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Far North Roadtrip 2012

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The trip to the Far North of Scotland from 2–7 August 2012.


According to rileyrob:

Drive from one overnight point to the next whilst visiting as many points of Sabristic interest and driving as many interesting roads as possible in between. There are some big bridges I'd like to get some photos of (Kylesku Bridge, Kyle of Tongue) and both Haydn and I seem pretty keen on criss-crossing the heart of Sutherland on the A837/A838 or something similar. There is also still the option for some or all of the group to cross to Orkney on the Saturday if desired (as detailed upthread). My view is that each day can be organised the night before, allowing for weather and tiredness, but hopefully trying to fit in as much as possible.

Overnight stops

  1. Corran Ferry Bunkhouse
  2. Invershin Hotel, Invershin (near Bonar Bridge)
  3. Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
  4. Inchnadamph Lodge
  5. Corran Ferry Bunkhouse


Progress Blog

GPS trace for day

  1. "Passing Dull"
  2. To Invershin via Inverness
  3. Sutherland to John o' Groats
  4. John o' Groats to Inchnadamph
  5. Inchnadamph to Corran Ferry
  6. Back South

Day 1 - Heading north

The English group met at Carnforth and headed up the M6 to Gretna where they mey Rob, then on up the A74(M) and M74 to Glasgow, taking the M73, M80 and M876 to the Clackmannanshire Bridge. From then, heading up to Crieff on the A977, A823, stopping at Rumbling Bridge and onto the A822 to Aberfeldy on the A826. After crossing Aberfeldy Bridge, it was the B846 and a minor road to Kenmore, then along Loch Tay to Crianlarich and up the A82 to the Corran Ferry. The Bunkhouse was just off the A82, but we crossed the ferry to the Ardgour Inn for tea.

Day 2 - Loch Ness & Easter Ross

An early start, up through Fort William, and on to Fort Augustus where we met Glen. After a quick look at the old Fort Augustus Bridge, we headed north up the east side of Loch Ness, along the B862, B852 and various minor roads which Glen had devised to take in some obscure sights and unimaginable roads. This included a 'corkscrew' of steep zig-zags climbing out of Inverfarigaig followed by some gates to open.

After a quick stop in Inverness, it was on, northwards stopping on both sides of the Kessock Bridge, before heading east across the Black Isle on the B9161, A832 and some minor roads to Cromarty and out to South Sutor. Back along the B9163 and over the Cromarty Bridge to the A9, and then a short blast out to Tain for Truvelo's benefit. More stops to see the Dornoch Firth Bridge, then north and onto the A839 west to Lairg, before doubling back southwards down the A836 to Invershin, our stop for the night. After tea, we took a walk across the railway viaduct.

Day 3 - East Sutherland and Caithness

After breakfast, we set off north again, taking in the B864 back to Lairg, and then the A836 north through the wilds of Sutherland to Altnaharra. From there it was east on the B873 to Syre, and then back south-east on the B871 to Kinbrace. A short run down the [{A897]] to Kildonan, and then more car-breaking minor roads over the hills to Helmsdale for lunch. After so much excitement in the morning, you may be forgiven for thinking it was an easy run north on the A9 to John O'Groats. But, no.

We took a look at the new road at Ord of Caithness, and stopped at the Berriedale Braes and Dunbeath Bridge. Then north to Wick on the A99. Beyond Wick, we took the B8767 across Caithness, and then doubled back along the A836, detouring onto the B855 to Dunnet Head, before finally reaching the hotel at John O'Groats. After tea this evening, some of us took a wander out to the the end of the A99, and along the coast towards (but not reaching) Duncansby Head.

Day 4 - The Far North West

After driving out to Duncansby Head, we headed west, through Thurso on the A836, detouring to Scrabster at the end of the A9, and on along the north coast. The mist started to lift around Melvich, and then after passing Bettyhill we turned south at Tongue on the A836 down to Altnaharra once more. From here it was another car-battering minor road north, past the Broch below Ben Hope and back to the A838 at Hope. We doubled back to Tongue, across the causeway on the A838, before taking the old road around the Kyle of Tongue.

Heading west once more, around Loch Eriboll, next stop was Durness, and the Smoo Caves, before turning south, past Cape Wrath to Rhiconich. Here we detoured out and back on the B801 to Kinlochbervie before reaching Laxford Bridge. Onto the A894, and a detour around Tarbert on a minor road before reaching Scourie. Then south across the Kylesku Bridge, where we met Burns. Time was marching on, so we headed south again to Inchnadamph and the hostel. For tea, we initially headed across the river to the nearby hotel, but being very much less than impressed, we went back to the cars and headed for Ullapool, where we enjoyed a warm welcome and excellent food.

Day 5 - Assynt

We set off north once more, stopping at Ardvreck Castle before taking the stunning, but slow, B869 around the coast to Lochinver. After lunch, we took the quiet minor road south into Coigach, but were running out of time to reach Achiltibuie, so headed back into Ullapool instead. Down the A835, we stopped at the Corrieshalloch Gorge at the Blackwater Bridge at Strathgarve and again at the Rogie Falls.

Glen still hadn't had enough minor roads, and so he led us west from Contin around to the Loch Meig Dam, before we finally rejoined the A832 at Marybank, and after stopping to say goodbye to Glen on the A833, it was straight down the A82 to Corran for the last night before the English contingent headed south on Day 6.

Far North Roadtrip 2012
Related Pictures
View gallery (3)
Strathgarve-br3.jpgU2810 Glen Loth Road - Kildonan warning sign.jpgU2810 Glen Loth Road viewpoint.jpg
Sabre Scottish Roadtrips
HighlandsHighland Roadtrip 2010 • Highland Roadtrip 2011 • Far North Roadtrip 2012 • Far North Roadtrip 2014 • Highland Roadtrip 2015 • Highland Roadtrip 2016 • Chasing Snow on the NC500 • North East Highland Roadtrip 2018
IslandsWestern Isles Trip 2013 • Island Roadtrip 2014
Perthshire2011 Perth and Braemar Awayday • Perth and A9 Awayday
South ScotlandGalloway Roadtrip 2013
Other Scottish TripsSheffield to Fort William • Operation Broadsword • The Wiki Men in Plockton • Four Bridges Challenge

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