Author Topic: The way North  (Read 1108 times)

The way North
« on: 16 February, 2021, 06:46:15 pm »
I'm just in the early stages of planning  a trip to Scotland later in the year. I'd planned to ride to Oban for a start. When I looked at the map getting through/around Glasgow seems to have a few options. I'm riding up from the Seaside to Gretna and have cycled the road to Lockerbie and up to Abingdon and then towards Hamilton on a LEJOG. I can see the route to go West of Glasgow probably needs me to head towards Strathhaven.? Is that a decent starting target? and which are the towns I need to head to to cross the Clyde and be on the road to Loch Lomond A82? Thanks for any help. Everything subject to travel restrictions.

robgul

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Re: The way North
« Reply #1 on: 16 February, 2021, 07:35:55 pm »
You could do this:

Abington (old A74) - Larkhall - Hamilton (road beside racecourse on your right) - Bothwell - Uddingston (NCN route 75) - follow Clyde cycle path (all good surface) - all the way along the N bank of the river to the Exhibition Centre - keep on cycle route 7 along the river - under Erskine Bridge - Dennystown - still follow NCN which meanders along a river (or take the parallel road)-Balloch at the southern end of loch Lomond.

I've ridden this both ways on LEJOG and JOGLE - a painless way to traverse Glasgow.
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Tomsk

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Re: The way North
« Reply #2 on: 16 February, 2021, 09:08:55 pm »
I'd recommend staying further west: Ayrshire (Rabbie Burns Country! - gentle terrain, but varied) up to Gourock for the Dunoon ferry. Avoids the A82 which has some cyclepath alternatives in places, but can be a bit grim. Loch Lomond is nice though, I grant you, but up to Inverary or due west to the Portavadie-Tarbert ferry, then to Oban via Kilmartin (stuffed with ancient pre-historic monuments).

There's a pleasant NCN route up through N. Ayrshire and Renfrewshire to the Clyde, on lanes and old railway lines: routes 7 and 75. I've tried various routes through the urban fringes of Glasgow, but they're fiddly and have the usual urban issues of broken glass, missing signs etc. A bit biased - we lived in a rural-ish bit of Ayrshire for a while (Mrs Tomsk's roots are in Paisley), which is a world away from Glasgae.

Re: The way North
« Reply #3 on: 16 February, 2021, 10:41:07 pm »
I'd recommend staying further west:
Me too - I'd suggest going via Arran.

If you do go up Loch Lomond, note that, whilst there's a decent cycle route as far as Tarbet, after that it's the choice of a particularly unpleasant bit of the A82 (narrow, winding, and still with lots of traffic*), or the A83 over the Rest and be Thankful, which is falling down


* which means that it's almost guaranteed that several someones will try to pass you when it's not safe.

FifeingEejit

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Re: The way North
« Reply #4 on: 16 February, 2021, 10:50:40 pm »
I'd recommend staying further west:
Me too - I'd suggest going via Arran.

If you do go up Loch Lomond, note that, whilst there's a decent cycle route as far as Tarbet, after that it's the choice of a particularly unpleasant bit of the A82 (narrow, winding, and still with lots of traffic*), or the A83 over the Rest and be Thankful, which is falling down


* which means that it's almost guaranteed that several someones will try to pass you when it's not safe.

This with bells on.

The best route to Oban is:
Ride in an Ardrossan direction (it's ok there's plenty of countryside to ride in before your brief ride in town)
Ferry to Arran
Do a few laps
Ferry from Lochranza
Ride over to kennacraig
Ferry to Islay ideally Port Ellen
Wait until either Wednesday or Saturday there's plenty to do if you like whisky, if not there's still stuff to find to do.
and sail into Oban via Colonsay from Port Askaig.

Edit: fixed directional error for the Lochranza ferry, the arse end* of nowhere thst is sails to in summer isn't worth mentioning though.

* being the arse end of nowhere on Kintyre is quite a feat as the whole peninsula is the arse end of nowhere or off the edge of the world depending on whether you believe Scottish or norse history.

Re: The way North
« Reply #5 on: 17 February, 2021, 01:06:11 pm »
My own personal choice of route from Abington up to Oban would be the one below

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35202388

As suggested above heading more towards Ayrshire gives you more quieter routes and avoids the main population areas around Glasgow. My option to cross the Clyde by ferry would be Gourock using Western Ferries as they sail usually every 20mins (20 min sailing) after April and run form 6:30am until 11pm. The route suggested above heading for Arran has nowhere near as many sailing and can be busy so you would need to be early for a sailing to make sure you get aboard - Western Ferries you just roll up and on you go.

The route from Dunoon on the ride with gps route is not the most direct but it is pretty quiet and has lots of lovely scenery ( it is a bit lumpy too :) )
I live in Gourock and have cycled on most of the route over the years and would happily ride it anytime of the year (if I was allowed to that is!!)

