I have been wanting to do this route for a number of years but the logistics looked a bit difficult.
You can go in from Glenfinnan and head through the hills for 18 miles and come out at Inverscaddel about 5 miles north of Ardgour, with about 19 road miles back, or start from Strontian and go through Loch Shiel and Back about 54 miles.
Well.. of course… we did it the hard way.
We caught the 0810 ferry to Lochaline. The morning was overcast and looked a bit like rain and was cold and the eager feeling of the night before was a little subdued still we will headed on. At Strontian it looked a little better as we donned our clothes and wondered what to wear. It was decided it would not rain so just wind proofs.
We headed up over the road to Polloch.
I was a hard 4 mile climb to the top and the cold we felt to begin with soon left us after about 1 mile.
The Down hill was steep and my disk brakes where burning and I had to stop as the wheels where locking on.4 miles on we reached Polloch and onto the track along Loch Shiel. This goes on for 16 miles and is lovely not too many climbs and a good surface.
So after 24 miles we headed to Callop to start our epic Journey into Cona Glen.
It did not start too well as we could not find any track and we had left my hand drawn map in the car but it did not look like I imagined I’m sure the map said flat valley and about 2 miles to the turn off.. Not Big frigging mountains and into oblivion before turning left, We eventually found a track and it was it was cycleable…for about 20 yards.
Push Pull Carry we headed on sweat pouring from us. This was a four mile Carry and it seemed a lot longer legs where burning and clothes where soaking with sweat but still the sun was out and it was a perfect day for it.
The highest point was about 1500 foot and when we came into the Top with the view looking down to Cona glen it was Awesome.
The views looking down to Cona Glen was most welcome an the horseshe hills surrounding us with snow still clinging to them seemed to dwarf us. It reminded me a bit of the Lord of the Rings, Stevie was Legolas the Warrior and I was a little Hobbit only with bikes. Mordor held no fear for us!
The next section was rideable and the downhill was rocky.
It was a rocky wrist breaking 9 miles through Cona Glen but the views where stunning. Wild Scots Pines dotted along the river and Mountains on either side and Just the Deer and Eagles for Company.
We popped out about 5 miles north of Ardgour and realised we only had 1 hour and 16 miles to get back to Strontian if we wanted to catch the last ferry home.
Pedalling at full speed we blasted along the road and after a few miles Stevie pulled away. I tired on the first hill and struggled to get to the top but once over it felt good again.
Heading down the last hill to the turn off for Lochaline I took the bonk and started feeling dizzy and shaking from head to foot. I flopped into the lay by and just wanted to be home in my bed.
Stevie appeared with the car and had to put my bike and stuff away as I did not have the energy to lift anything. Stevie produced cake and lucozade which I drank in one gulp and stuffed half the cake in my mouth crumbs flying in every direction as I tried to eat it as quickly as possible. I perked up a bit after that and we made the last ferry home.
This was one awesome ride but would be better with a little more time to do
The scenery is outstanding