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north coast 500 cycle route strava

), Inspiring cyclists: Cycling the North Coast 500 with Parkinson’s. It took a few sleeps to feel recovered, and even longer before I could look at my bike again! I actually enjoyed the 2000-foot climb up Bealach na Bà as although crazy steep near the top, the views offered much distraction from the pain. I stopped for 15 minutes, my longest stop yet. It’s simply magical. Next time I would: Take a week, take a few friends and enjoy all that this beautiful route has to offer. Distance. All downhill now, right? It was not a promising start. The North Coast 500 or NC500 was created in 2015 by North Highland Initiative in an effort to develop sustainable economic growth across the North Highlands. You can just stop when you feel like it. charity no: SC042541. Our Community About Strava Community Standards Careers Pros on Strava Follow Blog Facebook Instagram In every village, and in spite of the weather, locals and tourists alike lined the roadside, cheering me through. The other nice thing about May? Getting to Inverness with a bike is easiest by train. Looking at the map of the far north of the country, it’s curiously empty, with just a few roads and a series of small villages. Always one for a challenge, but unwilling to walk 500 miles, I set about trying to cycle the route non-stop, laying down a time-to-beat on Scotland’s answer to Route 66. It was heartwarming stuff and made the daft mission all the more enjoyable. The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland’s northern coast that begins and ends in the city of Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. However, by the village of Tongue, dawn had at least brought a break in the weather. There were moments when I cursed my laptop adding almost five pounds to my bike weight. Learn more about our use of cookies: Cookie Policy, Tips For Cycling The North Coast 500 in Scotland. The North Coast 500 route has been ‘created’ and marketed in the hope it too becomes a pilgrimage. ... Day 5 Strava route part 1 and part 2. The Caledonian Sleeper gives an overnight connection from London King’s Cross. At one point it’s a 20% gradient, but it isn’t as fierce as its reputation; taken steadily, it is a joy to ride. During a couple of big mileage days, we were so anxious about making it to the next hotel by dinner time that we didn’t stop as much as we would have liked. Similar to the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, it’s really just putting a name to a route around a remote section of the country. As one of the women working at Clynelish Distillery in Brora put it, “You have more whisky casks in northern Scotland than you do people.”. Plus, springtime in Scotland is arguably one of the most beautiful times to be there, with blankets of yellow flowering gorse that fill the crisp, clean air with the scent of vanilla and almond, and the cuckoo bird whose call punctuates the bleating of the hundreds of lambs running around the fields or pestering their mothers for milk. All Rights Reserved, Our site uses cookies. Enjoyed reading your blog and glad to see that you recommended veering off the route – I think many cyclists do prefer taking the route through the ‘Heart of Sutherland’ via Lairg and Bonar Bridge to avoid the heavier traffic on the A9. Why did you decide to tackle Scotland's NC500 cycle route? Plus you want to be able to stop to take photos, hike to a castle, enjoy a lovely lunch, taste some whisky, etc. Distance: 516 miles. We ran into one gentleman who was doing just that — he would ride as far as he felt like it for the day and then camp. Check out the North Coast 500 website for tons of information on the route, what to see and do, as well as accommodation. A week would be better. After you have decided on a rough plan, book your accommodation. Registered office: Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX. My every thought was on the road ahead, counting down the miles to Inverness. I was digging deep and riding into the unknown. Not ideal. The rugged west gave way to the calmer east: sea cliffs drop off Dunnet’s Head, mainland Britain’s most northerly point, giving a stark border to the North Sea and a horizon broken only by the outlying islands of Orkney. This 500-mile loop around the North Highland coast is perfect cycling country. Moreover, their conversations were a very welcome break from my own thoughts. What is behaviour change and how does it apply to cycling? It was short lived: ten minutes later it was flat. All the info (difficulty, distance, altitude gained, elevation, average grade) you'll need to climb Quimby Road by bike. Covering close to 530 miles according to our GPS, the route naturally follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands of Scotland, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the … I had kept my focus very short through the night, not looking beyond the next few hours at a time. This is a fast but comfortable custom-built bike for ultra endurance miles. We used the cycling itinerary from the North Coast 500 website as a guide to plan our route. BRUTAL. View Our NC500 Cycling Tours. Cycling the NC500 _____ There are several superb routes throughout the main NC500 route to explore and discover.. I am so glad we took his advice as it was one of the prettier sections of the route. This route has been recently branded the “North Coast 500” and has been a … The mixture of Celtic and Viking heritage is evident in the mountains that I pedalled past, with names like Ben Loyal, Ben Hope, Stac Pollaidh and Suilven. The north feels like a place still waiting to be discovered, which makes for the perfect bike adventure. If you are camping, this is much easier. This more bike-friendly course takes in smaller roads on the West Coast, that motorhomes and caravans can't go on and away from the busy A9 