Author Topic: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London  (Read 1531 times)

Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« on: July 19, 2015, 12:11:04 pm »
I would like to do a 200k-300k ride in Scotland, but I live in London.

Has anyone got any recommendations for a perm ride that starts someone close to the Caledonian sleeper train stops in Scotland so that I could leave home about 9pm-11pm on a Sunday night, spend Monday riding in Scotland and then get the sleeper back on Monday night so that I could go into work on the Tuesday?

I don't know Scotland at all. The main aim of the ride would be to see some great scenery. It can be a very hilly 200k, or a flat 300k assuming it left time to catch the train home.

Any advice appreciated

Steve

Bairn Again

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 03:57:04 pm »
I think to do a 300 youd be looking at a Glasgow or Edinburgh start (highland sleeper is possible but you'd arrive later and leave earlier at night thus curtailng your day).  Edinburgh arrives in 0720 and leaves 2340 - allowing a full day  in the saddle, Glasgow may be similar but lets face it who wants to go to Glasgow? 

From Edinburgh the borders are hard to beat for a combination of quiet roads and nice scenery.  Climbing tends to be steady too. 

I suggest something along the lines of http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9358934

May need to be tweaked for a paper based DIY (though I think Chirnside - Jed - Newcastleton - Langholm - Innerleithen - Dalkeith - Edinburgh might well be fine)


Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 08:17:59 pm »
The times on the Highland services would actually give you more time in the saddle.

The Inverness train gets you to Stirling for 04:55, and doesn't leave till 00:14. Stops at Dunblane and Gleneagles, then Perth is 05:39/23:28, then Dunkeld and Pitlochry and even as far north as Blair Atholl gives you 06:28/22:30.

Likewise the Aberdeen service gives Inverkeithing at 04:58 and 00:12, then intermediate stops up through Fife to Dundee (06:08/23:06) and more around the East Coast to Montrose at 06:48/22:26.

Lots of options from either of those routes.

Agreed that the West Highlands is much less do-able- but even Crianlarich is 07:45/22:05, for instance.


Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 09:23:33 pm »
Thanks.

Any idea what perm ride would be best for scenery? I'd like to see views over lochs etc... it is more of a sightseeing trip in a way.

Steve

Bairn Again

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2015, 10:06:26 pm »
Theres not many perm rides in Scotland, theres been a definite move towards DIYS in the last few years, especially GPS based.  Probably the one most worth travelling for is The Snow Roads 300k (or its crazy wee sister The Wildcat 200k - both run by Alex Pattison) but your nearest railway station (Dundee / Carnoustie) is 30k away.

This http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9366960 would be my suggestion for a pleasant scenery laden 300k starting and finishing in Stirling.  Im amazed that its got only just a fraction over 3000m climbing

IanDG

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2015, 10:17:28 pm »
Get yourself sorted for next years 'Golden Roads and Standing Stones'

Sleeper to Inverness on Thursday night, cycle to Ullapool on Friday for the evening ferry to Stornoway for the Saturday event ;)


Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2015, 10:27:31 pm »
Great minds think alike Mr ,

I was going to suggest this http://ridewithgps.com/trips/4953167

which I did last month and is a pretty similar route. I don't know if you were planning a DIY by GPS, Steve, but this can also be done as a paper based DIY with controls at Bridge of Allan, Bridge of Balgie, Aberfeldy, Kinloch Rannoch, Alyth, Crieff and Bridge of Allan.

The only caveat is that the Bridge of Balgie control doesn't open until 10am so start time would need to be adjusted for paper based (although the climb over the Lawers road will slow things down a bit).
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valkyrie

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2015, 10:33:24 pm »
Both routes suggested look great to me. The first leg of Mary's route is normally a very busy A road up to Killin, but it'd be fine for a 5am start out of Stirling. I'd take that route out so as to enjoy the climb over the Ben Lawers road and the ace wee café at Bridge of Balgie. For the return leg I think the return via Dunning would be quieter and that's the one I'd pick.
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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 10:45:16 pm »
If you want scenery forget starting in Edinburgh.

mattc

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 12:38:56 pm »
Don't forget that a DIY can be a SleeperStationA -> SleeperStationB ride!
Has never ridden RAAM
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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 02:52:28 pm »
That's a good point Matt.

I didn't even think of that. That makes a lot more sense than doing a circular route.

I have this idea that Scotland gets nicer the further away you get from England so I was going to head as far North as possible. But perhaps I could just go quite far on the sleeper on the way out and then head South for about 300k to catch the train nearer to home. It might even save a few quid.

Steve

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2015, 09:21:49 pm »
Assuming that you can still get on and off at Carstairs Junction, permanents starting from Biggar should be easily doable. Alternatively, Inverness to Carstairs via Fort William would be somewhere close to 300 km, it wouldn't be the quietest roads but there must be a multitude of other possibilities.

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 09:46:03 pm »
I have looked at the Old Military Roads before and thought about doing the calender event by catching the train to Stonehaven. Not sure if this is available as a perm but could do as a DIY.  :thumbsup:

There are lots of stops on the sleepers when you get to Scotland. I would plan a route based on getting off early on Saturday and back on on Sunday. If you do different stations for the start and the end then there are some great possible routes.

