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Oban, Isle of Mull, Iona, Tobermory, Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan Point, Strontian, Lismore, Scotland.
(8 day bike-pack)
Wed 09 Apr - Wed 16 Apr 2014

Tue 15 Apr 2014

Wed 09 Apr 2014
Thu 10 Apr 2014
Fri 11 Apr 2014
Sat 12 Apr 2014
Sun 13 Apr 2014
Mon 14 Apr 2014
Tue 15 Apr 2014
Wed 16 Apr 2014
It was cold and fairly clear as I packed my camp away. I wheeled my bike over the rock and down the grass path to the visitor centre. Then I was on my bike and riding into a gentle headwind. I didnít mind too much as long as I wasnít going to have it all the way. There were some short steep sections of road on the way back to Kilchoan then a flat stretch before the steady climb over the summit road of Losgann. The weather was nice and sunny but still quite cold. At sunrise it was around 3degC. After the summit there were still a few miles of undulating road before I reached the long descent to Loch Sunart. I was here 3 years ago and then I was climbing the pass the other way. The next 15 or so miles were quite tough because of many hills. The climbs werenít long but a lot of them.

Loch Sunart

I had to stop at Glenborrodale Castle to takE a photo as it looked very impressive in the sunshine with blooms on the trees. The road is mostly single track and probably not much different from 200 years ago, except for the surface. At 25 miles I reached Salen and joined the main A861. Being an A road it is still mostly single track with the added problem of more traffic. At 35 miles I reached Strontian and was hoping to see a comprehensive information board for the area. There was one but it didnít have much on it.

Glenborrodale Castle

I was able to buy a large chunk of cake with icing to stock up on calories that Iíd need for the rest of the day. I was heading for the Corran ferry but not by the direct route. At the eastern end of Loch Sunart I left the main road and turned right on to the minor A884. This road only went to the ferry at Lochaline but I wasnít going that far. It was a delightful flat ride along the loch side for about 3 miles then the big climb of the pass started. The gradient was steady and just do-able in bottom gear.

Glenborrodale Castle

I climbed 272 metres in about 1.5miles and was glad to get to the summit. Over the summit was a less steep descent then a left turn to take me down past Loch Uisge. I reached the sea again at Loch Linnhe and made a small detour at Camasnacroise to have a look at the church and few houses down by the shore. Continuing along the road was quite lumpy in places and still single track. It hugged the coast just above high water due to the steep mountainside. The landscape opened for a while then I rejoined the A681 again on the final run to Corran and the ferry.

Coast road at Loch Linnhe

At Ardgour there is little to indicate the approaching ferry. The vehicle queue is by the roadside and as I approached the jetty I noticed a ferry waiting. Iíd made good time and wheeled my bike on at 14:30. I was well ahead of my schedule as Iíd originally planned to camp before reaching the ferry. I was very surprised and pleased to find that pedestrians and bikes travelled free. The crossing is only 5mins and at the far jetty I called in the public toilets to top my water bottles up from the sink then joined the main A82 trunk road to Ballachulish.

Corran Ferry (free to bikes / pedestrians)

This is a road I was dreading because of how busy it is. I just had to stick with it to the bridge then on to the A828 over the bridge after Ballachulish. I had about 3 miles of sea coast visible to my right then lost it for a few more miles as I passed Ardsheal Hill. Back on the coast at Cuil Bay I had a few more miles before coming to a cycle track on my left. I joined it for a while and even though the surface was a bit rough in places it was much better that the main road.

Ballachulish Bridge

Castle Stalker (Monty Pythonís Castle)

Castle Stalker (Monty Pythonís Castle)

At Lurignich the track followed a minor lane then crossed over the main A828 to join a recently tarmaced cycle track that followed the sea coast. It was a delight to ride along and soon came to the line of the old railway. There was also and excellent view of Castle Stalker (Monty Pythonís Castle). The old railway station platform was part of the cycle track and then I was on the line of the old railway. I decided to go for the Port Appin ferry to Lismore but realised I didnít have much time to catch the 17:00 ferry.

Small ferry to Lismore

I rode as fast as I could and left the railway route to join the road to the ferry. With 15mins to go I saw the sign saying I had 2.5miles to ride. What I didnít know was that there were 2 steep short climbs on the way. I reached the jetty with 5 mins to spare but couldnít see a ferry. The jetty was small and I was surprised that the ferry was only a small boat and only for pedestrians and bikes. I had to take all my panniers off and hand my bike over into the boat. The crossing took 15mins and the offloading was a reversal of loading. Mine was the only bike on the boat but the return journey had about 6 bikes to load. Three was a prefabricated waiting room by the car park with a toilet and sink. I was able to fill my water bag here then head off to find somewhere to camp. The road was narrow and quite a lot of houses on the way. In Clachan I stopped by the Church and had a look at the graveyard. There was a secluded spot at the back so as a last resort I made it my stop for the night.