Routes Mallaig - Glencoe - Oban

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by John Abramson, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Hi all

    My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.

    The bit over the islands we are happy with, but I have a few questions
    about the mainland sections:

    1) Does the Port Appin - Lismore passenger ferry take bikes?
    2) Mallaig to Glencoe can either be via Glenfinnan, then A861 east and
    south to Corran ferry, or the longer route via Salen and Strontian.
    Any comments on which is better? I think the longer route is also more
    hilly? We're sort of averagely fit.
    3) If we feel lazy/knackered coming from Mallaig, we could take the
    train some of the way to Fort William. Which bits of the route are
    best for this (i.e. most boring or unpleasant to cycle?)

    Thanks for all comments/suggestions.

    --

    John
     
    Tags:


  2. Ben Barker

    Ben Barker Guest

    I don;t believe it - someone else going to Lismore! It's a lovely (if
    small) place. I used to go there a lot when I was younger,
    and on this years E2E we diverted to Oban specifically to go there.

    The North end ferry to Lismore from Port Appin will take bikes free of
    charge, and if the ferry is full wil keep going back and forth
    until the backlog is cleared. The Boat to Oban also takes bikes - and
    cars! They are not free, but not that expensive
    either.

    If you're on the island, there are three ruined castled to see if you
    fancy a break from cycling, one shop, and a few b&b's. Getting lost
    is impossible due to the existance of only one road - you can go
    backwards, or forwards :)


    See the obligatory community website for more info at:

    http://www.isleoflismore.com/

    Cheers,

    Ben



    John Abramson <[email protected] wrote:
    > Hi all
    >
    > My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    > bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    > help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.
    >
    > The bit over the islands we are happy with, but I have a few questions
    > about the mainland sections:
    >
    > 1) Does the Port Appin - Lismore passenger ferry take bikes?
    > 2) Mallaig to Glencoe can either be via Glenfinnan, then A861 east and
    > south to Corran ferry, or the longer route via Salen and Strontian.
    > Any comments on which is better? I think the longer route is also more
    > hilly? We're sort of averagely fit.
    > 3) If we feel lazy/knackered coming from Mallaig, we could take the
    > train some of the way to Fort William. Which bits of the route are
    > best for this (i.e. most boring or unpleasant to cycle?)
    >
    > Thanks for all comments/suggestions.
    >
     
  3. The only bit which can be unpleasant to cycle is the busy A82 south of
    Fort William. So if you're taking the train back, get off before FW and
    take the quiet Linnhe west side road to Corran. I found this quiet and
    pleasant (I've not cycled the Strontian route but I've motored it and
    that's quiet too, though not as...)

    That still leaves the bit of A82 through Onich as the only busy bit - I
    was once stuck in a semi-jam there where revving motorists would
    overtake only to be passed by me, then again ad nauseum. Smelt like
    city cycling.

    The A85 into Oban can be bypassed using hilly minor roads, though I've
    not tried that. The A85 is not as busy as the A82, and AFAIK all the
    other roads are quiet, though I don't know what you're planning on Skye
    - not been there since the bridge has been toll-free.
     
  4. Phil Cook

    Phil Cook Guest

    John Abramson <[email protected]<my surname>.org.uk> wrote:

    >My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    >bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    >help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.
    >
    >The bit over the islands we are happy with, but I have a few questions
    >about the mainland sections:
    >
    >1) Does the Port Appin - Lismore passenger ferry take bikes?
    >2) Mallaig to Glencoe can either be via Glenfinnan, then A861 east and
    >south to Corran ferry, or the longer route via Salen and Strontian.
    >Any comments on which is better? I think the longer route is also more
    >hilly? We're sort of averagely fit.
    >3) If we feel lazy/knackered coming from Mallaig, we could take the
    >train some of the way to Fort William. Which bits of the route are
    >best for this (i.e. most boring or unpleasant to cycle?)


