Author Topic: A short Scottish tour  (Read 4410 times)

Matt2matt2002

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
A short Scottish tour
« on: August 29, 2020, 07:59:41 PM »
I recently enjoyed a week away on the West coast of Scotland. The weather was mostly good and my first spell of wild camping was err... interesting.

Check out my Crazy Guy blog:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/NorthWestScotlandAug2020

Raven Tour performed as expected - perfect. Minor front brake pad issues but entirely due to owner negligance!
Just rear panniers and tent gave a good ride despite the heavy rear.

If youve not been to Scotland - pop it onto your to-do list. Carry a midge head net and you'll be fine.

Cheers folks

Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

PH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1680
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2020, 09:54:10 PM »
I've just had a glance, I'll go back for a proper read sometime, looks good.
And well done for getting away.  I had a big Scottish tour planned for May, combination of riding and a few train journeys, the idea being to fill in the gaps left from other tours,
 Including that NW corner Ullapool to Tongue.  Maybe next year.

Pavel

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2020, 01:24:48 AM »
A good read - and a bit of inspiration.  Nice that some parts of the world are getting their pulse back.

kwkirby01

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2020, 08:46:21 AM »
Thanks for the report, it brought back happy memories of family holidays at Clachtoll campsite.
I can recommend the Inver Lodge Hotel (up the hill from Lochinver itself) for coffee scones (freshly baked to order!) and a warm log fire. Jus the place to relax after a ride or, in our case, a wildlife boat trip.
When we've visited previously the lighthouse at Stoer, 6 miles on from Clachtoll beach, had a snack van staffed by a lovely lady who made the most amazing Scotch pancakes served with chocolate sauce - well worth a visit.
Kevin K. Glasgow

PH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1680
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2020, 09:31:02 AM »
Thanks for the report, it brought back happy memories of family holidays at Clachtoll campsite.
I can recommend the Inver Lodge Hotel (up the hill from Lochinver itself) for coffee scones (freshly baked to order!) and a warm log fire. Jus the place to relax after a ride or, in our case, a wildlife boat trip.
When we've visited previously the lighthouse at Stoer, 6 miles on from Clachtoll beach, had a snack van staffed by a lovely lady who made the most amazing Scotch pancakes served with chocolate sauce - well worth a visit.
Your's sounds like my kind of touring, stuff the scenery, where's the cafe... ;)

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3821
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 05:10:44 PM »
Love your report, Matthew, especially the photos. My wife's mother came from Lossiemouth. I know that nasty Inverness-Nairn road rather too well for comfort, as I had a client in Nairn and Danair used to drop us in Inverness. Your photos give a good sense of a more restful Scotland though your elevation graphs gave me heart palpitations. Well done, you!

lewis noble

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 551
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2020, 12:45:48 PM »
Very good write-up and photos, Matt!!  We have been to most of those places one time or another, and Clachtoll is one of the favourite holiday venues for our son and family. 

In 1967, I did a long ride circling round most of N W Scotland . . . . .as field-work for my Geography undergrad dissertation - "The Changing Economy of N W Scotland".  I loved the ride (a 2nd hand road bike, drops, 2 x 5 gears) and camping gear crammed into panniers.  And there is a chapter in the dissertation about an 'experimental' fish farm at Achiltibuie - slightly off your route - now almost every inlet seems to have a fish farm.  Good photos - I guess that Spanish fishing boat trucks the catch to Spain, processed, trucked back to restaurants in UK - seems very wasteful, but that was certainly what was happening a few years ago. 

A great achievement and fascintating story - thanks.

Lewis
 

Pavel

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2020, 04:15:09 PM »
I have no idea why, but if I had to make a list of the top five cycling destinations, Scotland would be on it. It must be some sort of romantic ideal, which is probably out of touch with reality. After reading your blog and in between trying to find a way to evade a new 1400 dollar repair bill on my wife's car, I spent a few hours re-searching touring in Scotland.
 
