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Cycling Scotland - redspokes
Cycling Scotland - redspokes
Cycling Scotland - redspokes


Far North Cycling Holiday

9 Day: Guided: Road/Touring

Day 1: Inverness

Your redspokes Scotland cycling tour begins in the Highland capital, Inverness. Flights to Inverness are routed from destinations across the UK and Europe. There are good coach and rail links to Inverness as well. From the airport, coach and rail stations taxis are readily available to take you to your hotel.  For details see Essential Information as well as your Joining Instructions.  On arrival, you have a free afternoon to explore the area. You could visit Inverness Old Town, the Victorian Market or St Andrew's Cathedral or take a circular walk from the castle along the river and through the Ness Islands.

Accommodation: B&B

Day 2: Inverness to Tain

The first part of our day is a ride to Chanonry Point on the scenic Black Isle, one of the best coastal vantage points for observing dolphins, seals and porpoises. From here we continue to Cromarty, the Highlands' best preserved historic town, where we take a ferry to reach Nigg. Known as ‘The King’s Ferry’, this route was taken by King James IV on pilgrimage to the shrine of St Duthac at Tain.  This is one of the smallest car ferries in the world. From Nigg we cycle to the village of Shandwick, passing the ancient Shandwick Stone, which is in a glass case on your left, before the run down into the village. We continue, riding through farmland via Balnagall. We drop downhill to reach a long straight, level road, then cross a railway line before making another climb back up into the ancient town of Tain where you stop for the night. There is a museum in Tain, and a display telling of the ancient kings of Scotland who visited this place.

Cycling Distance: 68 km (42 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 541 m (1,775 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 3: Tain to Rosehall

We start today's ride by passing the famous Glenmorangie distillery before crossing the Dornoch Firth on the A9 bridge.  Next, you reach Dornorch, an Edwardian resort town. We ride up the coast northwards to Skelbo, cycling along the water’s edge following Loch Fleet inland. The area is a Scottish heritage nature reserve. The tidal basin is home to a wide range of habitats and species. We cross over the river at the tip of the loch and continue riding inland climbing over the next 9 miles to reach Muie, our route continues to follow the River Fleet. You ride a short drop before climbing again to our high point of the day before dropping down to reach your hotel at Rosehall.

Cycling Distance: 63 km (39 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 379 m (1,425 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 4: Rosehall to Lochinver

This morning our tour continues as we ride along back roads through lovely, wooded scenery beside the river Oykel. The Oykel flows down the slopes of Ben More and through an ice-gouged valley. This is a particularly rugged area of the Western Highlands and includes several nature reserves that foster a responsible connection between visitors, communities and natural environments. After approximately 25 miles we cycle alongside Loch Borralan before turning north towards "The Bone Caves" which are certainly worth a visit. They are a series of natural caves located high on a limestone cliff, Creag nan Uamh (Crag of the Caves).  From here it's fairly flat for 15 miles to reach your accommodation at Lochinver. 

Cycling Distance: 64 km (40 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 594 m (1,950 ft)
Accommodation: B&B (B,L)

Day 5: Lochinver to Ullapool (Loop around Achiltibuie)

We'll be riding a series of climbs and descents as we cycle south from Lochinver to Inverkirkaig where we skirt round the bay before heading inland again, following a stretch of water known as Elder's Pool and then cross over the River Kirkaig. We climb again and head back downhill to Loch An Arbhair. We reach the coast and follow the waterside for a short while before riding back inland with more climbs and descents to reach Loch Osgaig. On a fine day we'll have a clear blue sky view out to sea. We continue for a few miles on flat terrain to Loch Ra and then ride uphill to begin our loop around Achiltibuie.

From Achnahaird we set off in an undulating anti-clockwise direction; we ride on to Althandu and Polbain crossing moorland with little other than abandoned stone crofts and grazing sheep around us with views of the Summer Isles across the water, before we reach Achiltibuie. In Gaelic, romantically, Achiltibuie means ‘field of the yellow-haired boy’ and is one of the five fields that are collectively known as the area Coigach: an oasis of peace and scenic beauty.

We head on up passing Loch Ra and Loch Vatachan before we retrace our tracks passing Loch Osgaig again and take a twisting road climbing to Drumrunie with a few drops as we ride alongside Loch Bad a’ Ghaill and Loch Lurgainn with the dramatic Stac Pollaidh peak to our left. From Drumrunie we turn southwest towards Strathcanaird from where we continue making a steep descent enjoying clear views of the Coigach Hills. We reach the coast again just before Ardmair before one final uphill ride of the day before we roll down into Ullapool.

Cycling Distance: 74 km (46 miles) 
Cycling Ascent:  915 m (3,004 ft) 
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 6: Ullapool - Rest Day

Located on the eastern shores of Loch Broom, Ullapool is a distinctive white fishing village designed and built in 1788 by Thomas Telford and the British Fisheries Society. The town is also the terminus for the ferry to Stornoway.

Although a small community of 1500, Ullapool is the largest settlement in the area and an important port and tourist destination. If the weather is good, there are many walking routes in the area from coastal routes to inland footpaths. If it is not so good, the town has a beautiful museum based in a Grade A listed building where you can find out more about crofting, fishing, the “klondykers" and other local history. There are also many inviting pubs in the town you can retreat to.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 7: Ullapool to Poolewe

We start the day cycling along Loch Broom, then turn and begin cycling inland and uphill along the Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve. This is a beautiful, forested area where the river Droma rushes along a series of tumbling waterfalls.

We continue cycling on a downhill ride back to the coast reaching the banks of Little Loch Broom and Gruinard Bay, enjoying beautiful scenery. From here the ride continues along Loch Ewe and just before arriving at Poolewe, a visit to Inverewe Gardens, a unique Atlantic coast botanical garden is a must. This area is  a good place to spot red squirrels, red deer, otters, golden eagles and sea eagles. 

Cycling Distance: 79 km (49 miles)
Cycling Ascent:  998 m (3,275 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 8: Poolewe to Achnasheen to Inverness

Our last day of cycling is rewarded with a scenic ride to the picturesque village of Gairloch. Set amidst rugged moorland it has some of the prettiest scenery in the whole of the British Isles. A few miles from here, you get views of Loch Maree, named recently as one of Britain's favourite scenic views in a national newspaper poll. Dotted with 30 islands and bordered by the mass of Slioch (3,215 ft) to the north and ancient Caledonian pine forest to the south, its home to the Black-throated divers, Sea Eagle, Otters and Red Deer, that are known to swim from the mainland. Your cycling finishes a few miles further on at the remote village of Achnasheen where you will be transferred by road back to Inverness.  The journey takes about 1.5 hours, arriving into the city around 4pm. 

Cycling Distance: 56 km (35 miles) 
Cycling Ascent:  672 m (2,205 ft)

Accommodation: B&B (B)

Day 9: Inverness - Home

If you need assistance or wish to discuss the tour, please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1463 417707.

Alternatively, you can email us on office@redspokes.co.uk for more information on this adventure holiday.