    I can't remember exactly what the track from Ballaculish through Glen
    Creran is like but only three miles of it are anything less than a
    forest road. If that track is cyclable you can get to Oban with only a
    couple of short bits of A road but it would take you away from Appin
    :-(

    The road from Mallaig to Lochailort I remember, as well as being
    single track, being rather profligate in it's use of all three
    dimensions, thus having a deleterious effect on the fourth. The last
    time I was up there was many years ago and they were doing some major
    rebuilding between Arisaig and Morar. Either way the South Loch
    Eilside road has virtually zero traffic and taking that and the Corran
    Ferry will eliminate the worst bit of the A82 to the south of Fort
    William which has double white lines for a long way.
    --
    Phil Cook looking north over the park to the "Westminster Gasworks"
     
  5. druidh

    druidh Guest

    Phil Cook wrote:
    > John Abramson <[email protected]<my surname>.org.uk> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    >>bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    >>help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.
    >>
    >>The bit over the islands we are happy with, but I have a few questions
    >>about the mainland sections:
    >>
    >>1) Does the Port Appin - Lismore passenger ferry take bikes?
    >>2) Mallaig to Glencoe can either be via Glenfinnan, then A861 east and
    >>south to Corran ferry, or the longer route via Salen and Strontian.
    >>Any comments on which is better? I think the longer route is also more
    >>hilly? We're sort of averagely fit.
    >>3) If we feel lazy/knackered coming from Mallaig, we could take the
    >>train some of the way to Fort William. Which bits of the route are
    >>best for this (i.e. most boring or unpleasant to cycle?)

    >
    >
    > I can't remember exactly what the track from Ballaculish through Glen
    > Creran is like but only three miles of it are anything less than a
    > forest road. If that track is cyclable you can get to Oban with only a
    > couple of short bits of A road but it would take you away from Appin
    > :-(
    >
    > The road from Mallaig to Lochailort I remember, as well as being
    > single track, being rather profligate in it's use of all three
    > dimensions, thus having a deleterious effect on the fourth. The last
    > time I was up there was many years ago and they were doing some major
    > rebuilding between Arisaig and Morar.


    Arisaig to Morar has all been bypassed with a new, fast road. Niec ans
    straight and reasonably flat, I'd still prefer the views from the (now
    quieter) coast road though).

    Either way the South Loch
    > Eilside road has virtually zero traffic and taking that and the Corran
    > Ferry will eliminate the worst bit of the A82 to the south of Fort
    > William which has double white lines for a long way.
     
  6. suer

    suer Guest

    I stayed at Lochailort Inn at Lochailort last June (lovely inn,
    reasonable prices, good food/drink/friendly hosts, no tv reception so a
    real get-away-from-it place) and cycled to Mallaig. The coast road
    varies from single track to single carriageway and is quite hilly with a
    couple of sumptious downhills near Lochailort (in either direction).

    From Arisaig to Mallaig a new inland dual carriageway has been built and
    there's a signposted cycletrack which runs part alongside the dual
    carriageway and part separately all the way. It's quite pleasant and
    well-surfaced and far preferrable to the huge drags on the dual
    carriageway.

    We took bikes on the passenger ferry from Mallaig to Eigg for the day
    (tiny ferry, bikes were strapped to the roof) so answer to your bikes on
    another ferry question is probably "yes they can".

    We also cycled from Lochailort to Glenfinnan which seemed busier, single
    carriageway all the way, hilly too.

    Many years ago I cycled the Strontian-Salen-Lochailort route. I remember
    it being hilly but spectacularly scenic in places. And I fell in love
    with Salen harbour. Very restful.

    As regards Glencoe to Fort William, many years ago we cycled the A82.
    More recently I walked the West Highland Way section from Kinlochleven
    across to Fort William. Memory is vague but I remember it being a
    stoney/grassy track, mostly rideable but hard work. We saw a flying
    Golden Eagle at very close range (quartering the ground in front of us)
    and they are HUGE.
     
  7. Mike K Smith

    Mike K Smith Guest

    John Abramson <[email protected] wrote:
    > Hi all
    >
    > My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    > bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    > help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.


    Are you taking in Mull as part of your island-hopping? If not you might
    think of riding from Lochailort to Kilchoan (not far from Ardnamurchan
    Point) then crossing over to Tobermory, riding through Mull to Craignure
    then taking to boat to Oban from there

    We did that in reverse as part of an island-hopping trip a few t=years
    back.
     
  8. On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 22:08:59 +0000, Ben Barker <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >The North end ferry to Lismore from Port Appin will take bikes free of
    >charge, and if the ferry is full wil keep going back and forth
    >until the backlog is cleared. The Boat to Oban also takes bikes - and
    >cars! They are not free, but not that expensive
    >either.


    Thanks for this info Ben. Unfortunately we're doing the Ballachulish -
    Oban bit on a Sunday and while the Port Appin ferry runs, there's no
    Sunday CalMac service to Oban. Our schedule doesn't allow time to make
    a special trip to Lismore and back to Port Appin.

