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Home Travel StoriesAndy's Scottish Expedition

The Wonder Of Even More West Coast

By Andy Gray

Day 10: Ardmair to Durness 112 miles

It was a cold one last night, the wind died off and it got very chilly. Small patch of frost on my bike seat when I got up.

Away by 10:15 as I was hoping it might warm up! Whole day has been between 7 & 9C so I’ve been wearing the heated jacket as an extra layer. Not plugged it in, yet.

Started out heading north (again). Just up the road was the first sign for the Rock Route. This is a route around the North West Highlands' Geopark with various well signed stops with information boards explaining the geology around you. I think I stopped at most of them on the way to Durness as they are rather interesting (to me).

A brown sign with a blue symbol indicating this is a rock route
Rock Route signs
A sign showing geological points in north west scotland as part of a route
These are the stops in the Geopark

Also at the info point were leaflets for the Summer Isles. I presume that the isles are the islands south of the peninsula but the whole place is very scenic despite occasional heavy showers coming through.

I’d already planned to ride out and take the road north to Lochinver but I decided to visit the whole area.

A roadside information board explaining the deep freeze mountains of Achiltibuie
Info Board
Vast swathes of hardy moor and towering mountains along the road to the summer isles
The road out to the Summer Isles. If you look close you can see the white snow poles along the road.

The single track road goes past various Beinn, lochs & across moors. I went to a beach on the north coast where a guy was just going out kayak fishing. Then out to Reiff, the most westerly point, where the road ends. It seemed to have a constant rainbow while I was heading there.

Dark skies and dark ominous mountains as the weather closes in on the Summer Isles
Summer Isles
steep scree slopes topped with almost vertical rocks on the rugged west coastal route
And more...

Then I headed along the south coast looking for a cup of tea & brunch.

Eventually I found a cafe before the road ended. It was a community run cafe for the local piper corp and was just through the main village Achiltibuie. If the 30 limit changes to a national speed limit you’ve gone too far! It was in Polglass, down a turning on the right.

Promontories and islets under grey skies along the remote and rugged shore
The view south
Dark heavy skies over the now quite sinister looking shore of Achiltibuie
View from the cafe in Achiltibuie

I followed the south coast road until it ran out after a couple of miles in the shadow of two Beinn.

It was now time to retrace part of my route and get on the road north again. I really wasn’t feeling this next bit of single track to Inverkirkaig & Lochinver. It wound through woods and there was no view of the road ahead, most of the single track this trip has provided some sort of view ahead.

Andy's big BMW at the end of the narrow track along the shore, with a steep hill behind
The end of the southern road
The narrow lane winds between trees and the steep hardy hillsides
The single track I wasn’t feeling
Looking back along the road, more trees more hardy hillsides
And backwards

This may be due to the fact that I’ve been coming down with something over the last two days. A sore throat & cough are making me feel very mortal. Despite the views, I was glad to get to Lochinver and then back on bigger roads. Heading past Loch Assynt on the A894 and another Rock Route stop.

A tall plinth with stone soldier, the war memorial at Lochinver
Lochinver war memorial

Next was a sharp left onto the A894 which is a magnificent road with incredible scenery and forms part of the North & West Highlands Tourist route. One of the most scenic I’ve ridden.

More hardy grasses and sharp hillsides this time near Kylesku
Near Kylesku
The sleek modern Kylesku bridge against the ancient and wild highland scenery
Kylesku bridge

Numerous Rock Stops & photo stops on the way and then you come to the valley heading for Durness. This is impressive due to the sheer scale of it.

Another information board explaining the local geology in that area
More Rock Route info

Stopped at Keoldale on the Kyle of Durness to look at the small ferry across the Cape Wrath where you can only take a guided minibus tour since a lot of it is used for MOD training.

a wide broad undulating valley, a narrow lane and cloudy skies near durness
The valley towards Durness

Arrived at Sango Sands campsite which is right on the cliffs facing north - directly into the strong north wind. There’s not too much shelter so set up as best as I can. £9 for the night - this out of season lark is great value.

Went to the Sango Sands Oasis next door when it opened. Despite its name & looks, this is a good bar & restaurant.

I now feel a severe meat coma on the way. Just had a nice healthy fishcake starter followed by Crofters Grill. This consisted of steak, lamb chop, gammon, sausage, black pudding, onion rings, mushrooms & chips.

More leaden skies, more hills and mountains jutting into the cold sea

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Llangollen Andy starts his trip to Scotland... by going to Wales! It is a long way from London Village to The Highlands though, give the man a break.
Friends And Finally Scotland Day 2 and 3 of Andy's Scottish expedition - and he's only just reached the borders. He's having way too much fun and should be focused on heading North.
Bad Weather, Brilliant Roads Andy's first proper ride into Scotland is proving to be a cracker even if the weather is dire.
Exploring Arran and The Mull Of Kintyre There's wildlife and scenery aplenty for Andy as he explores Arran and The Kintyre Peninsula. "Mixed" weather is keeping him on his toes though.
Easy Onto Mull Andy is taking in the splendid West Coast of Scotland at a sensible pace. From the Kintyre Peninsula to the Isle Of Mull there's a lot to take in.
Walking On Iona Andy is using Shank's Pony to get himself around the small island of Iona. Thing is the island isn't quite as small as Andy's feet had hoped for.
Mulling Around To The Mainland When Tobermory is a major town you know you've been somewhere remote. Andy is making his way up the West Coast of Scotland now.
Bealach na Bà Ain't So Bad Andy is making his excuses for a late start today, but it's all self-inflicted. It's time to be overwhelmed by the not really scary Applecross road.
The Wonder Of The West Coast Andy is up on the West Coast of The Scottish Highlands now, and it shows with his achingly beautiful pictures.
The Wonder Of Even More West Coast Andy is exploring the remote and lonesome shores of the North West of Scotland. Geology, beauty and single track, all in another day's ride in The Highlands.
Out Of The Good Stuff, Into The Weather After The splendour of The Highlands and West Coast of Scotland Andy is now at the top of the country. Is there much to report?
The Scottish North East Coast Andy after reaching the tip of the UK is now meandering his way south along the east coast. Being back in civilisation means proper food in solid buildings.
No Nessie And Wet Cairngorms Andy looks at Loch Ness and The Cairngorms, well, when the weather allows at least.

Reader's Comments

Snod said :-
No picture of the Crofter's Grill!?
02/03/2020 09:02:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
No Snod, no picture of the Crofter's Grill. If you wish to entertain yourself by seeing images of what other people are eating can I recommend Facebook?

Actually if Andy had put an image up on FB I'd have added it to this page. I shall inform him of this grievous oversight.
03/03/2020 09:29:13 UTC
Upt'North said :-
The picture labelled the "the view south", really does wet one's appetite for a spring Scottish outing.
On the subject of single track roads, they're great until they're not and that can change in a nanosecond, as in, "where the blummin heck did that DPD van come from doing 80+".
Nice continued report.
05/03/2020 09:59:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Sharon and I love sauntering down a single track lane, 15-20mph is more than enough and you have a little time to see the countryside and the moo cows and the pretty flowers and the potholes. But yes, along comes a delivery van or 4x4 executive machine or even a motorcyclist who seems to believe there WILL NOT be anything around the next bend. Then it all gets a little "brown pants".

I enjoy Andy's reports. He typed them on his mobile so it's concise and to the point, ain't no-one but young folks can bear to type to much on a farty little screen.
05/03/2020 11:46:06 UTC
Andy said :-
I’m afraid that after a day riding in the cold, my food doesn’t last long enough to be photographed;)

29/03/2020 04:54:35 UTC

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