ROUTE 03 – Carsaig

Carsaig to Bunessan
via
Loch Aassapol

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Well we decided that this Saturday we had to do something special as the weather looked to be kind for this February Weekend we hoped!

This was supposed to be a gentle ride so Stevie said, but he got carried away and it turned into a full face belter and as hard as anything I have done before.

Combining Single track desolate road sections to vast Cliff top sheep tracks and forest track combined with shoulder carrying bike sections this is a half day adventure at least, unless that is you are with Stevie!

We blasted this route and the only stops where to drink and take some quick pictures.

So here goes…

We will leave at 08:00 hrs on the dot said Stevie the night before…okay doky I said.

At 09:00 hrs next day Stevie had to run my wife to work (and assured me he was trying to touch her knees again and she let him.) We loaded up the car and headed from Tobermory to Pennyghael via Craignure and Glenmore.

We carried on past the Carsaig road end for about 5 miles and parked at Port Mor close to the forest track at Beach just in case we had to Bale out early.

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After the start photo sessions and smugness there was fearful cursing from Stevie when we realised we did not have pump.

He was sure had brought one!

He searched everywhere under seats under carpets everything was thrown out the car and his temper became bad.

Well I said we will just have to decide not to have a puncture. Yes he said, Positive thinking… But you just knew you where asking for a puncture.
.
As he put on his second shoe there was a whoop… and out popped a little mini pump.
Feck.. I knew I had it… Smiles all around and renewed eagerness to proceed.

We sped along in the winter sunshine and after about a mile I realised that Stevies statement of taking it easy had gone out the window.
I think we should beast this he said and I played catch up for the rest of the day.

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The scenery was lovely and in the winter sunshine everything looked crisp and clear with Ben More looming in the distance. After about 5 miles we headed off sharply to the right and headed up the Carsaig road.

This is a steady climb for about 3 miles when you come to the top of the road there is a visible track to your right. You head off here and it’s easy to follow for the first half mile.

I could hear Stevie whistling as I struggled to keep up but gritted my teeth knowing I would have to stop and take a picture. It is my saviour as he likes to pose now and again, so above Carsaig I got my first pictures.

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The view to Carsaig from the top of the hill looks cool do you not think?

Snap Snap Pose Pose then.. bang bang he was off again ….Blood Hell.

The only stops I got after that was to take 5 second snaps when I drank or had a pee. The beach bale out looked inviting.

From here head slowly to the direction of the cliff tops till you find a sheep track heading west and stick to it. This is great riding but hard going and saps the strength.

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The views are outstanding and as the cliffs get bigger and you start to struggle to get up them in the granny ring you don’t really care because when you get to the top you just know the next view is going to be better than the last.
Looking back the way you have come.

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It gave me great pleasure to see Stevie having to get off and push.
Keep to the edge of the cliffs till you eventually come across a few small lochans and you will eventually come out to a point looking down the Baleout option leading down to Beach with the forest visible to your right in the distance.

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In the distance in front of you high on the distant hill you can see the forest leading you out to Assapol. Take a mental note of where the entrance is in the distance and don’t be put off by how far it looks it’s not too bad you can see a visible break there.

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Hug the shoulder of the hill on the left hand side it will curve you round and you will come to a spectacular view looking far down to the Waterfall.

It’s a steep and scary downhill from here but all grass and you don’t know whether to ride the bike or just stare at the scenery .

We did stop here for a few minutes and just thought Wow! This is Amazing.
We headed for the top of the waterfall and I gritted my teeth.

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I managed to ride down the last hill at full blast and when we stopped at the bottom for the first time in a long time I had a smile I could just not wipe off my face.

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Right let’s get going I said bike on shoulder and running up the next hill towards Assapol. No bale out let’s go.
It’s about half a mile carry push then hard riding for about 1 mile .

Keep heading up and to the right till you come to the fence and there is an Argo track head towards the forest and keep going till you come to a break in the forest that will lead you to the forest track leading down to Assapol.

At the start of the track I was told we could complete this route in less than 3 hours if we shifted.

So race pace it was through the track I was worried that I was ahead of Stevie but he had no suspension and his teeth where rattling on the stony surface .

This is about a 4 mile section and is fast but a bit bumpy in places.
We spurted out onto the road and blasted the last 8 miles towards the car .

We hit the car at 3 hours 5 minutes (my fault seemingly) He confidently told me we would thrash it the next time.

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But we both had a smug smile on our faces.

Looking to the sky we could see the rain clouds coming in and thought to ourselves… they where just waiting for us to finish.

This route is without doubt one of the finest anywhere.

Where anyone from the cycle Magazines to do this they would never leave the Island… Well unless it rains…. But it never does…

Jim