190 miles in the wildest and most rugged scenery in Scotland. If you like hills to get your teeth into, this is for you!
The far north west of Scotland contains some of the wildest and most beautiful scenery in Scotland but there aren't very many roads. Despite this, traffic is likely to be reasonably light. Many car drivers who make it as far north as Ullapool catch the ferry to Stornoway on the island of Lewis. The roads are mostly hilly, some roads hardly have a flat yard on them.
Getting to the start
This route is accessible via public transport as the route starts from Culrain which is a train station on the North Highland Railway Line. This is quite a short train journey north from Inverness. Scotrail make special arrangements in the summer to let people to travel with bicycles. Most long distance rail travellers will be coming from further south however, so it's important to check that there will be space for your bike on every leg of your train journey (0845 7484950). There is also a choice of Hotels and B&Bs in the area, particularly around Bonar Bridge and Lairg. The tourist office at Lairg would assist (01549 402160).
This is quite a hilly area with some long climbs. In Assynt the hills are steep but the beaches are lovely and the mountains are quite unlike any others. North of Assynt the hills are better graded but often longer. The fishing port of Kinlochberbie is interesting and you can walk or possibly mountain bike to beautiful Sandwood Bay. Further north again it's possible to cycle to Cape Wrath, the furthest point of Scotland's north-west seaboard. John o' Groats is slightly further north but Cape Wrath is much more impressive. Durness has sandy beaches, interesting caves and a craft village. The road south from Durness, via Ben Hope and Ben Kilbreck is again a place of wide open spaces and few people. There aren't a lot of back roads but those that do exist are particularly beautiful so allow time to explore. One thing that you will meet is singletrack roads with passing places. The singletrack carriageway is often wide enough to let a car and a bike pass each other without stopping. It's certain that travelling in this area on a bike will leave you with the feeling that not everywhere on this planet is a crowded place. There are B&Bs in most of the population centres, and quite a number of hotels, many of them catering for fishermen. The Youth Hostel network is still mostly intact and there are independent hostels.
It's best to have a map. Recommended maps: Ordnance Survey Road Map 1 (North Scotland) Ordnance Survey Landranger 21, 20, 15, 9, 16 (only small part on 20).
For other parts of this route, click Related above.