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vrsmxtb

Original Poster:

1,668 posts

43 months

[news] 
Tuesday 5th June 2012 quote quote all
Any input on route planning the cream of the Highlands' driving roads with this itinerary?

Day 1: Edinburgh - Uig, Skye
Day 2: Uig, Skye - Rua Reidh (just up from Gairloch)via Applecross loop
Day 3: Rua Reidh - Achmelvich
Day 4: Achmelvich - Glen Coe (via Cape Wrath/Tongue)
Day 5: Glen Coe - south, back to either M74 or A1

I have driven most of them before over several trips but never made a note of the really special ones.

Red Devil

6,256 posts

95 months

[news] 
Tuesday 5th June 2012 quote quote all
Day 1. Be different from the herd. Avoid Fort William by taking the Ardgour-Corran ferry, A861/A830 to Mallaig, then the ferry to Armadale.

Day 4. I would say that's quite ambitious given that a fair chunk of it will be on single track roads. Depends on how many stops you're planning to make and for how long.

DonkeyApple

17,417 posts

56 months

[news] 
Tuesday 5th June 2012 quote quote all
The other year we did a full lap of Scotland hugging the coast all the way after Glen Coe.

Absolutely fantastic. So unbelievable roads and some very mellow ones.

From Fort William take the A87 to Dornie From there just hug the coast to Ullapool. Immensely mellow and plenty of places to stop for lunches.

Then to Tongue. You have to stay at the Tongue Hotel, wonderful food an whiskey collection.

Then your real driving begins. Ensure you have arrived at Tongue with plenty of petrol as the garage their only opens on Lead Days. The next fuel is a BP in Thurso.

Leave Tongue very early morning for the most exceptional twisty run to Thurso. Then after Thurso the A9 is fast. Very fast wink

Take that to the A96 to Aberdeen. A good city for food but better to stay before somewhere in the whiskey zone.

Finally just run home.

The first bit as you run to Fort William and around Glen Coe is riddled with tourists and caravans but once you are off towards Ullapool either. Is Dornie or Inverness you leave them behind and the world is 100% yours.

It's a road trip every petrol head has to do and because very few do you have the roads to yourself.

We also nipped over to Orkney while at Thurso and that was a mellow mini break with a visit to Highland Park.

I really wouldn't bother with Skye. I lived on the island for a time. The run from Broadford to Portree is exceptional but in summer the island is riddled with tourists and slow traffic. It's not a great place for driving.

You need to get away from the caravans and as you approach To gue on your current schedule you'll lament that you've spent all your time trapped behind tourists and you only have a day to savour what you will find to be some of the greatest roads in GB. Also the food is better and the people nicer by a big margin.


Edited by DonkeyApple on Tuesday 5th June 22:59

Clivew

255 posts

62 months

[news] 
Wednesday 6th June 2012 quote quote all
DonkeyApple said:
The other year we did a full lap of Scotland hugging the coast all the way after Glen Coe.

Then to Tongue. You have to stay at the Tongue Hotel, wonderful food an whiskey collection.

Take that to the A96 to Aberdeen. A good city for food but better to stay before somewhere in the whiskey zone.


Edited by DonkeyApple on Tuesday 5th June 22:59
Lots of Irish Whiskey??

DonkeyApple

17,417 posts

56 months

[news] 
Wednesday 6th June 2012 quote quote all
Clivew said:
Lots of Irish Whiskey??
Yup. The local stuff is awful. wink
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vrsmxtb

Original Poster:

1,668 posts

43 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th June 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for the advice. I've done Oban round to Aberdeen hugging the coast-line before and it was genuinely incredible - you're right about the roads in the very far North, absolutely deserted and pure bliss.

I've always usually gone late August / Early September so a little concerned the roads will be clogged with caravans etc, hoping that early July will still be fairly quiet.

Achmelvich - Glen Coe via Tongue is ambitious I know, not got any stops planned that day so it should be doable.


DonkeyApple

17,417 posts

56 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th June 2012 quote quote all
vrsmxtb said:
Thanks for the advice. I've done Oban round to Aberdeen hugging the coast-line before and it was genuinely incredible - you're right about the roads in the very far North, absolutely deserted and pure bliss.

I've always usually gone late August / Early September so a little concerned the roads will be clogged with caravans etc, hoping that early July will still be fairly quiet.

