01 September 2012

The Western Isles & Scottish Highlands

Ever since I moved to the UK, I have heard good things about Scotland. A few years ago I became interested in the cycling possibilities of our neighbour country, and so I started doing my research.

After so many thoughts thrown at possible routes, and quite a few consultations with other cyclists, the Western Isles (Inner Hebrides) seem a good starting point. It would also be the perfect holiday for finishing my PhD. September is also recommended as a good time to go up North, with relatively mild temperatures and chances of decent weather. I will be, for the first time, touring solo, as Lucy will be on the other side of the Atlantic spending time with her family. If I like it, I sure will take her with me next time.
I will train it to somewhere near Ardrossan, ferry over to Arran and up North onwards to the cycle utopia that the Isle of Mull appears to be, perhaps on to Skye and eventually East to Inverness. I have 10 days and have not planned much. I will be wild-camping as often as the Scottish weather (and midges!) allows me to. I have even packed my swimsuit and perhaps I can even get a tan in one of the beautiful beaches along the road...?

A very rough route is shown below...but it is possible that I avoid Skye in favour of more Highlands if time isn't too tight. 


This is what I am (hopefully) expecting to see. Picture taken from the superb travel blog of James Trickey's
I will be happy to hear your comments or suggestions if you've toured around any of the areas I am planning to touch on.


  1. 1. I have a relatives near Inverness. I'm sure they would put you up for a night at the end of your ride, if you wish. Or let you camp in their field, but I wouldn't recommend the one with the cows in it. Highland Cows, with big horns.
    2. Loch Ness is a bit Marmite. Some think it is fantastic, and some believe that the monster was made up so that people would actually visit it.
    3. Ullapool has a fantastic Fish and Chip shop. Try it, even if you have tried and not really liked this British delicacy.

  2. Thanks, I have passed on your comments to Alberto who is not on the internet (he's barely getting mobile coverage!) He says some other cyclists he met also told him about the fish & chips in Ullapool!! :-)

  3. Hi James! Lucy did tell me about your suggestions, many thanks for that

    1. Got very scared on a fantastic descent in the Isle of Mull when confronted with one of those big cows in a tiny little road. It was just the two of us and the horns. Luckily she did not bother even looking at me, to my relief ;)
    2. Regarding your relatives near Inverness, will take you up on that offer next year. Already convinced Lucy about a trip to the Outer Hebrides!
    3. Loch Ness only saw a bit of it, on the less touristy side. Will be posting some pictures of it, still quite impressive when seen for the first time on a clear day from the very top at the town of Dores.
    4. Ullapool was not featured on this trip, but will certainly be on the next one. The only fish & chips I had was in Tobermory, and that was bad...

    Will be posting pictures etc soon. Although I got rained on every day, I also had plenty of sun, and midges... Had a great time overall!

  4. What a fantastic route. Bad luck with the midges, they should have gone by now.

    If you ever get a chance, early-mid summer on the Western Isles are fantastic.

    Philip W

  5. Apparently the odd weather over the summer was responsible for those midges being still alive. We're going to attempt the Outer Hebrides in early summer or late spring in 2013, so already in our plans ;)