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It is easy to do less or more than the planned day in the book, if you are feeling tired and want to stop or full of zest to carry on – accommodation listings not limited to start and end points. Really useful if you
I broke from the route in the book to visit friends, the strip maps were detailed enough to guide me off and back onto the route again. During my entire trip I only lost the route once.
It was great to have bike shop listings along the way, especially when I ran into problems near Ledbury. The Tourist Information Centre listings made it so easy to find accommodation when I went significantly off route into Nothrumbria.
The books real strength were the elevation maps, really helped plan the days cycling, knowing how far I could travel given the impending terrain. I cursed them in Cornwall as I battled the swift ascents and descents of the coast, but as the journey progressed I found them invaluable.
Paul Slater’s book really is worth the money and will guide any cyclist from one end of the country to the other.
We sourced all our accommodation from the book, and every hotel/B&B was excellent (and obviously very close to the route). Beforehand I hadn't been particularly bothered about the local history info in the book, but on the ride itself it made for very interesting reading, so I stand corrected on that.
Needless to say the route passes through stunning countryside and scenery. Many many highlights but the part of the route along the Great Glen is amongst the best.
If I was to do it again then I would do a couple of things differently :
1. Check for options to use Sustrans National Cycle Network routes. We went onto NCN routes a couple of times e.g. south of Lancaster, but with some forward planning there would have been many more chances to take traffic-free NCN routes . . .
2. . . and this is my only real criticism of the route; there are a couple of parts of the route that are just not suitable for cyclists, namely the 3 or 4 miles North & South of the Runcorn Bridge (busy, fast urban dual carriageways and dangerous access onto footpath for the bridge itself); and parts of A82 in Scotland (Ardlui to Crianlarich, and over Rannoch Moor, although some of the heavy traffic would have been due to Easter Bank Holiday).
Still, the book is a good 4/5 and saves hours and hours of planning. Great trip, comfortably covered in 15 days - couldn't have done it without the book. Truly indespensable.
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