|Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness|
Morefield, Ullapool - Fort William (via Loch Ness) (113 miles approx.)
Petrol Stops: 1
Time: 7 hours approx. (with stops)
Emma and myself were woken up today from banging sounds from the room next to us. We were trying to figure out whether it was DIY or basically people having sex. Well that was confirmed once we heard people making interesting noises....
I thought it was only fair that I took pictures of the view from our bedroom window but I forgot to take pictures of the room. The room is nice and has a small TV in the corner but a large double bed with memory foam mattress, a desk with stool and tea and coffee making facilities. Each of the 3 rooms has its own bathroom but these are separate, on the same floor. They are all nicely decorated and very clean. It cost £50 for the room for the night and is known as the Ardlair Bed & Breakfast. The hostess was not offering breakfast as she has just had a baby, so I think the price had been reduced to reflect this. Another thing to bear in mind is the midges in the area. We got attacked when we pulled up the night before and didn't have any issues in Scotland until we got here. We brought repellent but Emma couldn't find it until we ended up leaving.
So we basically followed the A835 until we needed to turn off for a petrol stop in Dingwall. Scenery was still brilliant but the colours were changing - becoming more green whilst the mountains were gradually disappearing and the landscape was becoming more open spaces. The weather was really cold on the way down although it was pretty sunny and road conditions were pretty good. The route pictured below doesn't highlight the detour to Dingwall, but you can see on the map how to get there should you require a reasonably priced petrol garage - again a Tesco.
Another 40 miles and we reached the A82 and middle of Loch Ness. We stopped at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition which has several presentations on the original findings of Loch Ness and how this can be explained. The lovely woman at the ticket booth asked if we were students, we both said no and she asked again hinting to charge us the lower student rate which was nice of her.
Further along the A82 Emma said she'd quite like to visit Urquhart Castle so we stopped again. As well as the interesting history there are fantastic views across Loch Ness. The price was around £7 an adult. Although mostly a ruin there are displays showing how the castle was used for different purposes by different owners.
Walking around the castle grounds the sun decided to come out and it possibly reached around 20 degrees. Emma and I had both layered up earlier with heated vests, hoodies and thermals so we were melting by this point. We got back to the bikes, packed some of the extra clothes onto the back seats of the bikes and headed off to find food.
As well as several road works along the A82 there was many instances of slow moving traffic. Although we expected this to be mainly caravaners we found that it was mainly cars that we plodding along a 60 mph road at 30. Due to the nature of the A82 to Fort William there are not many places where we could actually overtake. However, when we did have an open stretch I took full advantage of the sweeping bends. The mountains had come back into view, with white shades at the peaks and continued all the way to Fort William.
Once at Fort William we unloaded into the room and went for a meal at the local pub followed by picking up some sweet supplies at the local Morrisons. The cost of a room here, at the Ossian's Hotel is also £50 per room per night for a double room. However, its not the prettiest room in the world but they defend this apparently because of its location right in the centre of town. There is a small CRT TV with free view box and an en-suite. The room is just very out of date and the mattress feels incredibly soft. The previous 2 B&Bs were luxury rooms in comparison. However this is the cheapest Emma could find in the area so here we are!