It’s Scot to be done

This wild and re­mote route will amaze

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Any­one’s who’s tra­versed the sky-blown empti­ness of Suther­land, Scot­land’s most north-westerly county, knows just how spe­cial it is, but if you’re af­ter gen­uine soli­tude then head fur­ther north. Dur­ness is one of a num­ber of small vil­lages ly­ing in the north-west cor­ner of the High­lands. It’s on the A838, the main loop run­ning around the top of Scot­land and part of the North Coast 500 route. From an overnight stop at the Smoo Cave Ho­tel, head east to­wards John o’groats. The road jinks and un­winds past in­cred­i­ble beaches – all snow-white sands and crys­tal blue sea – and low, rocky hills. Even­tu­ally the A838 crosses a low bridge and cause­way over the Kyle of Tongue, into the vil­lage of Tongue. Rid­ers fol­low­ing the North Coast 500 will pass straight through and carry on to John o’groats. But if you turn off onto the A836 and head due south in­stead, a dif­fer­ent kind of drama awaits. The High­lands re­gion, which you’re bi­sect­ing, is an area the size of Wales with the pop­u­la­tion of the size of Dover. And as you ride along the A836, you’ll be as re­mote as it’s pos­si­ble to be on the UK main­land (even though it’s only 40 miles be­fore Lairg). The A836 isn’t a clas­sic in terms of ac­tual rid­ing. Any sort of speed is likely to end in a one-on-one sheep/ bike in­ter­face. But the real joy is the mag­nif­i­cent iso­la­tion – as you head to­wards the banks of Loch Loyal, strad­dled on ei­ther side by the knob­bly peaks of Ben Loyal on the right and the flat top of Beinn Stru­manadh on the left, an eerie still­ness de­scends.

sheep You’ll not see an­other hu­man for miles, the same may not be true for NORTH SCOT­LAND

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