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P.E.N.I.S 287 ‘Grand Tour’


Windymiller

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Leg 2 today - A682 from Gisburn to pick up the A65 skirting the Forest of Bowland AONB, through Settle and Kirkby Lonsdale up to join the M6 again at J36 a little South of Kendal. 
 

The A65 is a lovely road suited to the Cayman, lots of swooping corners, up hills and down dales - very popular with bikers. A little frustrating at times when you get stuck behind something as much of the road is double white lined, but there are several places giving opportunity to overtake. 
 

Just refuelled at Dumfries, having come off the M6 at the Gretna J45 to pick up the A75, another fast piece of A-road, with many long, broad straights to overtake and a few sections of dual carriageway. 
 

And now the ‘homestraight’ from Dumfries on the A75 to Castle Douglas and then the A713 all the way to tonight’s stay over and wee dram in Ayr. 🥃👍🏻

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Edited by Windymiller
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Enjoy the road trip. I wanted to do nc 500 this year. But after doing France, Germany Switzerland a bit of alps ending in lake como last year. I didn’t get clearance this year from the control tower. Maybe next year.
 

 

Hope to see loads of photos 

 

Enjoy and stay safe

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Some photos from today, skirting the banks of both Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, as well as passing through the Great Glen and happening upon a memorial to the Royal Marine Commandos fallen in action between WW2 to current conflicts. As an ex serviceman I found this deeply moving in such a bleak, yet equally beautiful setting. 
 

settled into a cheap as chips, and slightly odd, self-service (unstaffed) B&B 2 miles outside Inverness - the Drumdevan Country House. I suspect the probability of our waking up dead having been murdered in our sleep by the ghosts that most likely inhabit this mildly spooky feeling house at the end of an un-illuminated single track lane in the middle of nowhere are reasonably high... 😱👻😵

 

Back from dinner overlooking the river and Castle in Inverness, and now to finish the day with a wee dram of Highland Park before starting the first half of the PENIS287 tomorrow - Inverness to Ullapool. 👍🏻

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Edited by Windymiller
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1 hour ago, Beanoir said:

Surely a self-service B&B is just a house for rent..?  
 

Loving the road trip updates, how’s the walkie talkies...over 

It’s a strange place to be sure 🤔🤷‍♂️
But it’s got 10 guest rooms and we’re not the only folks here - we were merely sent a code to let ourselves in with, there’s no staff!
 

Walkie-talkies working very well, thanks again for the loan Nick 👍🏻

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Starting at Inverness castle, or as close as we could get as it’s grounds were closed today, we took the A9 northbound and immediately found ourselves passing through broad open vistas of low-level hills framing even broader expanses of water inlets to the east coast, crossing these on large bridges (Kessock, Cromarty, Dornoch Firth). The roads were equally broad and gently swooping with plenty of  long open-sighted straights to safely pass on. 
 

We turned inland on the A839 and the roads seemed to instantly empty of any other traffic and the scenery started to become even more dramatic. 
 

We lunched at a great cafe we came upon just north of Lairg (The Pier), seemingly popular with bikers, cyclists and a swarm of open water swimmers, as this was at the ‘foot’ of the mightily impressive Loch Shin. 
 

From here we covered ground on the A838 which became (wide) singletrack well surfaced road with excellent passing places every ~200 to 400 metres. 
 

This road was incredible on so many levels. It had sight lines up to a mile ahead in places, it bobbed and weaved so engagingly, totally exercising the cars dynamics and our own concentration. We met barely any traffic and anything we came up behind pulled over at the next (frequent) passing place and let us by. And the scenery changed from low hills to Icelandic mountains and thereafter to heathered moorlands. 
 

Eventually we turned on to the A894, back to twin-lane single carriageway and the landscape just ‘erupted’ in front of us. Every crest and every bend presenting evermore jaw-droppingly stunning Tolkienesque giant slabs of mountain scenery. 
 

We found ourselves stopping many times within a few miles just to take in the scenery and take photos because every single view was unbelievable. 
 

