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Cycling Ullapool to Lairg – Best Cycle Routes Scotland

Posted on Jan 19, 2017 by Tim Francis

Wilderness Guide and cycling fanatic Tim Francis shares the second of his Best Cycle Routes in Scotland.

A sense of timelessness and wild beauty pervades this part of Scotland. Cycling Ullapool to Lairg traverses the ancient and geologically fascinating landscape of the North West Highlands.

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Route: Ullapool to Lairg, North West Highlands

Route data

  • Distance: 44.6 miles (71.8 km)
  • Duration: Approx 5 hours, 30 minutes
  • Minimum Elevation: 4 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 264 m
  • Total climb: 899 m (3,100 ft)

I had been looking forward to this day for quite a while. Earlier in the year I had a sublime walk in the mountains of Inverpolly.

“This remote landscape is a wealth of mind-boggling 360 degree views and astounding geology. The prospect of cycling Ullapool to Lairg through it all gave me tingles.”

After the climb up out of Ullapool the views generally start to open up. During our tea stop in Elphin the clouds shed some of the water that had been hanging heavily over the peaks. As the clouds lifted they revealed the inselbergs that had been hidden from view. After the warmth of a hot chocolate in Elphin we continued the ride in a drier brighter day.

It became a different place as the views stretched away and the grandeur was revealed. The route ahead was stunning in its quiet isolation and lack of any vehicle what so ever. The road became mostly single track sweeping through sublime Glen Oykle. For some time we wondered if the world had been subjected to some catastrophe. Were we the only souls left to survive?

The route just cried out for cadence as we swept along amidst the flowing beauty. To top the day off I got a climb in after Rosehall leaving the A837 on the A839 towards Lairg. A memorable day indeed.

GPX Cucling Ullapool to Lairg route

About the author

Tim Francis

Tim's a passionate biker and hill-walker, who was a business development manager in a former life and spent 4 amazing years working in South America. Lucky for us he's returned to the Highlands to live and become a mountain biking and walking guide.

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