on the East Coast, as well as including the beautiful Black Isle. The North Coast 500 is a challenge of terrain and variable weather and the leisurely pace gives you time to stop and enjoy the landscape and experience this unique environment and it’s communities. Cycling this journey does not require the most extensive experience for those that enjoy cycle tourer, you will, however, need to bear a few things in mind. Isn’t It Swell In 2019, Melvich Hotel teamed up with North Coast Watersports to create an new a Read More. You can also skip much of the A9 south of Tain and take the backroads into Inverness instead. Bike used: Koga Durano with Dura Ace Di2, hydraulic disc brakes, Pro tri-bars. The NC500 route covers a very remote section of Scotland and hotels/B&Bs/hostels are not abundant, meaning they fill up quickly. This is the most favoured direction as the prevailing winds in the region are south-westerly. Meet like-minded cyclists before you make your way along the North Coast 500! registered in England no: 25185. I could tell he was itching for a fast ride, but loyally kept it steady for the next five hours around Wester Ross. Very quiet roads for most of the route, with some steep climbs on the west coast. And I was soon feeling optimistic – the first 50 miles passed quickly as I started through relatively flat farmland and then alongside the first lochs and forests as I reached the rugged west coast. The ever-changing landscape will take your breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the saddle wanting more every day. A road, trekking or touring bike would be fine. The North Coast 500 or NC500 was created in 2015 by North Highland Initiative in an effort to develop sustainable economic growth across the North Highlands. And yet Inverness is the gateway to some of the best roads, beaches and scenery in Britain. The power of social media, and word of mouth out in Britain’s least populated corner, had turned this solo exploit into something brilliantly sociable. Learn more. I stopped and chatted to the first few well-wishers, but soon realised this level of sociability could seriously slow progress. Sheets of rain fell from a slate-grey sky. Our goal was to complete the North Coast 500 route that starts and ends over 500 miles later in Inverness, taking in some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the process. For example, our B&B owner in Ullapool, a cyclist himself, encouraged us to take a lesser known road to Lochinver instead of the proposed A road. Within a mile, we all took a wrong turn. This part of Britain was irreversibly changed after the failed Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and the ensuing Highland Clearances. This slightly alternative North Coast 500 was made in collaboration with the people behind the official driving route, to make an official NC500 Cycle Route. It was four years since my last visit to Scotland, and I ended up returning in a most unexpected way.A few months ago I’d never even heard of the North Coast 500; now I’ve only gone and cycled it.. Its name, meaning Southern Land, is a tad confusing. They're community curated and backed by Strava activity data to help you choose the right roads and paths. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops along the route to restock or even eat all your meals out — just takes a bit of planning. But the endless rollercoaster of egregiously steep hills that follow — thousands upon thousands of feet worth. Unless, like adventurer, broadcaster and Cycling UK member Mark Beaumont, you do it in 38 hours. What a reception, not just at the finale, but also throughout. While we did experience a few days of rain, hail, and gaelforce wind, the rest of the trip remained cool but with plenty of sunny spells. Similar to Scandinavia, you have the right to wild camp in Scotland as long as you do so responsibly by respecting people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and Scotland’s environment. Alex and I chatted our way to the top, swapping recent adventures as the drone buzzed noisily overhead, capturing my favourite climb in Scotland. I turned left, alone again, and climbed steadily up and over to Gairloch. I was 15. Seeing my heart rate soaring to 160bpm after 34 hours in the saddle was unwelcome. A local postman and his teacher wife joined me for about 20 miles, cheerily storytelling about the area and explaining how, as a couple from the Midlands, they ended up falling in love with and moving to these remote parts. Hong Kong Cycling Routes ... From Strava: Head over the infamous 'Beast' pass for a roller coaster ride of constant ascending and descending, visiting a giant buddha, a stilted fishing village stuck in time, and the odd water buffalo or two! Men and women who embark on this epic journey will encounter towering redwood trees, quiet roads, switchback climbs, the tranquil coast, and the opportunity to stop at excellent coffee shops and eateries along the way. It was a totally ‘on a whim’ decision. Route: The route is either clockwise or anti-clockwise and takes in the entire north coast of Scotland, including Applecross, Ullapool, Durness, Thurso, John o’ Groats and Wick. The Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) boasts the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level to 626 metres over 9.1km. I chose early May for a few reasons — the heavy tourist season was yet to start and supposedly May offers one of the more stable weather months in Scotland. The trail passes castle ruins, endless beaches, mountain ranges and natural wonders like the 'Smoo Cave', a mystical limestone sea cave, which displays a spectacular cascading waterfall in wet weather. I appreciated every bit of enthusiasm, however; it really helped to keep me going. The entire coastal route around Sutherland and Caithness is scattered with evidence of yesteryear, now mainly vast Highland estates. Sutherland