    Next time ...
    --

    John
     
  9. On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:10:48 +0000, Phil Cook
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I can't remember exactly what the track from Ballaculish through Glen
    >Creran is like but only three miles of it are anything less than a
    >forest road. If that track is cyclable you can get to Oban with only a
    >couple of short bits of A road


    Thanks Phil - I'd never even thought of Glen Creran. But from the map,
    it looks like the path from Ballachulish to where the forest road
    starts is steep in places and pretty rough (lots of fords marked ...).
    We'll be on laden touring bikes so we'll probably give it a miss this
    time, especially as we have a ferry we *must* catch in Oban or the
    whole week's schedule goes to pot ...

    But (assuming the path is at least passable) it looks like there's a
    potential fine day out, next time I'm in the Glencoe area: Glen Creran
    - Port Appin, ferry to Lismore, explore the island, back to Port
    Appin, and round the coast road back to Ballachulish. (With optional
    extension by taking the Lismore - Oban ferry and back on the coast
    road).

    --

    John
     
  10. Phil Cook

    Phil Cook Guest

    John Abramson <[email protected]<my surname>.org.uk> wrote:

    >On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:10:48 +0000, Phil Cook
    ><[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>I can't remember exactly what the track from Ballaculish through Glen
    >>Creran is like but only three miles of it are anything less than a
    >>forest road. If that track is cyclable you can get to Oban with only a
    >>couple of short bits of A road

    >
    >Thanks Phil - I'd never even thought of Glen Creran. But from the map,
    >it looks like the path from Ballachulish to where the forest road
    >starts is steep in places and pretty rough (lots of fords marked ...).
    >We'll be on laden touring bikes so we'll probably give it a miss this
    >time, especially as we have a ferry we *must* catch in Oban or the
    >whole week's schedule goes to pot ...


    Ah yes. I admit a failure to read contours correctly. I hadn't
    realised the path went up to 400 m at the forest edge.

    I have ridden the back roads from Oban to Connel but it was a long
    time ago. I remember riding past a fence post all of ten feet away as
    a sparrowhawk alighted on it.
    --
    Phil Cook looking north over the park to the "Westminster Gasworks"
     
  11. mark

    mark Guest

    "Mike K Smith" wrote

    > Are you taking in Mull as part of your island-hopping? If not you might
    > think of riding from Lochailort to Kilchoan (not far from Ardnamurchan
    > Point) then crossing over to Tobermory, riding through Mull to Craignure
    > then taking to boat to Oban from there
    >
    > We did that in reverse as part of an island-hopping trip a few t=years
    > back.


    I rode that stretch as part of my Scotland tour in May '04, very pretty
    country and definitely worth including on any tour of the area. Actually I
    started tat part of the ride in Mallaig and followed the A830 south to
    Lochailort, using the coast road where it parallels the A830. The campground
    at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time on that tour.

    If you follow this route, the ruins of Castle Tioram are worth the short
    detour.
    --
    mark
     
  12. B.G. Finlay

    B.G. Finlay Guest

    John Abramson .org.uk> ([email protected]<mysurname) wrote:
    : 1) Does the Port Appin - Lismore passenger ferry take bikes?
    : 2) Mallaig to Glencoe can either be via Glenfinnan, then A861 east and
    : south to Corran ferry, or the longer route via Salen and Strontian.
    : Any comments on which is better? I think the longer route is also more
    : hilly? We're sort of averagely fit.
    : 3) If we feel lazy/knackered coming from Mallaig, we could take the
    : train some of the way to Fort William. Which bits of the route are
    : best for this (i.e. most boring or unpleasant to cycle?)

    You could also take the track from just east of Glenfinnan down
    Loch Shiel to Polloch then Strontian. Big climb between Polloch and
    Strontian.

    Blair
     
  13. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    mark wrote:
    > The campground
    > at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time on that tour.


    That's some reccommendation...

    ...d
     
  14. mark

    mark Guest

    "David Martin" wrote ...
    >
    > mark wrote:
    >> The campground
    >> at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time on that
    >> tour.

    >
    > That's some reccommendation...
    >
    > ..d
    >


    Sorry, but I just don't know how else to describe it.

    At any rate, the wild camping was good. I pushed on a good ways south, and
    found a very pretty spot somewhere past Kinlochmoidart.
    --
    mark
     
  15. the.Mark

    the.Mark Guest

    mark wrote:
    > "David Martin" wrote ...
    >>
    >> mark wrote:
    >>> The campground
    >>> at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time
    >>> on that tour.

    >>
    >> That's some reccommendation...
    >>
    >> ..d
    >>

    >
    > Sorry, but I just don't know how else to describe it.
    >
    > At any rate, the wild camping was good. I pushed on a good
    > ways south, and found a very pretty spot somewhere past
    > Kinlochmoidart.


