Stranraer to Arisaig

SteveoMcC

New Member
Hi there, I am relatively new to touring however I am planning to cycle from Dublin to Arisaig, Highland via Stranraer & Dunoon in a couple of weeks. Any insider info would be greatly appreciated it's all becoming very real!
 

andrew_s

Guru
Location
Gloucester
I'd be inclined to go Ardrossan->Arran->Claonaig, then Oban->Mull->Ardnamurchan. Given the time, there's a nice looking backroad route between Bridgend (nr Lochgilphead) and Oban via Loch Awe and Taynuilt. On Mull, the longer route via Glen More and Calgary would be much preferable than a quick blast up the main road to Tobermory.

If you take a more inland route the A82 is well worth avoiding, the stretch across Rannoch Moor being the worst bit (straight, narrow, fast). The West Highland Way between Bridge of Orchy and the King's House can be used to avoid this bit if you want to do Glencoe. Use the Corran ferry and go via Acharacle rather than visit Ft William if possible.

Are you camping, hostels, B&B or what?
 
OP
S

SteveoMcC

New Member
Many thanks for your response.

Ok so I've cobbled together an Inland route starting at Stranraer up the A77 (with a couple of scenic detours) all the way up the coast to Gourock. From here ferry to Dunoon and onto A815 past the Holy Loch and Loch Eck up to Invernoaden and then Cairndow. Onto A83 round the top of Loch Fyne and down to Inverary. From Inverary the plan is up the A819 (steep climbs apparently?!?) to where it joins the A85, then follow the A85 all the way to the Connell bridge and onto the A828 up to Ballachulish. Quick spin along the dreaded A82 to the Corran Ferry and the A861)via Acharacle) to Lochailort and then along to Arisaig for the boat to Eigg...

I am going to camp having purchased a Vango vitesse 200 tent and an ultralite 2oo sleeping bag also by vango and a thermarest prolite s mattress...
 

toroddf

Guest
I know this area well. It's my playground (yes, I have yet to grow up).

I would go for Andrew S suggestion. Your choice equals a lot of traffic and hassle.
Your suggested route Dunoon to Inveraray is dead boring too with a heck of a lot traffic, lorries traffic and mind numbing climbs. It also avoids all the scenic bits. A819 is not steep. Just mind numbing boring. The road up to Ballachulish has a lot of heavy traffic. Mostly big lorries.

The Stranraer to Gourock route also avoids the good stuff like the coastal road to Ardrossan (cycle route 7 = no traffic). And bypassing Oban altogether is almost a criminal offense. We are talking about one of the most scenic villages/towns/cities in the whole of the British Isles.

In short, you are bypassing everything good about this area. Hence, I am going over Arran and Lochgilphead on my way to Oban in six weeks time.
 

killiekosmos

Über Member
+1 for advice above. Please avoid A77 and A76 out of Stranraer these are crowded with lorries linked to ferrries to NI. Try to get on to NCR7 (Lochs and Glens South) goes over the hills (steep) and into Ayrshire then on to coast (flat!) and branch off to Ardrossn fopr ferry to Arran
 
OP
S

SteveoMcC

New Member
Ok Stranraer - Ardrossan -Brodick - Lochranza - Claonaig - Kennacraig - West Tarbert -Lochgilphead - Oban - Connell Bridge - Corran Ferry - Acharacle - Lochailort - Arisaig....Same distance more scenic..Feedback welcome!
 

toroddf

Guest
SteveoMcC said:
Ok Stranraer - Ardrossan -Brodick - Lochranza - Claonaig - Kennacraig - West Tarbert -Lochgilphead - Oban - Connell Bridge - Corran Ferry - Acharacle - Lochailort - Arisaig....Same distance more scenic..Feedback welcome!
Avoid the road from Oban to Corran Ferry if you can. Very heavy traffic & dead boring.

My suggestion is better and it is....... I have three alternatives:

Alternative 1. Take the Mull ferry from Oban to Craignure, cycle up to Fishnish (5-8 miles), ferry over to Lochaline and cycle over a small hill to Strontian, then the A861 over Loch Moidart and Glenuig to Lochailort. A bit hilly, but not much. It is very scenic, but not as scenic as alternative 2......

Alternative 2. Take the Mull ferry from Oban to Craignure, cycle up past Fishnish to Salen (10 miles), cross over the island (flat) along B8035 to Gruline and the start of the extreme scenic B8073 over Calgary Bay to Tobermory. Ferry over to Kilchoan and a visit to the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan before you turn over the B8007 to Salen. Then you do A861 over Loch Moidart and Glenuig to Lochailort as in alternative 1. This is a pretty hilly route, but clearly the most scenic route with least traffic.
You will also have excellent views over to Eigg most of the way here.

Alternative 3. Take the Mull ferry from Oban to Craignure, cycle up past Fishnish and Salen to Tobermory (18 miles). Ferry over to Kilchoan and a visit to the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan before you turn over the B8007 to Salen. Then you do A861 over Loch Moidart and Glenuig to Lochailort as in alternative 1 & 2.

I would suggest Alternative 2. The whole tour is an orgy of excellent cycling and views. Check out http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ for more info.

............There is one very important thing I have forgotten though:
You can reduce the ferry prices on the CalMac ferries by as much as 70 % if you buy the Hopscotch tickets. That means you buy the Brodick and Claenoag fare on one Hopscotch ticket (I cannot remember which Rover number ticket) and get a big discount. You also buy the Mull tickets on one Rover ticket and get a huge discount. Check this out on
http://www.calmac.co.uk/ and http://www.calmac.co.uk/Timetables-Fares/hopscotch-rover.html

You get to and from Arran on Hopscotch 5 ticket, which is £ 9.85. For alternative 2, add Hopscotch 21 ticket at £ 8.25.
That's frankly an absolute bargain.

Bikes goes free on the CalMac ferries and the staff could not be more friendly towards us cyclists. Yes, I am a fan of CalMac. A big fan.
 

toroddf

Guest
Well....

1. You are a fellow cyclist and we cyclists sticks together.

2. I have lived in Northern Ireland and I have a very soft spot for Northern Ireland. I help anyone who passes through Northern Ireland or lives there.

It was a pleasure to help you.
 
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