Achmelvich - Glen Coe via Tongue is ambitious I know, not got any stops planned that day so it should be doable.
It'll be great. Every true PHer should drive to the top of Scotland.

I can't remember the time of year we went but it was when all the big highland fayres were on which made for great breaks for lunch.

I can't recommend a night at the Tongue Hotel enough though. After a few days of standard toxic Scottish tourist food it was nirvana and the drive East the following morning was the best section of road the whole trip.

Red Devil

6,256 posts

95 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th June 2012 quote quote all
DonkeyApple said:
It'll be great. Every true PHer should drive to the top of Scotland.
yes Our club has an annual 900 mile blast in April round the Western Highlands.
Durness has 3 excellent beaches on which to take a break. The return leg this year was via Bonar Bridge, Inverness, Ballater (lunch at the Old Station Restaurant), and Perth. Struie Hill, the Lecht, and the Cairnwell. Awesome roads.


GetCarter

19,677 posts

166 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th June 2012 quote quote all
vrsmxtb said:
Any input on route planning the cream of the Highlands' driving roads with this itinerary?

Day 1: Edinburgh - Uig, Skye
Day 2: Uig, Skye - Rua Reidh (just up from Gairloch)via Applecross loop
Day 3: Rua Reidh - Achmelvich
Day 4: Achmelvich - Glen Coe (via Cape Wrath/Tongue)
Day 5: Glen Coe - south, back to either M74 or A1

I have driven most of them before over several trips but never made a note of the really special ones.
Looks good to me. Just depends when you're doing it. This week it's empty (did a two hour drive this morning and didn't see a single car). Last week it was heaving. (Half term/jubilee hol etc)

ChrisBMW

318 posts

35 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th June 2012 quote quote all
Just back from my trip, done just over 1300 miles in 4 days and loved every minute.

vrsmxtb

Original Poster:

1,668 posts

43 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Any ideas on a good route south from Durness/Tongue.

The options seem to be the A836 to Lairg, the B871 to either the A836 or the A897, then A9. There's also a little unclassified road that cuts along Loch Hope and rejoins the A836.

Any pointers on the best drive? I've driven one of them several years ago, but can't remember which one it was!

s2kjock

244 posts

34 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
The A836 from Tongue to Lairg is my favourite road in Scotland, and I have driven most of the tarmac up.

Stunning scenery, negligible traffic, corner after corner after corner, elevation changes, open corners, and the sheer length of the road (unlike other gems such as the Dukes Pass and Bealach which are over so quickly). If you are in a half decent car and don't enjoy that road on a even a half decent day weatherwise you need your "petrolhead" examined IMHO.

The Loch Hope detour is also fun, but slower as it is much narrower and with very poor surface in places - perhaps not one if your car is a garage queen or has poor ground clearance - ultimately not as entertaining as the A836 from Tongue, and I would prioritise that unless you have the luxury of doing both.

For both, watch for red deer very early in the morning or at dusk/night - not such an issue this time of year though.

DonkeyApple

17,417 posts

56 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
The A836 is a good road.

Going off piste is fine but up there if its not the main road it's basically a sheep drover's lane so will take hours extra to navigate.

After Bonar (fnar fnar) the B9176 to Alness is good.

Red Devil

6,256 posts

95 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
s2kjock said:
The A836 from Tongue to Lairg is my favourite road in Scotland, and I have driven most of the tarmac up.

Stunning scenery, negligible traffic, corner after corner after corner, elevation changes, open corners, and the sheer length of the road (unlike other gems such as the Dukes Pass and Bealach which are over so quickly). If you are in a half decent car and don't enjoy that road on a even a half decent day weatherwise you need your "petrolhead" examined IMHO.

The Loch Hope detour is also fun, but slower as it is much narrower and with very poor surface in places - perhaps not one if your car is a garage queen or has poor ground clearance - ultimately not as entertaining as the A836 from Tongue, and I would prioritise that unless you have the luxury of doing both.
Absolutely the A836. Did it in April. The loop east from Tongue via the B871/B873 back to Altnaharra is quite entertaining too.

DonkeyApple said:
After Bonar (fnar fnar) the B9176 to Alness is good.
Did that one too. Struie Hill.


Given a choice, stay away from the A9 as long as you can.

vrsmxtb

Original Poster:

1,668 posts

43 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Thanks folks!