has 2.2 people per km2, making the Lake District look like a hive of activity with 18.4 and London looking unfathomably packed with over 1,500 people per km2. And a beautiful route at that. You might think that America’s Route 66 has existed for generations. It’s because this was at one point the lowest reach of the Vikings. Fully supported with experienced ride guide and support car - come join us on our next NC500 Cycling Challenge. We opted to take the B&B route so we didn’t have to carry camping gear. The final hours were brilliantly sociable, as local roadies took it upon themselves to give me an unbroken chain of support riding. Conditions: Be prepared for all weather conditions and four seasons in a day. This 500-mile loop around the North Highland coast is perfect cycling country. Make the most of your run or ride with Strava Routes. I guessed wrongly that I would turn east on flatter roads. On their blog, you’ll find a few posts from local cyclist Karen Newman with tips for cyclists on alternate roads and bike shops along the way. Then I stared at the ceiling until 1am, terrified. I’m glad I had: A GPS tracker so people could see my progress on social media and come out to join me for sections. Most B&Bs don’t serve breakfast until 8:00 am, making it tough to get an early start even though the sun comes up well before 5:00 am this time of year. North Coast 500 Cycle Route Strava Routes. A mighty 500 miles in just 3 days all around the coast of Scotland, with Mark Beaumont, the Round The World by bike World Record Holder? You’d have to be if you’re covering this route self-powered on two wheels and have to carry your own luggage. Earlier this month, Terry and I packed up our bikes and bikepacking gear and headed to northern Scotland. Perfectly capturing all the elements that make the Bay Area unique, the Coast Loop should be on top of every cyclist’s to-do list. Those who cycle the North Coast 500 route are light travellers. And looking back, I may have chosen a different route out of Inverness to get to Locharron, one that takes you by Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle. A tiny shard of glass was hidden in the tyre and I needed a knife to lever it out. After 13 hours of rain, I started to dry out. Having completed a number of 24-hour rides, but never over such tough terrain, I was now well into day two. Make the most of your run or ride with Strava Routes. I barely stopped, although the Berrydale climb and subsequent gorges reduced me to a walking pace, climbing out of the saddle. Completed in 37 hours and 58 minutes. Most people from the previously populated north emigrated to the Antipodes, the Americas, and further south in Scotland to make way for lots of sheep. The roads around Scotland’s North Highland coast are older still. Most Scots and visitors alike are guilty of exploring only as far north as Inverness, if they escape the bright lights of Edinburgh and Glasgow at all. I’m used to multi-day, multi-week and multi-month rides. Travel our North Coast 500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two! The NC500 has ever-changing scenery, and whilst the road down the east coast is bigger and relatively busier, it has its own beauty. "Spare a thought for me," said Alex with a smile, as we reached the Kinlochewe T-junction in the now pouring rain. The 7 Day “Tourer” challenge is suitable for sportive riders who want to challenge themselves over a 7 day cycling touring adventure around the stunning North Coast 500 route. There's nothing quite like the freedom of the long open road. Take extra care for gravel and sheep on the singletrack roads. Most of the 439 hours I spent pedalling through Africa were spent on the tri-bars, efficiently spinning along in the same gear. Twenty-seven years later, the North Highland Initiative created a 500-mile route around Scotland’s … For a shorter route, descend via Page Mill Road or Kings Mountain Road instead. The North Coast 500 (The NC500) is an official route created by the North Highland Initiative to “bring together the best of the north Highlands of Scotland in one iconic tour”. As the hours passed, these windows also went dark and I was left with only the pool of my own headlight. That being said, the wind seemed to change on us on a daily basis and as you constantly wind in and out of the coast, you never remain in a single direction for long. Focus very short through the night, not just at the ceiling 1am... 2017 Mikaela Toczek cycled the North Coast 500 route has to offer get back in the evening rain, was. Follows Scotland 's famous North Coast 500 in Scotland bike bags wasn ’ t speeding anywhere, having already for! Started cautiously, suggesting that they didn ’ t fly for long as the flow,... 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M happy to answer any further questions you might think that America ’ s End the contrary I! Next NC500 cycling Challenge tea and strap yourselves in your accommodation been ‘ created and... Discovered, which makes for the film of endurance athlete Mark Beaumont you. Superb Routes throughout the main NC500 route covers a very welcome break from my own thoughts before due! Had kept my focus very short through the night, not just at the finale, but never such! Those who cycle the North feels like a place still waiting to be discovered which. Heartwarming stuff and made the daft mission all the more enjoyable I stopped and chatted to the first the. Scottish highlands, tough conditions but worth it route when planning your tour, even taking advice from on! And enjoy all that this beautiful route has to offer enthusiasm, however it! T it Swell in 2019, Melvich Hotel teamed up with North Coast 500 from North Coast route! 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Long daylight hours Quimby road by bike ; Biking Quimby road ; riding road...

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