Guidebook to a 528 mile circular cycle tour around northern Scotland, starting and finishing in Inverness. The route follows quiet main roads and minor country roads, and is easily accessed and well provisioned. It can be comfortably completed within a fortnight and boasts stunning scenery and rich historical interest.
This guidebook describes a 528-mile cycling route in northern Scotland. Starting and finishing in the highland capital Inverness, the circular route passes through the ancient counties and districts of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross and the Black Isle and is suitable for mountain, touring and road bikes: the going is entirely on asphalt-surfaced roads, though many are quiet with little traffic. The circuit can be comfortably completed in a fortnight.
Featuring clear and concise route description, together with 1:150,000 mapping, gradient profiles, suggested schedules and invaluable practical information - including complete lists of all hostel/bunkhouse accommodation, official campsites and services for cyclists and advice on other accommodation and refreshment opportunities, this guidebook provides all the information needed to plan and execute a terrific cycle tour. Alternative routes are provided in case you should wish to avoid the steep ascent of Bealach na Bà or the undulating Assynt peninsula, or to include the busier A9 east coast road.
The route boasts stunning scenery and rich historical interest and cyclists will be treated to mile upon mile of unspoilt wilderness. The journey takes in varied landscapes of craggy mountains, verdant glens, rolling peat moorland dotted with lochs and wild rugged coastlines - and if the scenery isn't enough, there are many distilleries and micro-breweries on or near the route guaranteed to entice. With notes on history, geology, wildlife and local points of interest, the guide offers a perfect way to get to know Scotland's captivating far north.
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
If you're a gram counter you can easily remove sections of the book to take with you making your own ultra-lightweight guidebook with only the essential sections that you require.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsBest cycled between May and September.
CentresA circular ride starting and ending in the highland capital Inverness. Small towns are passed at Ullapool, Thurso and Tain.
DifficultyA challenging cycle route due to frequent undulations, with ascent totalling nearly 8000m. Climbs vary from steady climbs over low mountain passes to short steep hills. The road surface is asphalt throughout, presenting no problem. Suitable for mountain, touring and road bikes with a wide range of gears and appropriate tyres. Lights and high-vis jackets essential due to the possibility of misty conditions on narrow roads.
Must SeeThe beautiful and varied landscapes of the far north of Scotland. Major mountains are passed at Torridon, An Teallach and in Assynt. The route reaches both Durness and John o' Groats, near to the northwestern and northeastern extremities of Scotland.
Table of Contents
Getting there and back
Navigation and information
Food and drink
Amenities and services
What to take
Safety and emergencies
About this guide
Stage 1 Inverness to Garve
Stage 2 Garve to Lochcarron
Stage 3 Lochcarron to Shieldaig (direct route)
Stage 3A Lochcarron to Shieldaig (via Applecross)
Stage 4 Shieldaig to Gairloch
Stage 5 Gairloch to Ullapool
Stage 6 Ullapool to Lochinver
Stage 7 Lochinver to Kylesku
Stage 8 Kylesku to Durness
Stage 9 Durness to Tongue
Stage 10 Tongue to Melvich
Stage 11 Melvich to John o’ Groats (coastal route)
Stage 12 John o’ Groats to Melvich (inland route)
Stage 13 Melvich to Altnaharra
Stage 14 Altnaharra to Tain
Stage 12A John o’ Groats to Lybster
Stage 13A Lybster to Brora
Stage 14A Brora to Tain
Stage 15 Tain to Nigg (for Cromarty ferry)
Stage 16 Cromarty to Inverness
Stage 15A Tain to Dingwall
Stage 16A Dingwall to Inverness
Appendix A Facilities summary table
Appendix B Tourist information
Appendix C Hostels and bunkhouses
Appendix D Campsites
Appendix E Cycle shops and cycle hire
Appendix F Munros near route (mountains over 914m)
Appendix G Distilleries en route
Appendix H Useful contacts