Inverness to: Ullapool
Now this just HAS to be the best biking road in GB, let alone Scotland. Take the A9 from Inverness to Tore (ordinary old main road). At Tore go onto A935 and start to enjoy yourself. If you're peckish, stop at the filling station just before Garve and have yourelf a wee snack. I can recomend the Breakfast Rolls. Once past Garve itself, the road starts to open out and the speed goes up. Just past the Aultguish Inn and the snow gates, the road climbs and widens along the side of Loch Glascarnoch. It is well surfaced and is one sweeping bend after another with good views of what's coming the other way (usually not a lot). This is ton plus country. Once past the Loch, it's sweeping bends and long straights all the way to Corrieshalloch Gorge (where there's a catering caravan - we Scots like our tea!!). From there, it's a gentle canter for the remaining miles to Ullapool. If you're into camping, the site is at the end of the village, past the ferry terminal. If not, there is a Youth Hostel on the main street or there are many B&B's. The pubs are all good, but very busy in the summer months. The pub beside the ferry terminal has a fish restaurant above, which is good and reasonably priced. Every thing seems to stay open until well after 10pm in season. Being in the wilds, there's not much sign of Law & Order, but BEWARE! the guy from the Caravan Site was clocked (and booked) somewhere between Glascarnoch and Corrieshalloch at something about 140! - You have been warned, just because you can't see the Polis, don't mean to say they aint there!! Yes, it's some piece of road. Even I, an upstanding officer of the Law, have been known to give it the berries on this fine piece of the road makers art. Keep the shiney side up and ENJOY!!!!
Crianlarich to: Glencoe
This is one of many absolutely brilliant runs for those of us lucky enough to live about the middle of Scotland. It's a favourite circular run for locals, but can be done one way if you're touring or visiting. Best to avoid the main summer months, since it can get a bit busy with cars & coaches, and watch for Mr Plod (unmarked cars & bikes). Total distance as described below is about 120 miles I think. The route's all single carriageway A-roads, mainly good surfaces, with decent grip - not too many muckspreaders around, but watch for loose gravel at farm exits.
Starting at Crianlarich, the A85 to Tyndrum is a fairly quick, wide, road with some good open bends. Tyndrum has a couple of decent eateries, plus what's reputed to be the most expensive petrol in the universe. Take the A82 to go over Rannoch Moor and on through Glen Coe itself - if you don't have to stop and look at these hills, you're not human! Do watch out for hillwalkers wandering about on the road, though. Once through Glen Coe, there's food and fuel at Ballachulish. Take the A828, which is an interesting twisty road along the side of Loch Linnhe. Last time through (November 98), the surface was starting to break up in parts, so a bit of care was needed with cornering lines. At Connel, take the A85 along the side of Loch Etive and Loch Awe to return to Tyndrum & Crianlarich - again, a decent bit of road with a mix of tight corners in the first half or so, followed by more open straights and bends later.
Braco to: Comrie
This is a fine little stretch of high level(ie up in the moors) twisty stuff. It can be got to from the A9 just N of Dunblane. It climbs quickly up the side of a pleasant strath before hitting a series of bends and straights. Watch out for a couple of narrow bridges on near 90 degree bends, and also the carriage way is pretty narrow and sometimes no road markings, most of the way. There is a terrific open view much of the time, so easy to spot traffic despite the twisties. A great set of switchbacks drops you down into the lower ground outside Comrie. Gas up there if you need to. For an alternative return route, head along the A85 thru St Fillans and a lochside blast past Loch Earn to join the always entertaining A 84 at Lochearnhead. Snoot presence is minimal, if present at all, except perhaps in the 2 main villages.
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.
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