‘Fern lines the hill­sides in a du­vet of green & brown’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - By Si­mon Har­g­reaves

Stick a pin into a map of the High­lands and you’ll strug­gle to hit any­thing but an out­stand­ing road – the tar­mac is rou­tinely fan­tas­tic and, on the rare oc­ca­sions it isn’t, the eye-pop­ping panora­mas al­ways are. To say noth­ing of a full Scot­tish break­fast be­fore you set off. One of the finest roads is the A87. It feeds off the A82 – the trunk route run­ning along the Great Glen be­tween In­ver­ness and Fort Wil­liam – at the vil­lage of In­ver­garry on the shores of Loch Oich. The first mile or so is in a 40mph zone – but then a long sweep­ing right-han­der an­nounces the road proper. The road climbs with a steady flow of mid-speed cor­ners along­side the banks of Loch Garry – with that grippy, grainy Scots sur­face that looks like it’s just as grippy wet as dry – un­til, after around five miles, the tree­line re­cedes, gives way to a heath­ery moor­land, and the view opens out across the dark mir­ror of the loch’s wa­ters to the moun­tains be­yond.

The first set of tight turns ap­pear – swoop over a right, then left, a short straight, into a tighter left, cut back for a right – and then over the top of what turns out to be con­nect­ing ridge of hills with a view of Loch Loyne be­low to the left. Drop down past the dam and meet the A887. Turn

left, stay­ing on the A87 – now you’re head­ing west, spear­ing along the rapid, pale grey tar­mac, lined by Armco and flank­ing the low bank of Loch Clu­anie. Be­ware here; it’s easy to get dis­ori­en­tated by moun­tain­ous per­spec­tive and find your speed creep­ing into triple fig­ures. Dwarfed by the land­scape, 100mph feels like you’re barely mov­ing.

Past the Clu­anie Inn – food and fuel if you need them – and on­wards, now keep­ing track of the River Clu­anie. There have been many an­cient bat­tles fought in this glen and it’s not hard to imag­ine the ring of clay­mores and spilled blood stain­ing the heather. The road slims as it winds down­wards, fern fronds lin­ing the hill­sides in a du­vet of green and brown, pass­ing through Shiel (more fuel) with the ridge of the Five Sis­ters of Kin­tail rising to the right. We’re now at the south­ern end of Loch Duich, pass­ing through vil­lages, be­fore reach­ing the end of this part of your High­land ride at Eilean Do­nan Cas­tle – made fa­mous in the movie High­lander.

From here you can stay on the A87 to Skye – you re­ally must, if you haven’t – or peel off north on the A890 to­wards Lochcar­ron and Ap­ple­cross. Again, if you haven’t you re­ally must. And if you can’t de­cide... stick a pin in the map.

‘The tar­mac is rou­tinely fan­tas­tic and the panora­mas are eye-pop­ping’

Swoop­ing from left to right and back again, this road is an ab­so­lute treat

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