The Dores Road by Lee Craigie
Lee Craigie is part of The Adventure Syndicate, a Cycling UK affiliated group. It is a collective of female endurance cyclists whose aim is to increase levels of self-belief and confidence in others (especially in women and girls) by telling inspiring stories, creating an encouraging community and delivering enabling workshops and training. Here's one of her favourite road loops in the Highlands.
When I raced full time, I got pretty sick of riding the same local loops three times a week but I can honestly say I have never tired of this one. The quietish B-road that heads south out of Inverness and hugs the side of Loch Ness is a must for roadies visiting the Highland capital.
On icy or windy days I could always trust that the Dores road would be sheltered and comforting and I could ride it safe in the knowledge that there are lots of different bale out options and alternatives should I lose feeling in my fingers or toes at any point. This has been known from time to time.
It’s an easy 10kms from Inverness to the Dores Inn and the start of Loch Ness. From there it’s possible to ride the quiet B862 a further 40 kms all the way to Fort Augustus (although to do so you must leave the loch shore and climb a lung bursting hill up to Whitebridge first). This is a standard club run that I was always keen to attend. If alone, turning around and coming back the same way staying low by the lochside would offer the most shelter but in a group, gaining the high moor at Whitebridge and remaining high all the way back to Inverness past lochs and woodland offered a striking contrast to the loch side road 200 metres below.
Beware. It’s possible that a stop at the Dores Inn could mean the end of your day. It’s a lovely wee pub that can be hard to leave if it’s blowing a hoolie outside. Or even if it’s not.