Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Plan Day 8: Nine-Oh....

Plan for Day 8: Fort William to Wick (Caithness, not Littlehampton)
(369 miles approx 8.5 hours)

Day 8 leads me round the top end of Britain, heading around the Scottish north coast. Or that's the plan at least. What was originally planned as the longest day of the trip (I was going to go to Inverness) is now the second longest, with Day 9 winning that dubious prize now by a long way. With the places I wanted to stop I was going to get a really long day on one of the Scottish legs, and thought it more sensible to at least do it on the side of the country with better roads. Day 9 will also be Easter Sunday which will mean I can hopefully make lots of progress by leaving early! Anyway, back to Day 8...

Before going into detail on the route, there is a wee problem with the Day 8 route at the moment. The A890 is closed at Stromeferry due to a landslide. It has been so for months. There is a 6-car ferry in operation instead, but with priority to local traffic (which won't be me obviously) and the diversion by road is 120-miles. Needless to say, I have an alternate route planned as well, which is about the same length but leaves out the A890.

The sign was unfortunately correct.
© Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Both routes head north out of Fort William on the A82 heading up alongside Loch Lochy, which really is my favourite name for a loch. At Invergarry it's a left onto the A87 and at the A887 the planned route is left, with the alternative to the right. The planned route then heads to Auchtertyre where it is hopefully onto the A890 and then the A896 to Loch Maree. A lot of this bit of the route is on single-track roads, which will slow progress down somewhat, though looking at the street-view images "single-track road" in this case means plenty of passing places and being able to see anything heading towards you well in advanced. As opposed to in Sussex where "single-track road" usually means being surrounded by steep banks on both sides, passing places if you are lucky, lots of blind corners and drivers heading at you without taking a lot of notice of these things! The alternative route heads up the side of Loch Ness, through Muir of Ord and onto the A832 much further west. From this point both routes are the same.

After a lot of wiggling around on the A832 its then up the A835 to Ullapool. There are then various roads that meet at nowhere in particular as I will make my way around the north coast. Epic scenery will ensue no doubt. Eventually I will get to Thurso and then will get to the most northerly point of my journey about here. Which I will probably miss. It will then be right onto the A99 at John O'Groats for the last short stretch to Wick.

Single-Track road Scottish-stlye
© Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for
 reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Single-Track Road, Sussex-style
 © Copyright Shazz and licensed for 
 under this Creative Commons Licence 

Directions for the planned route are (note the lack of roads meeting in actual places...):

  1. A82 to Invergarry
  2. At Invergarry, left onto A87
  3. Follow A87 to Auchtertyre
  4. Right onto A890
  5. Left onto A896
  6. Left onto A832
  7. Left onto A835
  8. Stay on A835 through Ullapool
  9. Left onto A837
  10. Right onto A894
  11. Becomse A838 at Laxford Bridge
  12. Road becomes A836 at Tongue
  13. Follow A836 through Thurso
  14. Right onto A99
  15. A99 to Wick
Maps are: 

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