My partner and kids are going to be away with family for two and a half weeks between June and July and I'm going to make space in my freelance work to go cycling.
I've done lots of mountain biking in the past, but nowadays my drug of choice is climbing so I would call myself a road biking punter - however, I'm really keen to be self supported and go for a long ride to see new things and take some photos.
I was originally thinking of taking my time around the North Coast 500 but I'm genuinely concerned about the midgies as i'll be camping a bivvying along the way - should I be considering other places to cycle given the midge situation at that time of year?
I'm now also considering cycling the west coast of Ireland (I've never been to Ireland and I'm desperate to see it). Pretty sure I know the answer to this, but does it make for a good cycle? And are the midgies bad in Ireland?
Any other suggestions? I don't really want to fly abroad with a bike, and would rather keep below 500miles considering my punterishness.
Check out bike packing Scotland website/ routes. Wild about Argyll, + some using ferries/ trains. Some ok for cx bikes.
Here's a starter for 10. Ireland's West coast is a stellar cycling destination.
And some blurb about Irish midges.
That's ace advice, thanks very much to you both.
500 miles ish? a circuit of Wales? I did the English border on my LeJOG route and its very Scenic, tag that on to a return round the coast would be a great ride
+1 for the bikepacking Scotland site. Email Markus the guy who runs it and ask for a few pointers, he’s super helpful. Failing that the Sustrans website is useful if a little clunky to use.
I had a great time cycling round the coast of Ireland about 20 years ago, taking in the ring of Kerry, the ring of Beara and the south coast. Ferry to Rosslare and cycled along the south coast and then up the west coast. At the time some of the sign posts were in miles and some in kilometres, but it wasn't obvious which was which. Didn't encounter any midges, but some days were a bit 'soft' (drizzle).
Some fantastic scenery for photography and very friendly locals.
I've done the Sustrans Glasgow to Inverness route a couple of times and I absolutely loved it. Amazing how quickly you're out of the city and into the sticks. Beautiful scenery along the way. Also done the Chepstow to Holyhead route two years ago and found it equally beautiful but brutal (really knackered me out) and took me about two weeks of sleeping, resting and eating to feel 100% again
They're both about 200 miles so well under what you;re looking for but thought it might be worth mentioning in case you ever wanted to do something a bit shorter
Got the relive videos of the wales route if you want to see them (I love relive...)
I spent a month cycling around Ireland a few years ago- it was fantastic, particularly the west of Ireland. No midges; and usually very quite roads. The best days cycling I've ever had was Glengarriff to Killarney via Molls gap- stunning!
Steer clear of the Ring of Kerry though as I think it gets very busy with tourist buses in the summer.