A pleasant 30 mile route exploring some of the quieter roads and coastal villages of Easter Ross.
Although perhaps not as well known as other parts of the Highlands this area is an excellent one for cycling with a good network of quiet roads and the historic town of Tain, which is easily accessible by both road and rail, is a perfect start point.
From the High Street head eastwards, along Lamington Street and when the main B9174 turns right continue straight ahead, signposted to Portmahomack. The route continues along this road, which initially also forms part of the National Cycle Network route 1 (NCN1). After 3 miles NCN turns off southwards but stay on the main road for a further 4 miles until the B9165 is reached. Turn left here and follow the B9165 for 2 miles to the pretty village of Portmahomack. If a longer trip appeals it’s possible to continue through the village and on for another 3 miles to the end of the road at Tarbat Ness lighthouse.
For the return trip retrace the outward route along the B9165 but stay on this route when the junction with the road from Tain is reached. About 3 miles beyond this junction a crossroads is reached where NCN 1 crosses the road. Turn left here and follow the road down into the village of Hilton and along the shore to the harbour and beach at Balintore. From the harbour, retrace your route for a few yards and take the turning on the left to follow the B9166 then the B9155 to Fearn. Continue on this road until, immediately after crossing the railway at Fearn Station a right turn is taken. This quiet road passes the houses at Loandhu and skirts Loch Eye before again reaching NCN1 at a crossroads. Turn left here and follow NCN 1 back to Tain, the final part of it following the outward route.