Inland route north of Inverness

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
TheRedEyeJedi
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Joined: 23 Nov 2013, 12:58pm

Inland route north of Inverness

Postby TheRedEyeJedi » 17 Aug 2015, 1:03pm

Hi all,

I completed a solo, unsupported LeJog in 2014 and am now helping plan a group effort for the last 2 weeks of April 2016.

I went to Inverness down the the A82 from Fort William and then straight up the A9 to JOG, only briefly getting off it onto the few B roads that run close. I stayed at the Brora Inn and had a great night, but I am not sure they could accomadat 7 of us.

I have to say this stretch of road did scare me due to the weight and speed of traffic on a fairly narrow road at times. I went on quite a few A roads and the A9 and bits of A49 were the only really concerning bits...with a group I think it would be worse. I also had blanket fog for 50 miles including going over the Berriedale Braes which was quite frankly terrifying. I chose the A9 mainly because it was a bit less remote, as I was a bit nervouse of the inland route as an inexperianced, solo cyclist.

This time I just want the nicest, most epic 2 day route we can get between Inverness and JOG. With the one condition being that there must be a suibtable over night stop for 7 cyclists.

I have seen Cask inn mentioned which looks fun .... can any one help with a route and stop suggestion please. I use a garmin sat nav and plan all my own routes so just a rough outline would be fine, I can link the places up ....but if there are any specific roads you think we should travel I am all ears.

I am also interested in alternative stops other than inverness, I have seen other routes which go north from somewhere around Loch Ness, personally I went up the steep road on the south side of the Loch and went on to Inverness.

It will be a 12 day trip with stops mainly at Travelodges at Wadebridge, Tiverton, Bristol, Shrewsbury, Preston, Carlisle, Abington, Loch Lomand, Fort William, Invernes ........
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Douggie954
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby Douggie954 » 17 Aug 2015, 7:56pm

You could cycle up to Tongue, past Cask Inn, where there is a great hostel and then cycle to JoG the next day. The route is very quiet, very scenic and the hostel is fab.

nickodemia
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby nickodemia » 18 Aug 2015, 9:32am

If you go up past the Crask Inn as far as Altnaharra you can then bear right and go up Strath Naver to Bettyhill. It's a beautiful ride up there and very quiet. There is a hotel at Altnaharra but I haven't been inside so I don't know what accommodation they have. I believe the hotel at Bettyhill has closed.

phil parker
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby phil parker » 18 Aug 2015, 10:26am

This march, I went from Inverness to the Crask Inn, where I camped in their garden, and as mentioned turned right at Altnaharra along the lovely and quiet single track to Bettyhill and on to JOG. You need to check with the Crask Inn as they are trying to sell, but they also have a bunkhouse opposite (and down a bit) from the main house that can easily accommodate 7, but I think the main house can anyway. The accommodation at the Altnaharra Hotel is comparatively expensive.

skicat
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby skicat » 18 Aug 2015, 1:53pm

nickodemia wrote:I believe the hotel at Bettyhill has closed.


I stayed at the Farr Bay Inn on the outskirts of Bettyhill. It's basic but inexpensive and the people are very friendly. I was there 11 months ago.
http://www.farrbayinn.co.uk/
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Fasgadh
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby Fasgadh » 19 Aug 2015, 7:59am

Did Inverness to Kirkwall and back a couple of weeks ago. The Crask is wonderful, and had the bunkhouse and dinner for c.£35
The Lairg to Tongue road is delightful for scenery, but the sprints for and trackstands within the passing places are tiresome and when waiting you are an easy target for midges. Outwith the Summer this road is even quieter.

The hotel in Bettyhill is open. Shops at Tongue, Bettyhill, Melvich and Reay. Lots of hills along the North Coast road in Sutherland, also a lovely road.

I returned down the A9, and Berriedale was terrifying in bright sunshine.

puffin
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Location: Bicester / Aylesbury

Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby puffin » 19 Aug 2015, 8:41am

Just finished another LEJOG and strongly recommend the Inverness, Bonar Bridge, Altnaharra, Bettyhill Route. It is quiet, beautiful and relatively flat. Its a kind of reward for the long slogs before. By then you are pretty fit anyway, and once you are in the Highlands the big climbs are over. The long beautiful quiet road from Lairg to Bettyhill is cycling heaven... and its really flat. I avoided Tongue and took the right hand fork to Bettyhill... beautiful.

TheRedEyeJedi
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Joined: 23 Nov 2013, 12:58pm

Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby TheRedEyeJedi » 19 Aug 2015, 1:43pm

Thats great .... Im planning for Crask inn with the Altnaharra B&B as back up if it closes between now and then!
For solo lejog and more....http://claridgecyclingtocurecancer.com

loafer
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby loafer » 19 Aug 2015, 2:45pm

also there is this place can handle 7 easy :D afab place and run by cyclists ..you even get a discount if you arrive by bike :D :D ...pub and great food 5mins walk :D

http://www.sleeperzzz.com/

Fasgadh
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby Fasgadh » 19 Aug 2015, 7:54pm

Make sure you book Rogart - I have failed to get in almost every attempt. It is good.

