of the heavy rolling daytime traffic on it. Its a horrific road. I ride the A82 at least twice a month and can confirm there is at le ast 50% less traffic on it and so few 40 wheelers you could count them on one hand, per hour.

The only trouble with the A82 is caravans July/August. I've ridden 95% of the roads in Scotland the past 30 years. Fort William to Inverness is quite tranquil and serene.

Forget the A9. Unless you have nerves of steel and a masochistic bent.

One word to describe it: frightening.

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Mick F
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby Mick F » 6 Oct 2013, 3:43pm

Who said anything about the A9 there?
Not me.

Old A9 is ok.

I said:
Mick F wrote:Leave Edinburgh on the Old A90 and cross the Forth Road Bridge to Perth through Inverkeithing and Kelty.
Head up the Old A9 to Inverness.
Cross the Kessock bridge on the left behind the barrier then turn immediately left following the north side of the Beauly Firth and turn through Muir of Ord and Dingwall, then Evanton, Alness, Invergordon and Tain and cross the Dornoch Firth. By the time you are north of there, the A9 is ok all the way.
The Old A9 is fine.
It's still there, and I remember it well from driving it in the 70s and 80s.

It's still there, and I remember cycling it in 1994, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Has anything changed since 2010?
Mick F. Cornwall

mediumbird
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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby mediumbird » 6 Oct 2013, 3:46pm

In our LeJog in June of this year, we did Forth Road bridge and bike routes to Perth and then the Sustrans route that follows the A9 and back roads, It was absolutely fine and much more preferable to the major road. We chose that instead of the A82 as I know what the A82 is like and did not want to use it-much more preferable to keep off the twisty roads competing with big juggernauts, caravans and campervans!

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Re: Gretna to JoG avoiding A9 and A82

Postby mediumbird » 6 Oct 2013, 3:48pm

PS-we also chose Bonar Bridge, Bettyhill and across the top over the direct route up the A9. Much more scenic and pleasurable-hardly any traffic once you get up there......