Some 5.5 hrs after leaving Inverness we arrived at Ullapool, staying in the Ceilide Place bunk house (great local seafood here too 🍤🍤🦪) amd finishing the evening with a wee dram of Highland Park sat on the rocks on the shore as tomorrow’s rain clouds seemed to roll in above us 😏🤔🤷‍♂️
 

One of the best days of my life, and certainly the best driving day I’ve ever had. ⛰🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿👍🏻

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Today’s route from Ullapool back to Inverness via Poolewe, about another 150miles. But we’re adding in a ‘quick there & back’ to Loch Inver as we passed a great looking road to it yesterday. 
 

more photos later ⛰🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿👍🏻

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Another day (and our last sadly) of running out of superlatives with which to describe the views and enjoyment of driving the P287 route roads. 
 

The 74 mile ‘there & back’ from Ullapool to Loch Inver seemed to take a mere few minutes on the A835 and A837, but what a road. I’m so glad we included this ad-hoc this morning - fast, flowing and free of traffic, it provided an intoxicating start to a heady day of petrol-fuelled fun 😉.

 

Returning to Ullapool brought us back onto the P287 route heading south on further flowing roads of the A835 for a few miles until we turned onto the A832, which brought another change of landscape into a Jurassic world of coastal mountains for 50 miles of broad fast open roads to Poolewe. 
 

after a brief mid-morning coffee stop here we continued on the A832 alongside Loch Maree into Canadian ‘outback’ style wide-open landscape towards Achnasheen, taking us through the Ben Eighe national park and onto what for me has been the singularly best piece of road of this trip and that I have ever driven in my life. The 832 between Kinlochwe and the Glen Docherty viewing point. This road was billiard table smooth, utterly devoid of traffic and scythed its way up the Glen for 3 miles of sheer driving perfection. 
 

I loved it so much I turned around at the viewing point and drove back down the Glen, just to turn around in Kinlochwe so I could do it all again. I could have happily spent the rest of the day on that one section of road. 😍

 

The last 40 miles of A832 and A835 were an exhilarating mix of Lochside broad open straights and swooping curves and forest lined twisties all the way to a final 10 miles of readjusting back to reality on the A9 into Inverness. 
 

The trip couldn’t have ended any better in my opinion, and I think the anti-clockwise direction was the best way to do the whole P287 route - it started well but on slower, busier roads, and just progressively got quieter and quicker with ever more epic scenery the further around the route we went. 
 

I can not recommend the P.E.N.I.S. 287 highly enough as a ‘bucket list’ road trip for all petrol heads. ⛰🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏎👍🏻
 

a final dinner and dram in Inverness tonight and a journey back to Ayr tomorrow to my mates place, and then homeward bound back to Bucks on Saturday. 😢

 

Photos of today in next post. 

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Brilliant expose there Windy and photos etc...I drove some of this back in 2010 (in the Volvo Estate...), and remember epic roads and scenery....one on my list for "Local" holidays in the CS!

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Great write up @Windymiller sounds like a great trip! Any personal highlights or parts that really stand out?

I had planned a cycling trip this year around those parts, particularly Beinn Eighe National Park, but had to cancel. Definitely going to rearrange it now after reading this. 

 

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3 hours ago, jcm987 said:

Great write up @Windymiller sounds like a great trip! Any personal highlights or parts that really stand out?

I had planned a cycling trip this year around those parts, particularly Beinn Eighe National Park, but had to cancel. Definitely going to rearrange it now after reading this. 

 

At the risk of sounding cliched, the whole route was the highlight!

 

But my personal favourite parts were the Pier Cafe in Lairg looking out onto Loch Shin and the miles of A838 single track road running alongside Loch Shin to Scourie, and also the utterly epic 3 mile piece of greatest road imaginable in Ben Eighe park from Kinlochwe to Docherty viewing point (and back (and back again)) 😉🤪😁🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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I normally couldn't care less about what other people get up to as they generally big it up so much, but I have to say that this has made me more than slightly envious. Days of driving on great roads, little traffic, stunning scenery, then some whisky and seafood thrown in - what's not to like?

 

Like all of these things, you have to make it happen or it won't happen, so kudos to you.

 

Cheers,

Bryan

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Thanks all for the feedback each. 
 

my aim for this travel-log wasn’t to show off, or big up the trip, but more to act as a helpful ‘guide’ to anyone ever considering an alternative to the NC500 for a Scotland trip. 
 

hope it proves useful to folks in the future 🙂👍🏻🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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