There is some further advice offered in this link.
Getting to John O’Groats
Options considered are:
- Taxi from Inverness to John O’Groats
Near John O’Groats, the only rental car location with nationwide companies is at Wick airport, and the only operator there is Europcar. They do one-way rentals from Cambridge (7 seat VW Sharan is about £350), but they do not provide any Bike Carriers for hire.
Having investigated further, it appears that none of the national companies offer bike carriers. Perhaps we could purchase a rack and post it back?
Van and Car Hire
Nationwide Hire offer one-way van hire from Cambridge to John O’Groats or Wick (they deliver and collect). A VW Caddy, big enough for 5 bikes, for 2 days costs £272+VAT (£326), including delivery and collection. With two people in the van, we could also rent a car for the remaining 3 people to drive to Wick – for example a Vauxhall Corsa would cost about £140 or an Astra about £150. So, for a total of about £500 (plus fuel), we can get 5 people and bikes to Wick (about 20 miles from John O’Groats).
Cambridge to Inverness
Based on todays prices for 12 weeks in advance (i.e mid-January), the cheapest standard single (without railcard) is £62. Journey time from Cambridge is around 9 hours and will require 2 changes (Peterborough and York).
Virgin East Coast trains have space for 3 or 5 bicycles (depending on service) and must be reserved. More details here.
Crosscountry trains have space for 2 reserved bikes and 1 unreserved. More details here.
Cheap tickets go on sale 12 weeks before departure (so, assuming we would leave on 5th September, we would need to book tickets around 13th June).
Inverness to Wick
Takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours(!). There are about 4 trains a day. Cheapest ticket is about £5.
Bikes must be reserved on the Inverness-Wick route. Scotrail have more information here.
Flights to Wick
Not an option. Only destinations appear to be Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Flights to Inverness
Easyjet fly from Luton to Inverness. Currently offering 3 flights/day. For 5th September 2017, flights are currently around £50 single.
Easyjet allow bikes on flights, in a bicycle box or bag. Click here for more details.
Taxi from Inverness to John O’Groats
Transport to John O’Groats will cost about £250 (for 5 people) and takes 2-3 hours. Companies that offer transfers, with bike, to John O’Groats include:
- Highland Cycle Transport
- Keiss Private Hire
- John O’Groats Bike Transfer
- Ticket to Ride Highlands (£240 for 5 cyclists)
Getting back from Lands End
Simplest solution seems to be to get the train from Penzance. Cheap tickets go on sale 12 weeks before departure (so, assuming we would return around 26th September, we would need to book tickets around 4th July).
Based on todays prices for 12 weeks in advance (i.e mid-January), the cheapest standard single (without railcard) is £41 (depart 13.03, arrive 20.05). Super-off peak (giving flexible times) is £76.60. First class is from £67.50…
Bike reservations on GWR are mandatory. Call 0345 7000 125 to make the reservation. Click here for more details.