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Travelling Times by car

Northants U.K.
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Travelling Times by car

In May, I plan to travel through the Outer Hebrides, across to Skye, across the mainland and then up around the coast to Thurso where I will then take the ferry across to Orkney.

Obviously, this is a lot of driving, and I want to pre-book various hotels along the way. Looking at the road map shows me the distances, but I get no feel of how long the various stretches will take, particularly those on single track roads.

Can anyone advise approximate travel times for the following stretches:-

Kyle of Lochalsh - Ullapool

Ullapool - Durness

Durness- Thurso

Any hotel recommendations on the way would be appreciated

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Travelling Times by car


has a route planner that will give you accurate timings.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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2. Re: Travelling Times by car

With reference in particular to the Durness - Thurso section the AA route finder quotes a driving time of just under 2 and a half hours to drive just over 70 miles. Having driven a large part of that route and other single track roads in the area I think that is fairly accurate as you probably won't want to drive at more than 35 to 40mph at the most on a lot of the route. Oh and I would actually allow more time than that so you can stop and look at the amazing views!

Stromness, Orkney...
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3. Re: Travelling Times by car

I drive this route periodically and it is fantastic.

I use theaa.com to calculate distances but prefer to average my speed for road types. 40 mph for double and 30 mph for single. So that is 2 hours to Thurso from Durness, without stops.

That time of year you can travel quite fast as there are less tourists but beware sheep on the road licking salt or warming their hooves. But, as said, you actually don't want to drive this fast.

The road is in places (east of Durness) very bumpy as it undulates across peat bog and moor. Every year it is being upgraded and losing that single track character.

What drastically reduces overall speed is stopping in passing places for oncoming traffic on single roads. Where these have been widened (most of it now) you can technically motor along.

Durness has the best chocolate and smoo cave. Tongue is also a good rest stop. Ullapool is the big town, on this route but I suggest you stop in the small places, buy fuel and food there, for their economy and your enriched experience.

You can do this whole journey in a day, so if you are dong it over a couple you have little to worry about. For example, I'd allow 5 hours to go from Thurso to Ullapool, via Durness.

If you are getting the ferry across to Orkney that evening (7pm sailing) note that if you have your tickets paid for you can arrive at check in (in your car) at 6:30pm, so no need to panic.

You can get some fairly ok food on the ferry (www.northlinkferries.co.uk) during the 90 minute crossing. Roast chicken, macaroni cheese, steak pie, with potaoes or chips and veg. It is a handy way to eat, instead of stopping on the way and worrying about times. Thurso has a couple of good places to eat if you get there well ahead of time.

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