That made it a bit more real. And the hills a LOT more real. Up to now I only knew that everyone up there wore kilts, and that the Scotch flow out of taps built into the sides of most structures, and that it is reputedly quite good.  I hope none of that has changed. I'd frequently read about the winds, but it didn't sink in what Winds really were. Reading that the highest recorded wind speed was 173 miles per hour puts a new perspective on things. Seems like a bad combination with kilts however.

I need to do more research.  Tips would be appreciated. For now I did a nice tour last night of the Hebrides the new lock down way. Google street view.  My legs are fine but my finger is killing me. Seems a spectacular place.  For sure on the top five.

Matt2matt2002

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2020, 08:03:30 PM »
I have no idea why, but if I had to make a list of the top five cycling destinations, Scotland would be on it. It must be some sort of romantic ideal, which is probably out of touch with reality. After reading your blog and in between trying to find a way to evade a new 1400 dollar repair bill on my wife's car, I spent a few hours re-searching touring in Scotland.
 
That made it a bit more real. And the hills a LOT more real. Up to now I only knew that everyone up there wore kilts, and that the Scotch flow out of taps built into the sides of most structures, and that it is reputedly quite good.  I hope none of that has changed. I'd frequently read about the winds, but it didn't sink in what Winds really were. Reading that the highest recorded wind speed was 173 miles per hour puts a new perspective on things. Seems like a bad combination with kilts however.

I need to do more research.  Tips would be appreciated. For now I did a nice tour last night of the Hebrides the new lock down way. Google street view.  My legs are fine but my finger is killing me. Seems a spectacular place.  For sure on the top five.
Tips?
Of course:
Wild camping is free and accepted up here. But beware - it's being abused by certain folks - so that could change.
Hills - yes - quite a lot and the top number 1 UK hill climb in UK. Bealach na Ba.  On the N500 route - but I skipped it.
Midges - can ruin a tour. Come prepared for the worse.
Weather - West coast catches a lot of the Atlantic rain but has better scenery than the East - IMO.
Folks - very friendly. Food - good to excellent. Try the Haggis and Cullen Skink.
The islands - Lewis - Harris are outstanding.
Costs - out in the wilds small shops have to charge more than the cities - I have no issues with that.

More tips as required.

I've been lucky enough to tour several countries and Scotland ranks alongside them all.
Hard to choose to fav. but Scotland is in the top 1.
 ;)
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2020, 10:04:10 PM »
Great ride and a great tale & photos, Matt -- good on yer! Good weather, empty beaches, and all the hills one could reasonably want/bear.  And all reachable by train!--what's not to like, indeed? Loved your views of the hills, the water, and the sunshine.

My planned three-week trip this summer to Canada's New Scotland--also reachable by train, usually--was scuppered by COVID.  As things stand, only people living in the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland/Labrador can visit those places, so my trip will have to wait for a while, or for a vaccine.  :(

Good to see that you were able to finds shops, cafés and such. In our neighbourhood, those have reopened in the past 2-3 months, but some have not, esp in the smaller villages & rural areas.  So, it's a matter of carrying more food.  I'll do a short 4-day/3-night tour of the neighbourhood later this week, S & W from Ottawa, camping at lockstations along the Rideau Canal,  Pretty genteel, but a welcome chance to be outside for several days.

Cheers,  John

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3821
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2020, 02:23:54 PM »
...camping at lockstations along the Rideau Canal,  Pretty genteel...

It's a great opportunity to tow your own canal barge behind your bike.

John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2020, 03:00:54 AM »
There's a nice and wholly unexpected Scottish connection behind this mini-tour Andre -- tell you about it in due course  ;)

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3821
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2020, 06:03:31 PM »
Looking forward to it, John.

Matt2matt2002

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2020, 06:48:17 PM »
There's a nice and wholly unexpected Scottish connection behind this mini-tour Andre -- tell you about it in due course  ;)

Does it involve haggis?
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: A short Scottish tour
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2020, 07:30:53 PM »
Haggis??

Och, Matt, 'twas Annie Laurie.