CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Sport

The North Coast 500

(113 posts)

  1. gembo
    Member

    That lad also has some very strange sticky up tribars that look like horns of a Soay Sheep

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    very strange sticky up tribars that look like horns of a Soay Sheep

    I love an imaginative field repair.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. unhurt
    Member

    I'm sure the countryside code is explicitly against people doing field repairs on soay sheep.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. HankChief
    Member

    "Cyclists on the Bealach: There has been issues with cyclists not allowing vehicle traffic to pass, focussing on "personal best" times, rather than on road safety. If this continues, it was felt that cyclists might need to be restricted to using the Bealach at particular times of the day"

    Saw this on a FB page (as a picture), from what I assume it is from the Applecross Community Council, but I can't find it online.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. ARobComp
    Member

    I imagine, having cycled on the Bealach, that those people are surprised a bike won't move over on the single track parts to be close passed by whomever it is is revving up behind. There are tonnes of passing places, and I must admit that I was surprised at how few vehicles I actually came up against (I've been up it 4 times) and realised it was because they were mostly jamming each other up at other passing places.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. Rob
    Member

    What an awful statement. Reads like someone having a rant reworded to sound slightly more official. Even the opening "There has been issues" is like someone wrote "There has been an issue" then went back to make it plural.

    Since when is driving more slowly a road safety problem?

    P.S. That road looks awesome!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. ARobComp
    Member

    Bealach na ba is one of the iconic Scottish climbs and one of my favourites. It starts out easy, and builds into some alpine switchbacks. Really tough but fun climb.

    I've always done it starting from Applecross, riding up around the headland and then around to the bottom of the Bealach. About 65km or so with lots of up-down. Then you climb the pass to the top from almost sea level which is excellent. The decent is also absolutely fantastic. You can desend far faster than the cars and motorbikes (unless they're insane) and at the bottom there is the fantastic Applecross Inn.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    You can never go terribly fast on twisty single-track roads, but there are motorists who think no one should drive faster than them, however slow.

    On one occasion, a driver who I had tailed for miles because he had failed to pull over and let me pass – despite police road signs to allow overtaking – got out and started angrily remonstrating that we were “not on the M25”.

    Goodness knows how he would fare on that Sutherland road now it’s part of the North Coast 500, although the reckless speeders that it has reportedly attracted are even worse than road hogs like him.

    Arguably, with all this hassle negotiating such roads – and their traffic – it can be difficult to properly take in the scenery.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/alastair-dalton-single-track-road-etiquette-lost-on-too-many-drivers-1-4771171

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    A classic example of how clever branding can have unforeseen consequences is the North Coast 500 (NC500). The 516-mile route that runs in a loop from Inverness to Applecross to Durness to John o’Groats and back to Inverness has existed for decades, its twists and turns appreciated at a leisurely pace by those who love to explore lonely, brooding spaces. But in 2015, the North Highland Initiative (NHI) decided to market it as Scotland’s answer to Route 66; a real-life board game, where players travel from square to square, collecting photographs and “passport” stamps. People literally go there, do that and buy the T-shirt (and the baseball caps and the bumper stickers) though not necessarily in that order.

    At Balnakeil Craft Village near the north-westerly tip of Scotland, former anthropologist Anita Wilson, who runs Cast-Off Crafts, observes the NC500 bucket-listers with a sceptical eye. “A lot of people walk in and immediately announce that they are ‘doing’ the route: it’s like a badge of honour,” she says. “Sometimes they apologise for doing it the wrong way, and I say: ‘Well, there isn’t a wrong way. It’s two-way traffic. I’ve been driving on it since the 1980s.’ Farmers were probably driving cattle down it in the 1700s.

    “You look at these folk with their matching T-shirts and you wonder: ‘Do you not have an identity other than this?’ It’s this weird kind of sheep mentality. I bet if you sent up a drone to take an aerial view of the 500, it would look like a Scaletrix track with all the cars just whizzing round, one after the other.”

