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JOG Trail, Stage 2 - Evanton to Tain

JOG Trail, Stage 2 - Evanton to Tain

Postby Alba Bhoy » Sun Feb 12, 2023 7:13 pm

Route description: John o'Groats Trail: Alness to Tain

Date walked: 07/02/2023

Time taken: 5.1 hours

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After yesterday’s checking of notes and looking at the map as I strolled from the South Craigton layby, just north of the Kessock Bridge, to Evanton, today’s walk from Evanton to Tain was the very essence of simplicity. Like yesterday, there were JOG trail waymarker signs at various points along the route.

2023-02-06 10 Follow that sign north..JPG
JOG trail signs are very helpful

Walkhighlands gives Alness to Tain as 13 miles. Starting at Evanton adds about 3 miles onto that so I'd estimate Evanton to Tain as being about 16 miles.

Some rain in Inverness first thing this morning but stayed dry for the duration of the walk. Indeed, did most of the walk with my jacket in my bag. Like yesterday, it felt spring like.

Caught Stagecoach bus number 25 departing Inverness bus station at 0805 which dropped me in Evanton about 0835.

One minor rant before my walk report proper. I know it’s early February but in my book that’s no excuse for Inverness bus station’s ticket office - and its toilets - not opening till 0830. Plenty buses leave Inverness before 0830. God help passengers on these pre 0830 departures if they need advice on tickets or use of the toilets. Scotland’s ‘World Class’ tourism yet again called into question. We’ll keep a welcome in the hillsides, but only after 0830.

Charlie’s cafe, next door to the ticket office, is open from 0700. Does a tasty roll, drinkable coffee, sells papers and snacks and also has toilets. Highly recommend. Note, Charlie's toilets are for customer use only.

I took the easy way from Evanton to Tain. Followed NCN 1 all the way. Between Evanton and Alness the cycle route crosses the road - the B817- a few times; sometimes running just to the north of the road, sometimes just to the south. Made for nice, easy and quick walking.

2023-02-06 06 Snowdrops, 6th Feb 2023..JPG
Snowdrops between Evanton and Alness

Follow the road into Alness crossing over the River Alveron. Alveron leisure centre and library is just over the river. It seemed to be the only place at that end of Alness that had toilets for public use. The public toilets further along the Main Street were closed.

Turn left off the High Street and head up Ardross Road towards the golf course. After about 1 km turn right onto a minor road signed for Scotsburn and Tain. This minor road is a continuation of NCN1. Again, nice easy walking, very little traffic and even fewer bikes!

2023-02-06 08 Meet the locals.JPG
Meet the Locals along the Scotsburn Road

Stage 2 of the Walk Highlands notes for the Alness Tain section suggest turning off this road at Easter Stoneyfield and taking the path running through the woods at Badachonacher Moss. Whenever I see the letters ‘moss’ in a place name I think of boggy ground. I don’t like walking on boggy ground, especially when there’s a dry alternative. As I approached Easter Stoneyfield I met a local dog owner. I asked him about the paths in the wood. He replied, they’re boggy, you’re better staying on the road. Advice I was happy to accept. So rather than bog trot through the woods (and they would have been damp underfoot after the overnight rain) I just carried along the road, keeping my boots dry and my toes drier still. Win, win.

Stage 3 of the Walk Highlands notes for this section suggests turning left up a track when you reach Scotsburn Farm, head uphill into the trees and pick up a decent forestry track from there to the Forestry Commission car park at Aldie Burn. I had meant to do this. I must have been zoned out because I was several minutes and a few hundred metres beyond Scotsburn Farm before I remembered you’re supposed to turn off the road there.What to do? Turn back or keep going as the forestry trail eventually meets the road anyway. I thought about it for a millisecond before continuing along the road. Keep Right On To The End Of The Road……

2023-02-07 7 Cromarty Firth.JPG
View to Cromarty Firth as I plod towards Tain

The views from the road were fine but I assume they would probably be better from the forestry tracks as they’re higher up. Assuming the trees don’t block the view. I’ll need to return one day and check the forestry trail out.

2023-02-06 09 Heading to Tain. No end in sight..JPG
No end in sight. Heading to Tain.

So, I just marched on along the road, soon passing the turn off to the Aldie Burn car park. NCN 1 which I’d happily marched along from Evanton eventually meets the A9 on the outskirts of Tain. Go a few metres to the right of where the roads meet, cross over and take the short path that leads you onto the suburban Scotsburn Road that runs through Tain to the Royal Hotel.

Section completed, I was taking the bus back to Inverness from Tain, Stagecoach bus number x25. That leaves from Lamington Road, just a couple of minutes walk from the Royal Hotel. I discovered an excellent cafe almost opposite the Inverness bus stop called Pipers. Nice place; good coffee, selection of cakes and also had paintings for sale. Good place to chill before catching the bus.

Time splits:
Evanton start 0835
Alness arrive 0940
Scotsburn Farm 1150
Tain arrive 1345.

Time taken - 5 hours 10 minutes
Alba Bhoy
Posts: 70
Joined: May 12, 2013

Re: JOG Trail, Stage 2 - Evanton to Tain

Postby gld73 » Thu Feb 16, 2023 11:10 pm

I need to get a few more JOG stages done this year, thanks for the tips.
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Re: JOG Trail, Stage 2 - Evanton to Tain

Postby dogplodder » Fri Feb 17, 2023 2:17 pm

We found the bit you missed through the woods a pleasant respite from the tarmac after being advised by a local not to take the Easter Stoneyfield detour due to fallen trees. :)
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