Friday, 5 June 2015

Coigach & Assynt bike ride

The day after tackling Suilven we headed out on the bikes to follow a route which is highly regarded as one of Britain’s best cycle rides. I have to say the scenery was stunning and along with the remoteness of some of the roads which were generally in good condition it made this ride an absolute joy, although I wasn’t thinking that while we were climbing some of the steep gradients on the B869.
Our route took us from the cottage along the road under Stac Pollaidh until we turned right onto the scenic coastal road up to Lochinver, once in Lochinver we stopped at the Lochinver Larder and enjoyed some bacon/sausage baguettes, they were cracking and helped set us up for the ride ahead. We followed the A837 up the hill out of town then turned left onto the B869 to Clachtoll. It wasn’t long before we were climbing again this time up to a viewpoint which looks back to Canisp, Suilven & Cul Mor. We briefly stopped here to admire the view before continuing on past Clachtoll, Stoer and the nice looking beach at Clashnessie. We stopped again at the viewpoint in Drumberg then another café stop at the Little Soap & Candle shop also in Drumbeg, this is sign posted as a Secret Tea Garden.

Video of the ride taken on my GoPro Hero mounted on handlebars

From here to the junction with the A894 the gradients get harder, with plenty of chevrons and double chevrons on the OS Map. But you are rewarded for your efforts with some lovely scenery and some good views of Quinag, although on this occasion it was covered in cloud. Once we hit the A894 the weather changed and we were pelted with rain, typical we had just enjoyed some sun from Drumbeg but now just as we were faced with a 3 mile climb it lashed it down on us, nice! Once at the top we now had an enjoyable long safe descent down to the A837. The legs were starting to feel it now and we stopped to top up on flapjack in a layby before pushing on. We then turned right onto the A835 and almost came to stop it was like hitting a brick wall as the head wind was so strong, this was not very helpful on already tired legs and when we saw a sign for the Elphin Tea Room. It had to be done, so 3 café stops in total. This time a warm cheese scone and pot of tea, it was lovely. After we reluctantly stepped back outside into the wind and rain and continued onwards with another long climb up past Knockan Crag this time against a strong head wind and heavy rain…… really nice!

We eventually reached the top and freewheeled down to the right turn towards Achiltibuie, this road took us back to the cottage and we finished the ride with some nice views of Stac Pollaidh. This was a tough 100km ride but equally the scenery was very rewarding and this helped when going got tough. I took my entry level GoPro Hero on this ride and managed to take some video to try and capture some of the scenery on offer.

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