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UK May-June v0.2

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UK May-June v0.2

Old 03-10-23, 06:25 PM
  #1  
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UK May-June v0.2

I'll be coming from Calais (France), landing in Dover (UK).
  1. Northbound EV12 up to John O'Groats (unlikely to have enough time to push north to the Shetlands, although it might motivate me to ride longer days....) (in red)
  2. Southbound along the JOGLE (Cicerone route -- thanks for the suggestion) to Bath, and then improvising a route to Portsmouth, and ferry back to Cherbourg (in light blue)
Q&D plan suggests 3300 kms over 33 days. I can perhaps find a couple of extra days in order to have zero days in the bank, so this seems reasonable (especially since Cicerone suggests legs of 100-130 kms)

Two questions:
  1. Inverness - John O'Groats is more or less along EV12 in both directions. What about the coastline (clockwise or counter)? Not safe?
  2. From what I understand, Scotland allows wild camping. Different story in England. Tons of caravan parks all over the map but few campsites. Will caravan parks allow me to pitch my (tiny) tent on their site for a reasonable price? Is warmshowers a better bet?
I'll read any suggestion/comment with interest (sorry for the over sized pic. Q&D gpx imports on Google Earth...)

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Old 03-10-23, 10:41 PM
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A few comments:

If you donít want to ride the same roads both ways to the far north of Scotland, consider taking the ferry from Aberdeen to Orkney (the island group between the Shetland Islands and Thurso) or even to the Shetlands, riding and island hopping back to mainland Scotland near JOG and riding south from there.

If you have the time on your last leg, detour through the New Forest to catch the ferry to the west end of the Isle of Wight, then bike to the north east coast to catch the ferry to Portsmouth.
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Old 03-10-23, 11:23 PM
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Reddleman thanks. Both suggestions are excellent.
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Old 03-11-23, 04:21 AM
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Some further thoughts on your ideas, bearing in mind Iíve been mostly out of the UK for the last six years or so:

1) Thereís this thing called the North Coast 500 to attract tourists to the far north of Scotland. What this means, as far as Iíve read, is that both coastal routes north of Inverness are now packed with campervans. Iíve not driven those particular roads but if theyíre anything like those the West Highlands then theyíre not going to be much fun on a bike when sharing the narrow, windy roads with folks whoíve never driven a campervan before. Staying up the centre on EV12 keeps you away from those types.

2) A lot of your route in England is up the east coast, where there will be a lot of caravan parks. Some may well charge you less for just a tent without power. The parks are more grassy than the gravelled RV parks of North America. Other camping options include the Caravan and Camping Clubís members-only tent sites (could be worth joining, they have a tent section and a bike camping section from memory) and the YHA hostels, many of which offer camping now while allowing use of their indoor facilities. Post-COVID, itís been said that more farmers etc have been setting up basic campsites with limited facilities to cater for a growth in camping in the UK.

One more thing - check school holidays and public holidays. Thereís two public holidays in May in England (first Monday and last Monday) and the last week is often a school holiday. Things will be different in Scotland and possibly too in Wales if you scoot across the border when heading back to the west of Birmingham. That may limit your accommodation options or mean you might have to book in advance. Iím not sure if youíll be in the country for the coronation which I think is in May but thatíll cause merry hell due to royalists and tourists flocking to London and everyone else taking advantage of another day off work to go somewhere on holidayÖ
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Old 03-11-23, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Reddleman
Some further thoughts on your ideas, bearing in mind Iíve been mostly out of the UK for the last six years or so:

1) Thereís this thing called the North Coast 500 to attract tourists to the far north of Scotland. What this means, as far as Iíve read, is that both coastal routes north of Inverness are now packed with campervans. Iíve not driven those particular roads but if theyíre anything like those the West Highlands then theyíre not going to be much fun on a bike when sharing the narrow, windy roads with folks whoíve never driven a campervan before. Staying up the centre on EV12 keeps you away from those types.

2) A lot of your route in England is up the east coast, where there will be a lot of caravan parks. Some may well charge you less for just a tent without power. The parks are more grassy than the gravelled RV parks of North America. Other camping options include the Caravan and Camping Clubís members-only tent sites (could be worth joining, they have a tent section and a bike camping section from memory) and the YHA hostels, many of which offer camping now while allowing use of their indoor facilities. Post-COVID, itís been said that more farmers etc have been setting up basic campsites with limited facilities to cater for a growth in camping in the UK.

One more thing - check school holidays and public holidays. Thereís two public holidays in May in England (first Monday and last Monday) and the last week is often a school holiday. Things will be different in Scotland and possibly too in Wales if you scoot across the border when heading back to the west of Birmingham. That may limit your accommodation options or mean you might have to book in advance. Iím not sure if youíll be in the country for the coronation which I think is in May but thatíll cause merry hell due to royalists and tourists flocking to London and everyone else taking advantage of another day off work to go somewhere on holidayÖ
there's an extra bank holiday in May due to the coronation- 2nd weekend.
for campsites, check websites like pitch-up. You'll get a list of sites in the area. But mostly they are farmers fields with basic facilities.
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Old 03-11-23, 02:01 PM
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There's a published LEJoG route, "End to End - A Safer Way" by Royston Wood, that uses the A9 and A99 north of Inverness, along the east coast.

