A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
AaronR
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A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby AaronR » 22 Jul 2014, 5:07pm

As title really - anyone used the NCN route from Inverness down (or up) that shadows the A9 between Inverness and Pitlochry? Is that stretch of the A9 cycle friendly?

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Mick F
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby Mick F » 22 Jul 2014, 5:48pm

My knowledge is old knowledge, but if I was up that way again, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.

The good thing - as far as I'm concerned - is that you can get onto the A9 as and when you want. The downhills on the A9 are fast and smooth, and if you're heading south, you can freewheel for 20miles. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

AaronR
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby AaronR » 22 Jul 2014, 6:16pm

So is that a thumbs up for the A9, or for the NCN route that (almost) matches it? Just read my question again and realised how vague it is :)

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Mick F
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby Mick F » 22 Jul 2014, 8:24pm

I understand that the Old A9 (which forms most of the cycle track) has been suffering over the last couple of years. It was ok for me on my JOGLE in May/June 2010.

The track twists this way and that up at the top of Drumochter and you go through gates and over little bridges. I managed fine. I rode it both ways in 2006 and heading north in 2008 as well. Much of the route is on the Old A9.

Personally, I wouldn't use the alternative route A82 Glasgow/Ft William as the road is too busy.
Mick F. Cornwall

AaronR
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby AaronR » 22 Jul 2014, 9:57pm

Thanks - Had picked my route down as Beauly - Pitlochry (from Google Maps about 98 miles) and then having an easy day the next day, 60 miles into Stirling and a night in the Travelodge :)

Unless I come across some major blanks I am now happily churning out a days riding route with maps, notes etc every other day - once I've got it mapped out I'll post it on here in full and see if I've made any glaring boobs!

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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Jul 2014, 10:05pm

“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

keithg
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby keithg » 23 Jul 2014, 9:27pm

AaronR wrote:As title really - anyone used the NCN route from Inverness down (or up) that shadows the A9 between Inverness and Pitlochry? Is that stretch of the A9 cycle friendly?

If you want to ride fast, then it is OK to ride on the new A9. Its unpleasant though and downright scary on some of the dual carriageway sections where you'll get 70mph close passes. Plenty of folk do it. There are no on-road facilities and it goes through no towns, this was designed into the road to encourage drivers to visit and support the communities nearby.
I'd say many more cyclists stay on NCN7 the Sustrans cycle path which runs "parallel" to the new A9. Its definitely a tour route though but its enjoyable and takes you along riverside old roads, villages where you'll get caffs and shops and some spots have decent views and quite a few traffic free sections where sometimes unfortunately the surface is pretty lamentable (I'm the local Sustrans ranger, for my sins, so I know only too well but a shed load of money has been promised to sort this out when the A9 is dualled in the next decade).
If you want to enjoy the ride IMHO ride NCN7 for all its faults and pleasures, if you want to speed through the highlands use the A9. The road is MUCH quieter before 8am and after 7pm which is when I do sometimes use it myself if I'm in a hurry but always with gritted teeth!
You can however often dip between road and bike track if you want.
Have fun, let us know how you got on in this section and what your impressions are, I'd be genuinely interested.#
K

AaronR
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby AaronR » 23 Jul 2014, 9:47pm

Thanks Keith

Route is still very much in the planning stage at the moment, and as I've had a very mixed responses about the A9 I can leave the fine details until later, especially as the two alternatives are so close together

The route so far is..

Day 1 - Southampton to Inverness, overnight on coach

Day 2 - Inverness to Wick on train, ride to JOG, camp overnight

Day 3 - Jog to Grummore

Day 4 - Grummore to Beauly

Day 5 - Beauly to Pitlochry

Day 6 - Pitlochry to Stirling

Day 6 is an easy 55-60 miles to get into Stirling and the Travelodge, recharge batteries, bath, go out for a big meal etc

Using Google maps at the moment to plan route, but referencing it against NCN routes so at a later date I can incorporate them where possible

LindaB
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby LindaB » 23 Jul 2014, 11:27pm

We rode through this area just last month on our LEJOG (June 2014). From Perth we followed NCN 77 and NCN7 to Blair Atholl (abt 6 miles north of Pitlochry).
then NCN 7 up Druochter and on to Kingussie, then the B9152 into Carrbridge. From Carrbridge we took NCN 7 again, stopping at Clava Cairns and Culloden Battlefield (both highly recommended!), Then the B9006 to pick up NCN 7 into Inverness.

Much of this time near the A9, but we were never on it. All was rideable on our tires (25's), but the paths do climb and descend quite a bit more than the road, and are not smooth, though the quality varies. Many small bridges to cross, but all in good condition. I had worried about the path condition after reading this forum, but found it was fine. We weren't on a speedy trip, so were never tempted by the smooth A9; the traffic was very fast! In summary, I wouldn't hesitate to ride these NCN routes again.

The routes (as planned, not as ridden, though they are very close!) are given on each day of my blog: crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2014LEJOG. The part of the ride is covered in Stages 16,17,18.

Have a wonderful trip!

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SimonCelsa
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby SimonCelsa » 24 Jul 2014, 12:57pm

Hello AaronR,

living for half the year in Inverness I have cycled a fair bit on the local NCN routes. My most recent trip saw a drive down to the Ralia Cafe (near Newtonmore) & then a ride down the old A9 to Dalnarcardoch Lodge, followed by a bike/hike through the Gaick Pass back to the car.

Beautiful, the old A9 section was fantastic, running on Pasela 700 x 32 but would have been OK on something thinner I would imagine. The section through the Gaick Pass would probably have been easier on a full on mountain bike......however, I doubt you will go that way?

NCN7.1.jpg


NCN7.2.jpg


NCN7.3.jpg


NCN7.4.jpg


NCN7.5.jpg


All the best & have a great trip, Simon

AaronR
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby AaronR » 24 Jul 2014, 8:42pm

Simon, thank you - pictures truly do paint a thousand words, old A9/NCN route it is

Bike is still very much undecided - I have my old commuting bike that I sold to a friend (who has since done 6 miles on it!) a Giant Rapid 4 running on Marathon Plus 700*23 which had done 2.5k miles without a puncture before I sold it

The other option is to find an old Specialized (or similar) MTB and fit it out for luggage, currently scouring all the usual places to try and find one

keithg
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Re: A9 or NCN between Inverness and Pitlochry?

Postby keithg » 25 Jul 2014, 12:49pm

SimonCelsa wrote:Hello AaronR,

NCN7.3.jpg




I built that bench from a upcycled ("retired") skis and wooden sleepers last winter, it was "installed" this spring, glad someone is using it. I did wonder if it was a bit too visually intrusive but it was one of the few places I could put it where motorists couldn't access it and it wasn't threatened by the future A9 dualling.