2014 - Scotland

Introduction

Cycling route map

In 1995 we made a cycling trip north Brittain. Though that time we did not go further north than the Caladonian Canal. This year we wanted to go further north and visit famous John o'Groats and the Hebrides Islands. The story and pictures of this fantastic cycling trip can be found below.
2014 cycling trip logo

From SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014
to WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014

From Aberdeen
to John o'Groats

After a nice short flight we arrive at Aberdeen Airport. We quickly put our bicycles together and go on our way. We find some small roads to cycle towards Inverurie, where we buy gas canisters for our cooker and do some first shopping. Then we cycle to Alford where we camp our first night in Scotland. The next day we continue cycling northwards, we enter Cairngorms National Park and find our first big steep climb at Cockbridge (a 20% climb). Luckily during our cycling trip northwards we continuously have the wind at our bags and cycling is great. Via Inverness we cycle to Cromarty, where we take a very nice and small ferry across the water. In Helmsdale we do not find any campground, but luckily we are allowed to camp in the garden of the information centre. After Helmsdale we cycle along the coast to John o'Groats, the most north-eastern point (not looking at all the small islands).

Into Cairngorms National Park

Lonely red telephone box

Through forest...

And along the coast...

Till John o'Groats

Bagpipes band at John o'Groats

From THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014
to TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2014

From John o'Groats
to Lochboisdale

From John o'Groats we cycle along the north coat to Bettyhill (big downhill at Bettyhill) and then turn inland towards Lairg (via the "Strath Vagastie" pass). Then we cycle towards Ullapool where we take the late ferry to Stornoway. We arrive there in the dark and have cycle 4 km to the Laxdale campsite. We bought Hopscotch tickets in Ullapool, so now we have all tickets for all the upcoming ferries for a nice price (about 80 pounds). We're now on the Hebrides Islands. Cycling on the Hebrides is very nice, but the roads are not very wide. Though there is not that much traffic on the roads. And on a Sunday everything is closed on the islands.
The first campsite we stay at is at Likisto (Black House campsite). A very nice place, but because in the afternoon there is no wind at all, there are a lot of very irritating (and biting) midges. The next day we continue our cycling trip on beautiful back roads and take the ferry at Leverburgh to Berneray. All the way to Lochboisdale we have the wind against us, but we enjoy the beautiful scenery of the islands.

Climbing through beautiful scenery of Scotland

Ferry crossing

Hilltop photo

Afternoon lunch

From WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014
to THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014

From Lochboisdale
to Leeds Bradford Airport

From Lochboisdale we take the ferry to Oban. After about five and half hour on the ferry we arrive in Oban. We cycle southwards and find that at Arduaine the road is closed because of a road accident. A very friendly Scotsman (Rob Walker) offers us to takes around the accident by back roads in his car. We accept and he drops us at the B8025 which we follow to the Crinan Canal (15 locks), which then leads us very nicely to Lochgilphead where we camp for the night. The next day we cycle to the ferry which takes us to the "Isle of Arran". There we first cycle south towards Auchagallon and then turn inland to take the back road straight through the centre of the island. At the other side of the island (near Brodick) we find a small simple campsite called Glen Rosa. The next day we take the early ferry from Brodick to Ardrossan. There we follow cycle route 73 to Irvine. A very nice cycle route; evading all busy roads. Later we follow national cycling route 7. Though also other very quiet roads like the B7027 (between Girvan and Newton Stewart). We follow the national cycling route 7 from Kirkcudbright all the way to Dalston, from where we take some small back roads into the Lake District. From Lake Ullswater we cycle across the Kirkstone Pass (with climbs between 13% and 20%) to lake Windermere. From Kendal we cycle into the Yorkshire Dales and follow the same roads as the Tour the France of this year (only in the opposite direction). There are still flags and yellow bikes hanging at the side of the roads. We still have a nice climb (17% climb) around Dales Head. Then follows a slow descent towards Leeds. In Kettlewell we see the Scarecrow Festival. From Olley we follow the A660 and A658 towards the Leeds Bradford International Airport. After 1496 km we arive at the airport.
We camp nearby at the St. Helena Caravan Park and have one day of relaxation (in which we visit the Yorkshire Air Museum) after which we fly home to The Netherlands again.

Climbing on road towards ferry for Arran Island

20% climb on national cycling route 7

Cattle grid with a view

That's why there are cattle grids

Into Yorkshire Dales

On top of hill with a view

Yorkshire Dales stone walls

Current weather

Current Aberdeen, United Kingdom weather
Current Inverness, United Kingdom weather
Current Leeds, United Kingdom weather