West Coast of Scotland in 9 days

Alberto

Active Member
Location
London
Hi all

I am going touring in the west coast of Scotland in early September. The plan is pretty basic at the moment, train up to Glasgow and back from Inverness 10 days later. I'd very much like to visit Mull and possibly Skye. Then on to Inverness along the sustrans 78 and 79 routes. The rest is still up in the air and opened to suggestions.

I also intend to train it out of Glasgow either to Ardrossan or somewhere near Loch Lomond. I would then cycle north towards Oban and ferry to Mull. I will be carrying full camping and cooking gear, but if weather turns too nasty I may look into youth hostels. I want to keep the mileage to no more than 50-60 miles per day.

Would you give your advice on:

- Must-visit places/roads and even suggested routes if you had 9-10 days
- Campsites/wild camping spots
- Routes out of Glasgow into Loch Lomond
- Roads to avoid
- Good cafes and pubs

Many thanks in advance
 

biggs682

Smile a mile bike provider
Location
Northamptonshire
ilse of mull is in my mind heaven ,go and have a look and see what you think
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
Glasgow to Loch Lomond: read my report here.
Very pleasant trip, beautiful sights. Follow NCN route 7 from Glasgow, signposted all the way to Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond. Mostly smooth, some gravel between Clydebank and Bowling Basin. Very flat.
From Balloch you can cycle on the West Loch Lomond cycle path until Tarbet, the path becomes a bit more bumpy (and inclines up) there, but you could use the (busy) road alongside it.
Or, from Balloch, you could cycle on route 7 to Inverness. Haven't done that one (yet) :smile:
 

Rasmus

Without a clever title
Location
Bristol
I did a trip from Glasgow over Mull and Ardnamurchan to Mallaig this spring. Ride report here. It was a great trip, but really, any route you pick will most likely be enjoyable.

If you're heading for Fort William, you should also consider the spectacular B8043 on the west side of Loch Linnhe. Fort William itself is a dreadful town, but I got the best pub burger of my life at the Grog and Gruel.
 
Wild camp near the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan, you can use the facilities at the visitors centre until 6.00pm and from 8.00am. If you are lucky you will see the sun set over the Western Isles. A magical place.
 
OP
Alberto

Alberto

Active Member
Location
London
Thank you all for your comments - really appreciate them. Wild camping near Ardnamurchan sounds like a great idea. Not long ago I happened to be in Finisterra (Spain) seeing a similar sun set over the Atlantic Ocean, and it is definitely magical.
 

samid

Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
I toured in west Scotland 2 years ago, here's the link to my photos from the trip (including the map of the route). I agree with Avalon, almost anywhere in Scotland is beautiful and you can always find a nice spot to camp. Do include Mull and/or Skye, if I had to pick one it would probably be Mull.
 

Danny

Legendary Member
Location
York
and wherever you go in the west, you can be sure that the midgies will be there to give you a big welcome!
 
OP
Alberto

Alberto

Active Member
Location
London
Nice pictures Samid. I am now heading to Ardrossan and Arran directly, without going through Glasgow. Then I will ride north on the peninsula, on to Oban and Mull. If time allows I'd love to visit Skye. I've read that the A87 is quite busy for Scottish standards, and it looks like the only obvious way from Skye heading East. I need to catch the train back from Inverness, so if Skye ends up in my plans, I may need to use that road. Are there other alternatives before reaching Fort Augustus? I plan to cycle East of the Loch Ness, which surely is quieter.

I am well aware of the midges and will keep a close eye on the midges forecast and carry plenty of DEET!

Many thanks for the comments
 

djb1971

Legendary Member
Location
Far Far Away
Mull is fantastic for wildlife. I always turn left off the Oban ferry and head towards the eagle visitor centre and drop down to Loch Na Keal. You can camp right alongside the Loch and watch the otters! The ferry Fishnish - Lochaline ferry is quick crossing if you want to continue northwards without island hopping.

I'm jealous!

Edit: Skye is usually packed out since they removed the toll ( in fact, since they built the bridge!)
 

samid

Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
I've read that the A87 is quite busy for Scottish standards, and it looks like the only obvious way from Skye heading East. I need to catch the train back from Inverness, so if Skye ends up in my plans, I may need to use that road.
I don't remember that part of A87 as being too busy, and there were some nice views along the way. YMMV of course :smile:
 

Matt2matt2002

Well-Known Member
Location
Scotland
You are going over my fav part of the UK.
Can't add much to what has already been said, but I have found the SYH book up pretty early.
I booked Fort William a month or more ago.
Of course there are other independent hostels...
The Wild Goose in FW was good a couple of years ago, if a little on the basic side but had a great 'free' breakfast which I think they have stopped now. Must have had too many cyclists in scoffing excess amounts :thumbsup:

Rasmus mention FW being an aweful town. I hate to agree coz it was a fav of mine for many years but if truth be told, it's a shadow of its former self.:cry:
 

martinwhprice

Active Member
I've just come back from there - my write up if you haven't seen it... http://martinwhprice1.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/scotland-summer-2012.html

I did some of the areas you're thinking about, similar mileage, similar amount of time. Quite a lot of my schedule was dependent on ferry times - so check the CalMac's when you're drawing up your plans. But I would say do...
Glasgow - train to Ardrossan - Arran - ferry to Claonaig - Oban - Mull - ferry to Kilchoan - Mallaig (train from Lochailort makes it 40 miles rather than 60) - Skye (a must!) - Harris - Lewis - Ullapool - Inverness.

Wherever you'll go though, you'll have a great time. Even in the middle of August I didn't really have a problem with midges - although it did help that I youth hostelled - the campers I talked to got a lot of hassle. This and the daily showers and mattresses I think are well worth the extra money - also means you can lighten the load on the bike which will be useful for the hillier/windier sections.

Oh, and if you do Loch Lomond, avoid the A82. There are cycle paths in and around it but the road itself is a nightmare in places.
 

compo

Veteran
Location
Harlow
I own land up near Oban.
Seriously......
I was bought a square meter (or even a metre) of land for a birthday present. I have the deeds and all. So as a landowner I can use the title Laird. I don't think I would get far organising a shoot though. If anyone wants to spend the night, feel free, as long as you sleep standing up so as not to upset my neighbours.
 
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