Monday, 16 May 2011

Dumb Dumpers Spoil Nairn-Inverness Cycle Route And Footpath

It's always seemed bonkers to me the National Cycle Route between Inverness and Nairn takes 28 miles, wiggling its way up and down the hills behind Cawdor when of course motorists get an almost arrow-straight journey of fifteen miles.

Part of me wonders if the easiest way to improve the cycle link is to bolt a bike lane onto the side of the new dual carriageway between Inverness and Nairn - whenever that arrives. But actually, cycling next to four lanes of thundering traffic is pretty horrible and dangerous. Best we look for a route on by-ways and tracks.

The other day I pootled through to Inverness staying south of the A96 and avoiding busy B roads where possible and it only took two hours. Maybe it could become a proper cycle route. There's always the option of taking the road to Ardersier but of course there's a horrible bit at Delnies where you have to cycle on the A96 and cross over at a bend. And then the coast road from Ardersier into Inverness is busy and you again have to cycle for a wee bit on the A96 to get to the Balloch turn off.

Here's what I did:

Loch Flemington
Balblair Road out of Nairn towards Clephanton but turn off just before the crossroads and head towards Loch Flemington.

Then uphill to Croy and into forestry following a footpath to Tornagrain.

Sadly this section was spoiled by some dumb dumpers who appear to have been gutting caravans or something. Watch out if you're out this way as there's lots of glass on the path.

Don't go into Tornagrain but stick with the forestry and you'll see the Cloud Factory (Norbord) on your right through the trees - this eventually spits you out in the middle of Balloch where you can connect with the cycle paths to Culloden, Smithton and Inshes.

It was a really enjoyable ride and the lack of traffic was bliss.

Then it was over the Kessock Bridge and around the Black Isle, stopping off at a certain brewery for refreshments! It's a hard life cycling but someone's got to do it.


  1. GD: Although a segregated route alongside a dual carriageway isn't pleasant it is direct and there are cyclists who just want to get there - poorer workers for example. Your trip was in your words a "pootle" from which I infer it was primarily recreational. Although pootles possibly account for a large proportion of cycle rides I believe there is still a substantial demand (sometimes latent) for what I call "utility cycling". Furthermore, from a "Green" point of view, it is these utility trips that are more important than the recreational trips (because they are transport and replace other modes).

    I don't agree that a segregated lane alongside a dual carriageway is dangerous but I don't have any data to shed light on this.

    Consequently I did, and would, argue for any A96 dualling to include a segregated foot/cycle path. It could be an easy gain if the decision were made. Unfortunately my political activities now lie beyond Drumochter.

  2. Both a direct and a leisure route would be ideal. The direct route might also connect with the Tornagrain new town (if it ever happens) and the airport. Lots of opportunities. I will champion the cause!

  3. Hello^^ I am Sunny,from Taiwan
    I am a farm wwoofer in Nairn now.I plan to cycle from Nairn to Inverness
    It's great to find out your blog!!!

    So,you only took 2 hrs to got Inverness!!!!????
    I am worried about my energy><

    I may cycle through B9101

    Is that OK??

    I want to cycle to Inverness on Saturday and come back on Sunday