BB
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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 08:59:53 pm »
I drafted this route from Inverness to Glasow. It follows Loch Ness:

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9376222

But then I found a few by a guy hat had a very different Inverness to Glasgow route. He seems to have done quite a few similar routes from Inverness to Glasgow which I assume means he knows nice routes.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2143786

I'm not sure which route would be nicest to ride scenery and traffic wise.

fuaran

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 09:13:03 pm »
The A82 can be pretty horrible for cycling. It can get very busy, and is quite narrow and twisty in places. So you get traffic squeezing past when there's not really space. I'd avoid it where possible.

Your second route is a lot nicer. Much quieter roads, with some nice scenery, including a few classic climbs.
Do you have to go to Glasgow? You could make a nicer route from Inverness to Edinburgh. ie keeping a bit further east, through Fife, and across the Forth Road Bridge.

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 09:16:37 pm »
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2141647

Inverness to Edinburgh. I could shorten the Cairgnorms bit.

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 10:18:44 pm »
From Spittal of Glenshee to A924 is off road. You need to go further south past Blacklunans onto the B950 & through Kirkmichael if you want to stay on road to Pitlochry. Did you use Google Maps in walking mode to create that?

ETA - you've made the route go back up to Perth  ???

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2015, 02:37:55 pm »
How about this - http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9461801

It starts at Leuchars at 0546 and finishes at Stirling in time to catch the 2351 sleeper from Inverness southbound.

On route it passes:-

The Tay Estuary
Lochs Tummel, Tay & Earn plus other smaller lochs.
Five distilleries! Edradour, Blair Atholl, Aberfeldy, GlenTurret & Deanston
The Tallest & Longest Hedge (Meikleour)
The oldest tree (Fortingall Yew)
Schiehallion and numerous other Munro's
Two castles Stirling & Doune Castle (Starred in Monty Python & the Holy Grail
The Wallace Monument

There is also a chance to bailout from Creiff/Comrie to Gleneagles to catch the same train (2324) if running late or indeed at Dunblane (2341).


eck

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2015, 04:55:17 pm »
It goes to Comrie. Nothing else matters.  ;)

My preference for that segment would be to continue down the  A822 to the A85 junction, head through Crieff to pick up the Strowan Road (south of and parallel to the A85) to Comrie.
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2015, 11:51:51 am »
How about this - http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9461801

It starts at Leuchars at 0546 and finishes at Stirling in time to catch the 2351 sleeper from Inverness southbound.

On route it passes:-

The Tay Estuary
Lochs Tummel, Tay & Earn plus other smaller lochs.
Five distilleries! Edradour, Blair Atholl, Aberfeldy, GlenTurret & Deanston
The Tallest & Longest Hedge (Meikleour)
The oldest tree (Fortingall Yew)
Schiehallion and numerous other Munro's
Two castles Stirling & Doune Castle (Starred in Monty Python & the Holy Grail
The Wallace Monument

There is also a chance to bailout from Creiff/Comrie to Gleneagles to catch the same train (2324) if running late or indeed at Dunblane (2341).


Would it work as a DIY audax?

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2015, 03:51:33 pm »
I did the Mille Alba ride using a Thursday night sleeper up and a Sunday night sleeper back, so if you have the funds to do this I think it is a great idea
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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2015, 02:07:07 pm »
Slight diversion (hope OK), but what in people's experience are the standard sleeper reclining seats actually like for room/comfort - trying to get some sleep in?   
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

mattc

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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2015, 06:57:53 pm »
Did this about 6d19h ago!

The bad news:
"reclining" - well basically they don't. They're fixed, and  a frustrating shape where the back is kinda slopey, but the head "section" is bolt upright; a totally useless position for sleep. For me, anyway. I saw people slumped on their loved ones, and a loved one with a blow-up travel neck pillow thingy (never used one myself).
(And the temperature varied enormously for a modern train - from a little too hot at 11pm, to a bit nippy by 5am.)

The good news:
You're very spread out. Carriage is only 3 seats wide (2+aisle+1). And mine was less than 1/3rd occupied; so it was easy to bag a double-seat and spread out over that. sadly still less comfotable (and smaller) than our sofa.
(you can see how busy your train is on the web as you book, although the interface is VERy odd IMHO!).
There were absolutely NO on-board announcements :) :) (Despite the thing running over an hour late )

But I definitely got some sleep.


This was from Dundee - its possible that they use different trains from FW.

Interestinglky most folk got off at Crewe, not Euston.

Has never ridden RAAM
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Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2015, 09:34:21 pm »
Thanks.  I'll have to put them to the test at some point...

Found this:   http://www.pan3sixty.co.uk/virtual_tours/caledonian-sleeper/  (picture selection - thumbnails to lower left)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Scotland Perm - Doable by sleeper train from London
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2015, 06:38:34 am »
Quote
Interestinglky most folk got off at Crewe, not Euston.
We often used the sleeper from Crewe with the children as it was cheaper and better for a weekend than flying or driving.  Catch the sleeper at Crewe at 11.00pm on Friday night meant a full days work was done,  The kids slept well and we arrived in Inverness in time for Breakfast.  2 full days with grandparents and then catch the sleeper on the way south meant we got home in time for a bit more sleep and a shower before going into work on monday.  We couldn't have done it otherwise.