    What was the name of the campsite? We were thinking of heading up that
    way in the spring.
    --
    Cheers
    the.Mark
     
  16. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    the.Mark wrote:
    > mark wrote:
    > > "David Martin" wrote ...
    > >>
    > >> mark wrote:
    > >>> The campground
    > >>> at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time
    > >>> on that tour.
    > >>
    > >> That's some reccommendation...
    > >>
    > >> ..d
    > >>

    > >
    > > Sorry, but I just don't know how else to describe it.
    > >
    > > At any rate, the wild camping was good. I pushed on a good
    > > ways south, and found a very pretty spot somewhere past
    > > Kinlochmoidart.

    >
    > What was the name of the campsite? We were thinking of heading up that
    > way in the spring.


    I read the OP as saying between the lines that it was so bad that the
    better option was camping wild. It may have been the case that the OP
    meant the campsite was so scenic and isolated it felt like wild
    camping..

    ...d
     
  17. druidh

    druidh Guest

    the.Mark wrote:
    > mark wrote:
    >
    >>"David Martin" wrote ...
    >>
    >>>mark wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> The campground
    >>>>at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time
    >>>>on that tour.
    >>>
    >>>That's some reccommendation...
    >>>
    >>>..d
    >>>

    >>
    >>Sorry, but I just don't know how else to describe it.
    >>
    >>At any rate, the wild camping was good. I pushed on a good
    >>ways south, and found a very pretty spot somewhere past
    >>Kinlochmoidart.

    >
    >
    > What was the name of the campsite? We were thinking of heading up that
    > way in the spring.



    There are a few campsites at Back of Keppoch. I've stayed at Gorten
    Sands a few times and it's always been fine. Portnaluchaig and
    Camusdarach have also been recommended to me.


    druidh
     
  18. Dan Gregory

    Dan Gregory Guest

    David Martin wrote:
    > the.Mark wrote:
    >
    >>mark wrote:
    >>
    >>>"David Martin" wrote ...
    >>>
    >>>>mark wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> The campground
    >>>>>at Arisaig inspired me to try wild camping for the only time
    >>>>>on that tour.
    >>>>
    >>>>That's some reccommendation...
    >>>>
    >>>>..d
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>Sorry, but I just don't know how else to describe it.
    >>>
    >>>At any rate, the wild camping was good. I pushed on a good
    >>>ways south, and found a very pretty spot somewhere past
    >>>Kinlochmoidart.

    >>
    >>What was the name of the campsite? We were thinking of heading up that
    >>way in the spring.

    >
    >
    > I read the OP as saying between the lines that it was so bad that the
    > better option was camping wild. It may have been the case that the OP
    > meant the campsite was so scenic and isolated it felt like wild
    > camping..
    >
    > ...d
    >

    Camped there with the children in 1988. The last time we went camping!
    The wind got up and the tent was torn to shreds. We weighed it down with
    rocks and slept in the car....
    But it is an idyllic spot with views to Eigg, Rhum, and the Cuillins.
    All the best
    Dan Gregory
     
  19. On 19 Jan 2006 15:38:02 -0000, [email protected] (B.G. Finlay)
    wrote:

    > You could also take the track from just east of Glenfinnan down
    >Loch Shiel to Polloch then Strontian. Big climb between Polloch and
    >Strontian.
    >

    Thanks Blair, that looks interesting. Do you know what the surface of
    the track is like? My friend's bike is an old Galaxy and doesn't like
    anything too rough, though forestry tracks would be OK if not too
    rocky or boggy. (Mine's a Sardar which is basically a rigid MTB with
    drop bars so can cope with most things.)

    Judging by the map it's pretty much level to Polloch. I remember the
    hill between Polloch and Strontian - I've driven over it but never
    cycled it.



    --

    John
     
  20. On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 21:31:36 +0000, John Abramson <[email protected]<my
    surname>.org.uk> wrote:

    >Hi all
    >
    >My mate and I are planning to drive to Glencoe or Ballachulish with
    >bikes, stay overnight, then cycle to Oban, tour the islands with the
    >help of CalMac, arriving back in Mallaig, then cycle back to the car.


    Thanks everyone for the replies which are all useful. (We're not
    going until late May so we're very much at the tentative planning
    stage).

    This will be the third year we've done island-hopping and as always,
    the hardest part of planning (though fun in its way) is working out
    how to do what we want, given that we can't alter the ferry timetables
    ....
    --

    John
     
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