There is an unclassified road from Bonar bridge linking the A836 to the A835 going through Glencalvie, Tollomuick, Strathvaich and Inchbae forests. Can anyone confirm this is a public road, and is driveable? It looks like an intersting cut across to avoid the A9 down to Inverness.

Red Devil

6,256 posts

95 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
I assume you mean the road heading west from Ardgay railway station. AFAIK that only leads to Croick Church.
http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=57.886228,-4.604945&a... Beyond that it is a private road through the Croick Estate.

Along that road, the side turning here http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=57.881596,-4.576235&a... leads to Alladale Lodge http://www.alladale.co.uk/

At this fork http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=57.865269,-4.589971&a... the road to the Lodge is to the right through the gate. The road to the left is a dead end. There is no link that I can find to the track that runs down Loch Vaich to the A835 at Inchbae Lodge http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=57.686487,-4.686956&a...

Edited by Red Devil on Sunday 24th June 20:54

JM

2,177 posts

93 months

[news] 
Monday 25th June 2012 quote quote all
vrsmxtb said:
Thanks folks!

There is an unclassified road from Bonar bridge linking the A836 to the A835 going through Glencalvie, Tollomuick, Strathvaich and Inchbae forests. Can anyone confirm this is a public road, and is driveable? It looks like an intersting cut across to avoid the A9 down to Inverness.
That's not a public road, just estate tracks.

I'm sure some of it is through the contraversial Alladale Reserve/Estate.


JM

2,177 posts

93 months

[news] 
Monday 25th June 2012 quote quote all
vrsmxtb said:
Any ideas on a good route south from Durness/Tongue.

The options seem to be the A836 to Lairg, the B871 to either the A836 or the A897, then A9. There's also a little unclassified road that cuts along Loch Hope and rejoins the A836.

Any pointers on the best drive? I've driven one of them several years ago, but can't remember which one it was!
A836 from Tongue is the best road in the area, quite fast and flowing, wide(ish) in places so two cars can pass between passing places. As others have said there are good elevation changes and some clear open stretches. Watch out for locals and timber lorries!
The A897 is probably quieter, but not as good and is a longer route.
I wouldn't bother with the B871/3 especially if you are heading to Glencoe! despite being a similar distance from Bettyhill to Lairg it takes peoabaly 30 mins longet to drive. Small tight single track, poorer surface and less passing places. The locals never use it unless they are stopping somewhere along it.

From Bonar Bridge you want to head over The Struie (B9176) this is another good quick road.

If you are still heading to Gelncoe as per your original post, then you have two choices, both on the south of Loch Ness. Either through Inverness and out along the loch through Dores and Foyers, or go a bit south on the A9 and take then B851 through Strath Nairn and Stratherrick. Once you get to Fort Agustus there is no option other than the A82 to Fort William and on to Glencoe.


Red Devil

6,256 posts

95 months

[news] 
Monday 25th June 2012 quote quote all
JM said:
That's not a public road, just estate tracks.

I'm sure some of it is through the contraversial Alladale Reserve/Estate.
The road to the Alladale Lodge entrance gate is public. There may be a link to the track which goes down past Loch Vaich to Inchbae but I doubt it would be usable unless you have a Land Rover or similar 4x4 and will almost certainly belong to the estate. The 'right to roam' per the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 only applies to non-motorised activities.

There is another track which leads east past Lochan a' Chairn through the Forestry Commission Kildermorie estate.
http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=57.769071,-4.409981&a... From there to the B9176 is a public road.

JM said:
I wouldn't bother with the B871/3 especially if you are heading to Glencoe! despite being a similar distance from Bettyhill to Lairg it takes peoabaly 30 mins longet to drive. Single track, poorer surface and less passing places. The locals never use it unless they are stopping somewhere along it.
Having driven them I would dispute your 30 minutes longer. Both routes are single track and although the B roads are not quite as wide they can still be negotiated at a decent rate of knots. It is also 6 miles shorter from Bettyhill to Altnaharra via Syre than via Tongue. Fewer passing places are counterbalanced by less traffic. It makes a nice alterative and, personally, I find the run beside Loch Naver more attractive than the A836 beside Loch Loyal.

That said it depends to an extent on the time of year. We go before the main tourist season begins and the road are all but deserted.



Edited by Red Devil on Monday 25th June 15:58

vrsmxtb

Original Poster:

1,668 posts

43 months

[news] 
Monday 25th June 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for all the info, my map is getting on a bit but it seemed to show that as a through road handy to know it isn't.


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