Route advice: Darlington to Aviemore

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  • Route advice: Darlington to Aviemore
  • Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    My sister’s recently move to near Aviemore, so I’m going to ride up there in the summer.

    Any suggestions for a route there from north east England? I’ll probably ride my cyclocross bike so no major off-road, but I’d prefer quiet roads and easy off-road. Was thinking of riding over/up to Alston then picking up a Sustrans route to Glasgow and then on to Aviemore?

    I’ll probably bivvy and eat in cafes/pubs, rather than messing about with hostels or campsites.

    nbt
    Member

    The sustrans route follows the A9 through the Dumochter pass which is pretty spectacular. Alternatively you could could go from perth towards Braemar and through the Lairig Ghru down in to Aviemore

    Edit – just read properly and on a CX I’d take the drumochter route rather than the Lairig Ghru

    mcmoonter
    Member

    I don’t know much about the Sustrans routes south of the Forth or towards Glasgow, but the route up through Fife from the FRB over the Cleish Hill to Kinross, around Loch Leven to Glenfarg over the Tay and up to Aviemore is a great ride. Quiet, scenic, mixed road surfaces. There may even be some bivi opportunities in the bird hides around Loch Leven if pushed.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    for a slight variation you could follow the Gaick Pass (just short of Drumochter Pass) which pitches you out on side roads (by Ruthven Barracks) to the E of the A9, and very pleasant it is too. It’s a bit rocky for a mile at highest point, but should be mostly do-able on CX bike. Gives a flavour of the scenery / geography.

    Premier Icon surroundedbyhills
    Subscriber

    NCN 1 goes up East Coast I met an old couple on FRB a few years back who had come up from Newcastle.

    +1 ^^Mcmoonter route N of E’burg or from Dunfermline head for Crieff and then Aberfeldy, not an NCN but a great route nonetheless and very quiet compared with roads down south.

    butcher
    Member

    Route 1 will take you up from Tynemouth to Edinburgh, on a nice mix of cycle tracks and quiet country roads. More of the latter the further North you get. Nice coastal views, and very, very flat. And you could easily get on to a route from Edinburgh, I’m sure.

    Don’t know what the best way from Darlo would be.

    Heading to Alston actually looks a much less stressful route, getting into the wilderness pretty quickly, but by God, the hills! I’m sure you know this already though.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the route advice so far; I’ve been trying to use the Cycle Streets planner, but it won’t do the whole journey in one go and using Glasgow as an end/start point fixes the middle of the route too much; I will happily bypass the city altogether.

    Lots of ideas to play with above, cheers.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    My favourite route through the Scottish Borders is the B709 from Langholm, past Innerleithen and on almost to Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic and very quiet road – and passes a Tibetan Monastery that does nice food. The formal route north to Glasgow runs along the M74 in sections and isn’t that great (in my opinion).

    NCN 7 from Glasgow is an excellent option, with some light off-road sections. An alternative (again on quiet roads) is to head north from Kenmore to Tummel Bridge and Trinafour. That cuts out Pitlochry/Blair Atholl. If you choose the B709 option above then just follow that into/round Edinburgh, cross the Forth Road Bridge and use mcmoonters Cleish Hills route to Muckhart, Gleneagles and Crieff before heading to Aberfeldy and on to the Trinafour section.

    Once you are closer to Aviemore there are some good off-road alternatives by following the Badenoch Way at Tromie Bridge and through Inshriach. With a bit of notice I’d be only too happy to “pilot” you through these bits 🙂

    Would a GPX file be of any use to you? I could cannibalize the one I recorded during a LeJOG.

    nbt
    Member

    I’ve just had a look at the cycle streets planner and must say wasn’t overly impressed. Afterchatting to a guy I met at a NYE party, I’ve been considering a route from Glasgow to Inverness, but the CSP route doesn;t seem to consider any of the sustrans route at all – it’s either west highland way to fort william then up the great glen, or all the way round via perth and aberdeen! I was expecting something close to McMoonter’s route via Aberfeldy and Crieff

    Premier Icon surroundedbyhills
    Subscriber

    For the avoidence of doubt.. Mcmoonters route via L Leven keeps you to the east of the A9, I think.

    To get to Abefeldy (via Muckhart, Gleneagles, Crieff) you need to go Nwest at Dunfermline on the A823.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    NCN1 from FRB to Cleish and then left on the B9097. Definitely nicer than the A823

    bajsyckel
    Member

    [edit – forgot to post this earlier, I spy some similar recommendations that were posted in the meantime]

    I’ve done similar before albeit with different start/end points but my preferred combination of roads (also riding a cx bike) is into the Pennines, north over the wall, up through Kielder, down through Hawick, Innerleithen, Edinburgh and through Fife as mcmoonter suggests (not too sure on alternatives in Fife though). Then either (1) Aberfeldy-ish, Loch Tummel-ish, out onto the A9, sustrans to Ruthven and along the back road, or (2) via Dundee-ish, Kirriemuir, Glenshee, Braemar, Grantown and the back road.

    Using either of those as a basis you could stick in some nice offroad bits in the Pennines, a detour through the Cheviots to the coast or stay inland and use some of the Borders drove roads and so on into Edinburgh. After that there’s good off road stuff in option 1 between the various lochs in S. Perthshire (i.e. West of A9) then heading north into the Gaick, or via option 2 into the Angus Glens as far as Deeside and maybe picking up some of the estate tracks in the Cairngorms, finishing off with some great woods stuff either way. Though when you get to planning the off road stuff there is so much potential that would take you months to ride if you linked it all up in one go.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Loads of options, thanks again 🙂

    Hopefully, my sister stays in the area for a long while, so I get to try out all the different routes up there.

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