Hey, Royston, buy you a pint or two in a pub someday, but...are you mad? The A9 and A99 are narrow with no shoulder (typical of UK 'A' roads) and carry massive traffic at speed.

There's a reason everybody goes through Crask Inn.

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.
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John o'Groats is just 8 miles from Burwick, Orkney by ferry.
From Kirkwall, Orkney to Lerwick, Shetland is another 130 miles by ferry. (There's also an air option.)
You get to John oGroats, the Orkneys are 'just over there'. You can see South Ronaldsay. You can take the other ferry back from Stromness to Scrabster (Thurso).
Got a couple of extra days in the schedule? Do the Orkneys. Amazing place.

Fun memory: My wife and I playing hnefatafl (the old game with one king) in Kirkwall while eating haggis and clapshot washed down with Scapa Glansa.

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Somewhere I saw a 'Benny Hill LEJoG', rambling around the UK and passing through a couple dozen places with rude, naughty and smirk-inducing names, from *******-Bay in Cornwall to ***** in Orkney.

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Old 03-11-23, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Southbound along the JOGLE (Cicerone route -- thanks for the suggestion)
Cicerone mostly uses the A82 between Glencoe and Loch Lomand. Me personally, I'd use Sustrans' route between Inverness and Glasgow.
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Old 03-12-23, 09:27 PM
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I'll check on this. Thanks
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Old 03-13-23, 09:10 AM
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"Cicerone mostly uses the A82 between Glencoe and Loch Lomand."

Just no. That is a local road to me. I have driven it scores of times. It carries heavy traffic May onwards. It is narrow lanes with either heavy traffic or if there is gaps in the traffic the cars are doing 65-75mph. I have cycled short sections as part of a bigger route. Like 5 miles max. Not enjoyable. Watching the mirror the whole time.

On my Lands End to John O-Groats I went via Glasgow (home) then pretty much NCN7 the whole way. That would work as an alternate route south.

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/find-a-r...etwork/route-7

TBH going to JOG and back, no matter what the route is not seeing the best of Scotland. If you have that much time a route around the western isles linking ferries is far better. This sort of thing.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...c_id=1366&v=Ea

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=299058&v=8N

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=14685&v=H5

PS if you want to skip some urban cycling in central Scotland the Glasgow - Edinburgh trains carry bikes without booking. Just roll on. Same with the Glasgow local services which get you from Glasgow to the ports like Gourock or Ardrossan.

Trains further north need bike spaces booked.
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Old 03-13-23, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
.....Q&D plan suggests 3300 kms over 33 days. I can perhaps find a couple of extra days in order to have zero days in the bank, so this seems reasonable (especially since Cicerone suggests legs of 100-130 kms)
Style question:

Sounds like youre not leaving any days off for exploring an interesting small city on foot. I'd hate to go past an amazing historic place with a great cathedral and not spend two nights there so I can have a full day to wander in depth - and I think England and Scotland offer many of these. But thats my style of touring

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Old 03-13-23, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Sounds like youre not leaving any days off for exploring an interesting small city on foot.
That's life great tragedy -- so much to do, so little time. I'd really like to be able to push north to the Shetland Islands. If I were drawn to spend time exploring quaint villages, I could catch a train. But then again it would mean not riding through other quaint villages. This is life's great tragedy ...
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Old 03-13-23, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by irc
TBH going to JOG and back, no matter what the route is not seeing the best of Scotland. If you have that much time a route around the western isles linking ferries is far better.
An opinion offered by a Moulton Club member: a hebride connected to the mainland by causeway or bridge was likely to be covered with cars and caravans and choked with tourists in season. A hebride connected only by ferry was cycletouring heaven on earth. Just one opinion; YMMV.

Anyway, there's no official route; you're on an End-to-End so long as you're making a continuous journey.
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Old 03-13-23, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
I'd really like to be able to push north to the Shetland Islands. ...

One word: Muckle Flugga.

https://alastairhumphreys.com/microadventure-islands/
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Old 03-13-23, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
That's life great tragedy -- so much to do, so little time. I'd really like to be able to push north to the Shetland Islands. If I were drawn to spend time exploring quaint villages, I could catch a train. But then again it would mean not riding through other quaint villages. This is life's great tragedy ...
Depends what you like. For me I prefer 2 or 3 days fairly solid riding for every one day digging deep in one place - which may still involve getting around a city or vicinity by bike. That makes my trips a bit shorter distance overall than they could be. But the point of bike travel to me is to have both breadth and depth. Whatever style suits you.

I did travel in Orkney once when I was touring by buses and ferries. Rented a bike there and did a terrific day ride around the main island, stopping at various sights.

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Old 03-14-23, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
That's life great tragedy -- so much to do, so little time. I'd really like to be able to push north to the Shetland Islands. .
It's an 8-mile ferry ride from John o'Groats to Burwick, Orkney. From Burwick, it's a 20-mile bike ride to Kirkwall Airport. From Kirkwall Airport, it's a 40-minute Loganair flight to Sumburgh, Shetland. Bob's your uncle.


Also: Fly to Sumburgh direct from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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