    According to one study, the NC500 marketing initiative brought an extra 29,000 people and £9m to the Highland’s economy in its first year, while increasing traffic by 10 per cent.

    https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/travel/insight-visitor-numbers-drive-highlands-into-tourist-trap-1-4772255

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. chdot
    Admin

    Posted 10 months ago #
  11. chdot
    Admin

  12. gembo
    Member

    An additional 29000 people spending slightly more than £300 each. Will not pay for the signage (source anti 20 mph campaign).

    People moving way because of it, unsubstantiated. Local complaints about tourist drivers SAMe as local complaints about tourist drivers elsewhere in tourist Scotland (e.g mull where you get a leaflet on the ferry about how aggressive local still drivers can be so pull over for them Source I forget)

    Posted 6 months ago #
  13. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    e.g mull where you get a leaflet on the ferry about how aggressive local still drivers can be

    Run off the Tobermory road by Mad Eddie in the early nineties. Met him in the Mish that night. Unrepentant. It was my mate Xerxes Captain who was driving.

    Mad Eddie vs Captain Xerxes is available as a 12" remix.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  14. gembo
    Member

    A faction from the future Findhorn Foundation group went to live on Mull in 1957. Daily Record had a field day (Sheena Govan who was Peter Caddy's first husband before she had the instructions from the divine that she was no longer his other half).

    Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean (99 now and back at Findhorn, the others are all dead) then ran the hotel in Forres, with apparently some success. Such that the hotel chain sent them to the trossachs to revive another hotel but they did not like the trossachs and all got the sack. So they then signed on and claimed family allowance (Eileen had five children with her first husband who was into Moral Rearmament and three with Caddy who seems to have been quite fertile too). The three adults lived in the caravan and then grew very large vegetables including the 40 pound cabbage. This was either because Dorothy could communicate with plant spirits she called devas or that the local farmer donated a large amount of horse manure. Anyway they set up the Findhorn Intentional Community and then in the early 70s David Spangler arrived from LA. Obviously they knew he was coming either because he appeared in a vision or they read his leaflet. Took him 3 years but he really put the business on a sound financial footing. Less state benefits more rich hippies.

    I hope IWRATS will mention them either in Outlander or Outlander 2 or in the pub tonight.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  15. chdot
    Admin

    Highland councillor Kirsteen Currie said: “No one wants to talk about the problems associated with the North Coast 500. It is like we have set up a Disneyland where people can come and look at us in our nice wee rural lives, as they whizz by in their camper van or sports car.

    “But this is real life and it can be very frustrating. It is not sustainable.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/local-residents-call-for-talks-ahead-of-nc500-season-1-4904124

    Posted 4 months ago #
  16. ARobComp
    Member

    BE interested to see a "for" and "against" for NCN500 for those living in the area split down between those who are still working, and those who are no longer working (retired).

    Posted 4 months ago #
  17. gembo
    Member

    @arobcomp, good point. I have some sympathy in that camper vans tend to load up at Inverness (or indeed outside of the Highlands and Islands entirely) so locals have to be very creative to capture business. E.g. Allow camper van charging in pub car park over night in exchange for eating a meal in the pub et cetera. The farmer who runs the campsite at Achmelvich (a cold and lonely spot you understand) runs a fish and chip shop in the summer season. I imagine this pleases the campers, particularly though not exclusively those from Glasgow who come back every year.

    When up north I also like to keep a tally of who is running local businesses. Lot of the younger generation have moved to Inverness or further south. Many local businesses are operated by white settlers. Fragile scenarios abound. So being stuck behind camper van might tip you over the edge.

    Yesterday at the Glespin Re-alignment we indicated to the bus driver that we wanted her to go through in front of us. Not sure she had anticipated this. Pulling over to let locals pass is always a good idea.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  18. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    I'd have thought the NC500 is revealing things rather than causing them - it's just a naming of what existed already.

    1) Local democracy isn't very local in Scotland. Highland region is so huge and travel so slow that I doubt folk in Durness get much sense out of Inverness.

    2) Nobody planned this thing as far as I know. No sums done for who to attract or why and what they might need by way of facilities.

    3) There is a virtual land monopoly in the Highlands. If you wanted to build something it might well be very hard to get anyone to sell you land.

