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Nc500 East Coast Alternative Options.

Discussion in 'Touring' started by JAT, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. I’ve been planning my dream tour of Scotland for next year and I wondered if anyone (finm) can help me out with an interesting route.
    I’m starting from The Buccleuch Arms in Moffat and I’m doing the NC500 route up to Thurso which is all sorted.
    The issue I have is the east coast, from what I’ve read the A9 is best avoided.
    Has anyone got any suggestions to get me back to Inverness or indeed back to Moffat. I’m planning on doing this section in 1 day but it could be stretched to 2.
  2. Thurso to Inverness on the NC500 route will be fine, you can do a detour round the black isle which is nice, from Inverness you want to avoid the A9 quite rightly. The whole NE part of Scotland gets ignored but is full of really good roads and scenery - do you want coastal of mountains? Depending on time you can easily have both
    Usual route would be from Inverness head down to Aviemore and then cut over the A939 Tomintoul to Cock Bridge (the Lecht road) then go over Glen Sheil to Ballater and then A93 through Braemar and over Glenshee (highest pass in UK) to Blairgowrie. From there you can head through Dundee and across the Tay bridge to Fife to avoid the motorways and then over the Queensferry crossomgto Edinburgh and A roads to Moffat.
    If you have longer you can go from Inverness along the Moray coast (lots of scenic routes off the main A96) all the wat to Fraserburgh and then down the east coast all the wat to the Queensferry crossing (longer but equally scenic in terms of roads and views) all depends on time you have from Thurso and what you prefer to see. I can give you some ideas if you let me know what you like :upyeah:
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  3. Going south from Thurso you don't have much alternative to the A9. if you're not bothered about John o' Groats you could cut over to Wick either from Castletown or Halkirk and miss out a bit, but you have no option down to Dornoch. However the northern part of the A9 is quite a good road with some brilliant corners especially at Berriedale and Helmsdale.
    You could try the Struie road as an alternative once you are over the Dornoch bridge - the blue route in this Google maps screen shot.
    Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 09.13.05.png
    Or you could head for Bonar Bridge and continue onto the same route.
    From Evanton you could continue on to Dingwall, Muir of Ord and Beauly and come into Inverness from that direction, missing out the Black Isle, but there's not much to be gained. Your real trouble with the A9 will be south of Inverness. It is very busy, boring and has average speed cameras on all the single carriageway sections, of which there are many. On a bike, south of Tomatin you can largely ignore them at your peril but north of there they are rear facing so watch out.
    Depending on where you are heading there are alternatives to get to Perth.
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  4. Ah yes, I was assuming A9 south of Inverness, north of Inverness it is not the ball ache everybody knows with average speed cameras......
  5. South of Inverness what Harry says but don't go as far as Aviemore, turn off for Carrbridge. My own preference is to miss out the A9 altogether. Head out of Inverness for Culloden and Cawdor then over Dava Moor to Grantown-on-Spey .
    Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 09.36.03.png
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Agree, Aviemore was mentioned as a place name to get the route and maybe somewhere to eat, there's little else reason to go to it but loads of good roads in the area - how much time have you got?
    Nethy Bridge is a cute place if you can get a B&B or Coylumbridge has an expensive hotel.
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  7. Coastal route;
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  8. Ha Ha! He'll be doing EC (East Coast) 300 as well.
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    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. I keep hearing they are trying to get that going with tourists - don't want that, all them camper vans getting in then way :D
  10. Brilliant, thank you Harry and Derek.
    I’ll have a look at your suggestions, I may be back for more info......
  11. When I go back, I may go up the west coast and turn around and come back down the same coast. :thinkingface:
  12. As long as you miss the main roads south of Inverness there are loads of options down the west , middle or east :upyeah: A9 sucks
  13. I was thinking about that very same thing, or maybe visit the Isle of Skye etc.
    Harry and Derek have given me a few options to think about.
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  14. The north east is usually ignored but depending on what you want to see there's loads of stuff available and quiet bike friendly roads. The west coast is more dramatic in terms of mountains for sure but has loads of campervans and rain in comparison think west wales v's east anglia
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