Monday, 20 July 2015

Coast to Coast

There is something undeniably special about crossing the UK from coast to coast, as the many classic walking and biking routes attest to, and gives a real sense of purpose to the journey. In Scotland we are blessed with many options for coast to coasting, with most taking several days or longer by bike or foot. One that doesn't, and can be completed in a day, is linking Ullapool on the North West coast to Ardgay/Bonar Bridge on the East by means of the old drove route connecting the two. In days of yore clansmen would drive their cattle through the mountains to the markets (trysts) on the East coast. This 57km route now provides a wonderful biking route, never technical, but mostly off road on good land rover tracks.  Linear routes always present the question of how to get back to the start, but in this case there is no need.  Ullapool can be reached by the great "bike bus" service with D&E coaches from Inverness, and there is a train station at the finish to whisk you back to Inverness. Perfect! It is testament to the fun of this route that despite yesterday being wet +++, we were still smiling by the end as we posed by the Kyle of Sutherland for a photo. Although technically easy, this route takes you into remote terrain where you need to have the right equipment and the knowledge of how to use it if things go wrong. There are a couple of bothies along the route that provide a welcome temporary haven if the weather turns bad, that are worth knowing about and researching prior to your trip. If you get to Bonar Bridge I can recommend the excellent Monach House bed and breakfast to dry out, and the Bridge Hotel for a well deserved pint! 

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