    4) Everyone's crammed onto the one road. There's only one road because the population was so sparse in the 1820s when the Parliamentary roads were being built and that was because the crofters had been and were being expelled from their land.

    The obvious solutions to me are to have much smaller, much more powerful local authorities and to dismantle the land monopoly. Also to have a much more equal society where people can afford local accommodation and restaurant meals and prefer that to the camper van safari.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  19. sallyhinch
    Member

    Meanwhile, Dumfries and Galloway wants bumper-to-bumper campervans too https://www.visitsouthwestscotland.com/attractions/southwest-coastal-route/
    and visit Scotland can't imagine any other way of seeing the region except through the windows of your car

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    Posted 4 months ago #
  20. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    If only there was another model of McTourism....

    As far as I can make out most Scottish bodies are intent on detecting what people already do and encouraging more of it rather than figuring out what's good for us and encouraging that. It's a symptom of ingrained powerlessness.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  21. chdot
    Admin

    “and visit Scotland can't imagine”

    Which is sad anyway but more so because D&G actually made the effort to signpost cycle routes.

    ‘Realistically’ there will always be more driving tourists than cycling ones(?)

    But there need to be places where cycling is encouraged more.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    @IW

    The answer (obviously) is to market such things as EXTREME Sports.

    Meanwhile perhaps Sustrans needs to raise its profile in the tourism industry??

    Sustrans began with ‘cycling as transport’ with a former railway line between Bristol and Bath.

    It then expanded to take on many more miles of ex-railways.

    Then came the NCN project.

    Now (in Scotland at least) Sustrans is more of an arms length government agency helping LAs with competitions and money.

    Needs a bit more joined-up-thinking (as ever).

    Posted 4 months ago #
  23. chdot
    Admin

  24. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    The answer is to market such things as EXTREME Sports.

    I agree. Body armour, sleeping in bubblewrap and minimum 20mph to be maintained on all terrain at all times.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  25. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    Speaking of the Findhorn area, I enjoyed this description of the Culbin Sands. I really did think that the area was engulfed overnight.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  26. sallyhinch
    Member

    Realistically there will always be more driving tourists - but we don't necessarily want to encourage them because they will come anyway. Meanwhile your cycle tourist will probably spend at least twice as much in the region.

    We had a meeting with lots of cycling groups and people including some cycle tourism businesses and there was much despair over Visit Scotland's inability to think outside what was already happening. Plans for an outdoor centre in Dalbeattie got sat on because 'mountain bikers sleep in their cars' and 'nobody goes bouldering in D&G' (probably because nobody's built a bouldering centre?). Also apparently they couldn't list bothies because they couldn't work out how to rate them.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  27. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Also apparently they couldn't list bothies

    But bothies are secret? The wigwam concept has worked well. Fits in with rating systems and all that.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  28. sallyhinch
    Member

    I think by 'bothies' people meant more basic accommodation like bunkhouses (or maybe they even said bunkhouses and I heard bothies)

    Posted 4 months ago #
  29. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    'Bothy' is pronounced 'boootee' in our house. Tell no one.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  30. fimm
    Member

    Different people want different standards of accomodation. Some of us are happy in dorms or similar, others don't want that. The same people choose different standards of accomodation at different times. (Mr fimm and I once had a holiday where we camped for 5 nights, had two nights in a very luxurious B&B, and then camped for another 5 nights.)

    All the youth hostels in the Borders are now closed. Is there any cheap bunkhouse/wigwam style accommodation at all in the Borders?

    Bothies, as in "simple shelters in remote country" maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association are not very secret any more, as you will find if you follow the link. There have been some problems with one or two in D&G being too easy to access, resulting in people trashing them.

    If I were to go somewhere to go bouldering, I would be going outside to climb on, err, boulders (or possibly a low cliff). Indoor boudering walls are for training or for when it rains. I don't know about bouldering in D&G but I know people climb on the sea cliffs.

    Edited to add that this:
    https://www.marthrownofmabie.com/
    is a good example of a place that has a nice variety of accommodation (bunkhouse, yurts and tipi for 'glamping', a roundhouse! and camping) and is right next to the MTBing at Mabie.

    Posted 4 months ago #

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