An easy start in wooded country - no difficult hills.
The National Cycle Network and this route overlap at the start. The National Route heads north then east towards John o' Groats, while this route turns west towards the mountains. The scenery on the west coast is more dramatic but the pedalling effort is greater too!
You can get a train to Culrain, or for that matter drive, but it's also possible to cycle from Inverness using the National Cycle Network. Route 1 goes via the Black Isle and is also part of the wider international North Sea Cycle Route.
Culrain might be wee but there are two train stations close by, Culrain and Invershin the other side of the Kyle of Sutherland. There wasn't any way for people to get over other than on the train, hence the need for two stations. Flag the train down incidentally.
Whether you are staying in a B&B or hotel nearer to Bonar Bridge, it's important to begin the route on the west side of the Kyle of Sutherland (river and estuary). Coming north from Inverness you turn left at Ardgay before crossing the bridge over the Kyle to Bonar Bridge. This first section of the route will be signed with Route 1 cycle signs. Our route and the National Route go different ways near Culrain station. The National Route crosses over the Kyle to the A836 using a footbridge, while we continue north, then west, on the minor road on the west side of the Kyle. This lovely little minor road runs through wooded scenery for nine miles. The Kyle of Sutherland is on the right but this eventually narrows and becomes the River Oykel. Turn right to cross the river at the sign for Rosehall and Oykel Bridge. Turn left on to the A837. After another five miles you cross the river again at Oykel Bridge. It's worth having a coffee or perhaps some food at the Oykel Bridge Hotel (01549 441218) which is a lovely old hotel catering mainly for fishermen.