Garve to: Lochcarron
Built with money from the EU to allow the fish lorries to get up and down easier, this is a wonderful full-throttle or gentle cruising road. Starting 1km north of Garve, the A832 gets you warmed up for the main course after the roundabout at Achnasheen. The A890 is beautifully surfaced, sweeping full throttle curves, no trees, great scenery past Fionn Beinn, Moruisg and others. The only hazards are the ubiquitous woolly bollards as our Shetland friend names them and deer crossing. No police, no cameras but plenty of action. The last few miles are single track to allow your pulse to slow down. Can be combined with the Garve-Ullapool road mentioned above for a great day run.
Bonar Bridge to: Lochinver
The A837 is an A road which is single track with passing places - it could only be Scotland! Narrow, excellent twisties and a superb view of Suilven for miles and miles. Stop at Lochinver, chips or afternoon tea for the more civilised and prepare yourself for the next bit - the road to Ullapool via Stac Pollaidh. Just unbelievable. At times you can get up to a terrifying 50 mph - briefly. The twistiest road in the world. The scenery is awsome - lunar landscapes and primroses which you can admire closely when you run out of road. And then the mountains. Stop and climb Stac Pollaidh - it's worth it. Ride this road or die unfulfilled.
Glencoe to: Glencoe
Throughout its length from Glasgow to Inverness the A82 is a joy. An A-road metelled for bikers - it doesn't so much change direction as gracefully sweep with a confident camber and no road furniture. It's almost as if you'd laid the tarmac yourself.
The bonnie bonnie banks of loch Lomond set the tone for the whole route as the road clings to the magnificent landscape. On through the splendour of Glencoe and past loch Ness (an opportunity to spot some of the more elusive wildlife such as Nessiteras rhombopterix) on to Forts William & Augustus - no boring straight Roman road here. Here you can see so far ahead it's unreal. There's nothing, absolutely nothing coming. Just breeze by and smile. During the summer the A82 is littered with Germans and the Scot's old ally the French. They come here in droves - well, cars and bikes. Perhaps they are overawed by the Alps and come here for scenery that's a bit less severe. Even with holiday traffic there's that sense of freedom, a feeling that simply glides you along this ride to remember.
The highpoint of the A82 is the stretch Bridge of Orchy, over Rannoch Moor through Glencoe to Ballachulish. Reverse the trip to double your pleasure. From the Bridge of Orchy the snaking black ribbon climbs rapidly as the Moor opens out before you. 1000 metre peaks fence in the vast, intimidating bog. Don't hang about as it could be Scotland's own Area 51. Lean and flow quicksilver across the elevated expanse of peat and rock. The Three Sisters wait to swallow you into fast approaching valley. As the sides begin to loom now you ease off. The roadside crash barriers give away the vital sign. Find your religon and pray to the great god Michelin as the clear opening bends invite you and your bike to shine. You're bathed in stunning landscape with heather, bracken and conifers partially clothing the huge great lumps of towering rock. Fresh mountain air and that immense feeling that the bike is part of the road. That big grin creeps over your face and sets hard.
This is perfect for that long get-away-from-it-all weekend. A chance to clear the lungs and recharge the head. Whether you're a bumbag or tank bag or full panier kit biker there's no problem finding a place to kip & scoff as the area is dotted with B&Bs, guest houses, hotels and hostels and of course - campsites. Grab petrol at any one of a number of modern or quaint stations. This is where they make Scotch Mist so check with Bill Giles first. The Ballachulish Hotel and The Kingshouse Hotel afford more comfort than most around here - and the Youth Hostel in Glencoe is spot on. The Clachaig Inn serves good food and decent ales - but won't serve Campbells!
In Glencoe stands a stone cross to commemorate the MacDonald's massacre by the Campbells. Down the road in South Ballachulish is a monument to James Stewart who was wrongly hanged for his alleged part in the massacre. If the tales of blood, guts and betrayal in the Visitor Centre don't put you off your food then head for the Fish & Chip caravan or local Spar. The Thunderace's brakes are tested just once as a deer bounded into the road - at least the flat cap in the Volvo is half predictable. After all this is sheep and deer country. It's also skiing country - either the dry or the snowy variety - we could try anything once. Whisky distilleries are scattered here and there to tempt you once the bike is tucked up safely.
Once you head has cleared the A82 has tributaries that each in turn lead to something special. And for my next trip... Wonder up to Ben Nevis or nip over the Corran Ferry to Strontian & Ardnamuchan? Twist down the A828 to Oban and perhaps a ferry to Ireland? Whistle up the A87 over the sea to Skye or catch the A830 to Mallaig? The strange roundabout at Ballachulish could prompt a few circles whilst you decide which way to go. Sod it! Let's go back up the glen just one more time.
Ballock to: Lochgilphead
Ok.......first off I only ride a FZR400RR so this would be even better on a 'real' bike! =) Starting at Ballock its a 60mph road with plenty of cars to overtake ( and scare ) on the edge of Loch Lomand.........I'd recommend a quick detoir into Luss (where Take the High road is filmed!)......nothing beats firing up the small main street in a first gear wheelie to piss off all the old biddies!
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