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Barra, Outer Hebrides, Skye, Raasay (Calum's Road), Loch Eil, Oban, Scotland.
(5 day bike-pack)
Wed 13 Aug - Mon 18 Aug 2014

Mon 18 Aug 2014

Wed 13 Aug 2014
Thu 14 Aug 2014
Fri 15 Aug 2014
Sat 16 Aug 2014
Sun 17 Aug 2014
Mon 18 Aug 2014
Thankfully the rain had stopped by morning and even though the sky wasn’t clear it was fine enough. I was eager to get going so was packed away and on the road just after 06:30am. I continued along the single track road along the south shore of Loch Eil.

Morning view of Loch Eil from the tent

The ride was mostly flat and easy and with most of the first part through trees there was little wind. Eventually I turned to the SW as Fort William came in to view across the loch. By a collection of small houses was a small jetty and a sign saying cyclists wanting a ferry to Fort William to phone a mobile number. I continued. The ride was pleasant and extra nice because I didn’t need cumbersome waterproofs. After 17 or 18 miles the distant Corran ferry boat came into view.

Camp after 36 hours of rain

I still had a few miles to cover to reach it and hoped it wouldn’t reach my side and depart before I got there. They run every 20mins during weekdays so it didn’t really matter. I reached the ferry terminal just as the ferry did so after the cars drove off I pushed my bike on before the cars were allowed on, which made a pleasant change.

Inverscaddle Bay towards
Ben Nevis (in cloud)

It’s not run by Calmac and pedestrians and cycles travel free which is also a pleasant change. On the other side I joined the busy A82 and turned right to head south towards the Ballachulish Bridge. The road is quite narrow for the volume of large vehicles using it and wherever possible I rode on the footpaths. The main hazard was the rubbish bins people had put on the paths and at times I had to return to the road. Once over the Ballachulish Bridge I joined the A828 to Oban and started with the intention of finding the cycle path wherever it existed.

Ballachulish Bridge

A lot of the old abandoned railway has been converted to a track but signage is woefully inadequate. I’d been on the road a few miles when the road passed a bridge over the old railway. I looked down to see a cycle track below but no idea how to get on it. Riding further on I found a lay-bye and rough track connecting to the cycle track.

View from the railway cycle track

I took it. It was an enjoyable ride but didn’t last too long. At Kentallan I emerged onto the road and saw another sign pointing to place I hadn’t heard of, certainly no mention of Oban. I tried it and it turned out to be a brand new track by-passing the road and emerging onto the old railway. I managed to keep away from the road for while before having to rejoin it again.

The old Kentallen Rail Station

I was glad to reach the cycle track that took me to Appin and the old railway platform with amazing view if the Castle Stalker Appin. Here I met some cyclists heading north towards John-o-Groats. They’d pre booked accommodation and on their way to For Augustus.

The old rail track is now a cycle track

Castle Stalker

Dallachulish

I continued along the excellent cycle track which later on went through dark woodland then emerged back on to the road again. This ‘on off’ continued all the way to Oban Airport and the Connell Bridge. Here I was back on the road for a while before taking to the footpath all the way back to Oban. I reached the car about 12:45. The day’s stage had been 56miles. I put the bike into the car then drove back the way I’d cycled to Ballachulish then on to Fort William and Culnacraig to do some walking.

View from Connel Bridge