Last week could have done with it, hiding from a thunderstorm in the station waiting room before a very wet camp at Dornoch (not the £23 a night campsite).

wirral_cyclist
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby wirral_cyclist » 20 Aug 2015, 1:03am

nickodemia wrote:If you go up past the Crask Inn as far as Altnaharra you can then bear right and go up Strath Naver to Bettyhill. It's a beautiful ride up there and very quiet. There is a hotel at Altnaharra but I haven't been inside so I don't know what accommodation they have. I believe the hotel at Bettyhill has closed.

+1

This route is superb, did it only recently in Mid July, some folk comment that the side turning at Altnaharra is more dangerous due to faster loonies - we saw none (perhaps 4 moving cars in total?) but given sight lines and being able to hear the exceedingly rare vehicles for literally miles I think danger is a none issue.
Our route was:
Starting in Inverness we then rode NCN1 to the Invershin Hotel at Invershin (pub/hotel and bunkhouse now Carbisdale SYHA has gone) then on up to Bettyhill and stayed at FBI (Farr Bay Inn) an old but improving country inn just down from 'town' the Bettyhill hotel looks newly refurbed and huge, but impersonal, and sits atop the towns hill (see below).

Nasty cold legs climb out of FBI but at least at FBI you start in granny ring and twiddle up instead of trying to carry speed into hill from 'town' mistime the shift and drop chain or break a chain, or perhaps don't actually shift and have to get off - I only saw 3 riders probably do 1 of each - so a 100% fail rate for my sample size .

As an aside we drove A9 route one way going up and probably drove your back roads route back the other (as research for a JoGLE and we very much favour Bettyhill any day.
The Crask Inn route is off the beaten track but we had 'regular' traffic (as in a few cars an hour) but even after turning at Altnaharra it isn't wilderness as you pass the campsite after a few miles and many farms and houses at regular intervals.

Inverness - Invershin 56 miles
Invershin - Bettyhill 54 miles
Bettyhill - JoG 51 miles

rareposter
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby rareposter » 21 Aug 2015, 11:58am

Avoid the A9 / A99 at all costs, it staggers me when I drive back from JOG to see all the heavily laden cyclists struggling up the hills there with lorries pounding past inches away.

From Inverness head west around the southern edge of Beauly Firth to Beauly then north to Muir of Ord, Alness and then north up the B9176, Kincardine, Bonar Bridge, Lairg, then A836 to Altnaharra. By that time the "A road" is little more than a single track lane over the fells and is stunning. Altnaharra has a specific LEJOG cabin for cyclists:
http://www.altnaharra.com/lands-ends-to ... mmodation/
and there are also normal hotel rooms there. Worth booking though, it's always been pretty busy when I've been there.

From Altnharra it's about 70 miles, round the north shore of Loch Naver, up to Bettyhill, turn right and follow the coast. If you have time to divert up to Dunnet Head that's worth a trip too - northernmost point of mainland UK

TheRedEyeJedi
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Joined: 23 Nov 2013, 12:58pm

Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby TheRedEyeJedi » 21 Aug 2015, 2:47pm

Cheers everyone .... my 2016 route is now pretty much done! Slight variant on my 2014 route where I have worked around most of the nasty bits of road.

Thanks to the last post for the best way out of Inverness ...hadnt even occured to me to go west around the south bay on the way out ...avoids the buisy road north!

http://ridewithgps.com/users/218007/routes
For solo lejog and more....http://claridgecyclingtocurecancer.com

Norman H
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Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby Norman H » 21 Aug 2015, 3:20pm

+1 for rareposter's route.



At Dingwall you can take the minor road that runs parallel to the A862/A9 and later joins the B817. There's a short climb at the beginning but it's a very pleasant ride with nice views. You can turn onto B9176 from the B817 before you reach Alness, no need to go through the town.

By the way, I can also recommend the Station Tea Room at Dingwall. Very Brief Encounter.

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Jimstar79
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Location: Lake District

Re: Inland route north of Inverness

Postby Jimstar79 » 7 Sep 2015, 11:48am

TheRedEyeJedi wrote:Cheers everyone .... my 2016 route is now pretty much done! Slight variant on my 2014 route where I have worked around most of the nasty bits of road.

Thanks to the last post for the best way out of Inverness ...hadnt even occured to me to go west around the south bay on the way out ...avoids the buisy road north!

http://ridewithgps.com/users/218007/routes


Glad that you now know how best to get around that part rather than use the busy roads.

I was just checking out your route from Fort William - after Fort Augustus you are looking at some fairly serious climbing, although this is mixed in with some beautiful scenery, flats and descents. Once over it though the run down to Inverness should be fairly relaxed. Have you heard of The Great Glen Way - traffic free cycling for approx 30 miles between Fort William and Fort Augustus - although not as fast as the roads it runs alongside canals and through forests - also dependent on whether you are on thin road tyres because some sections are quite rough. I wouldn't want to advise you to go somewhere where you might get lots of punctures!!

Also, is there a reason to go into Alness and then towards Dalnavie, instead of turning off onto the A836, which was a fairly quiet road when I was on it - there is a steep section but it's also more direct - there is a lot of elevation from Alness, too. I think this section, if I remember correctly is called the Struie? When I met it coming from the north it had a great big red sign at the bottom - yes, it was a fairly tough climb but I did about 10 of those a day over on the west coast!! ;)

I found an interesting route from Loch Ness to Bonar Bridge on someone else's LEJOG plan:

http://79.170.40.239/pewseys.co.uk/blog ... arbisdale/

Anyhoo, best of luck with your trip!
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells quotes