Roberto

Re: The way North
« Reply #6 on: 17 February, 2021, 02:21:05 pm »
Roberto knows the score, but if you wanted to miss Greenock, you can shortcut via an off-road track to Gryffe Reservoir: https://strava.app.link/AwAxvOP4Wdb

It was all ridable, a bit rough in the middle, but basically forest trail.

Re: The way North
« Reply #7 on: 17 February, 2021, 05:14:07 pm »
If you don't fancy the massive detour to go round the southern end of Loch Awe in Roberto's route, I have ridden the A85 in that section a couple of times and it was OK - once you get to Taynuilt there's a lovely very minor road signposted as a cycle route over to Oban. Shorter, but going south round Loch Awe is very pretty!

Tomsk

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Re: The way North
« Reply #8 on: 17 February, 2021, 05:24:28 pm »
I'd recommend staying further west:
Me too - I'd suggest going via Arran.

Ah yes, Arran, happy memories of the annual Ayrshire CTC ride-around-the-island-and-dash-for-the-late-afternoon-ferry. Apparently one year someone locked their bike at the lunch stop, but had forgotten the key: the Brodick firebrigade arrived to cut them free and expressed profound thanks for providing a very rare opportunity to get the blues-and-twos on and hare down the island! We did a YH weekend in Whiting Bay too. Lovely place.

Re: The way North
« Reply #9 on: 17 February, 2021, 06:49:15 pm »
Thanks for the route guides. Plenty to think about. When I rode the  LEJOG I remember passing Hamilton racecourse, the roads were quieter than I was expecting but it was a Sat. afternoon. I think it was just past there we turned off a main road up a climb and it seemed like a few minutes and we were in quiet lanes with good views of the Clyde valley. We stopped at a Rugby club in a little village for a drink (no game on), still don't where that was but we ended up in Callender for the night.Where we stayed the next morning the owner of the B&B piped us off the street. If that is the correct expression. Happy days.

Wowbagger

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Re: The way North
« Reply #10 on: 19 February, 2021, 11:23:57 pm »
We have twice used the Arran island-hop. It's brilliant.
Bach without a doubt.

Redlight

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Re: The way North
« Reply #11 on: 20 February, 2021, 02:46:34 pm »

If you do go up Loch Lomond, note that, whilst there's a decent cycle route as far as Tarbet, after that it's the choice of a particularly unpleasant bit of the A82 (narrow, winding, and still with lots of traffic*), or the A83 over the Rest and be Thankful, which is falling down


I was staying near Arrochar last summer when the road over Rest and Be Thankful collapsed. As it happens, I had previously used the old military road as an traffic-free alternative several times, but it was not a lot of fun when being used as a diversionary route by bloody great trucks, so I made only one trip over to Inverary on that holiday.

Echoing Andrew's points about Loch Lomond, I hadn't cycled on the A82 for about 20 years and was shocked at how congested and aggressive it has become north of Tarbet. I was very nervous all the way up to Crianlarich - and I'm perfectly happy mixing it with traffic almost anywhere. I'd avoid it unless you can be sure of covering that stretch very early in the morning.

Taking the ferry to Dunoon looks a much more enjoyable option. The route from Dunoon to Oban, via Inverary, and then on to Fort William is rolling but has some gorgeous sections, at least as far as Corran, after which it gets a bit narrow and twisty. Were I doing a western-routed LEJoG today*, that's the route I'd take, skipping Loch Lomond altogether.

*I'd probably be more inclined to take a slightly longer eastern route via Perth and the Cairngorms up to Inverness.
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: The way North
« Reply #12 on: 20 February, 2021, 08:35:41 pm »
If you go via Ardrossan, and the Campbelltown ferry is in its almost all back roads up to Oban. Campbelltown, Carradale. Tarbert (loch Fyne), kilberry, Lochgilphead or the old link to loch Sween and on to Kilmartin, main road or west loch Awe side then glen Lonan to Oban.

chris

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Re: The way North
« Reply #13 on: 20 February, 2021, 08:57:11 pm »
Another option is via Bute. The A78 between Ardrossan and Largs has many sections with reasonable  cycle paths. I would avoid the A78 between Largs and Wemyss Bay by taking the lane that runs parallel to the A78 along the hillside. Once on Bute the road up the Kyles is flat and great for spotting otters and porpoises. Then cross back onto the mainland to Colintraive, and take the A886 to Strachur, and follow the route to Oban as per the routes described going via Dunoon. Alternatively from Colintraive you can take the scenic route over the hills to Portavadie via Tighnabruaich. From Portavadie take the ferry to Tarbert and then ride round the beautiful Knapdale peninsular via Kilberry and on to Ardrisaig and then on to Crinan along the pretty path beside the canal. From there you can take the flat road up to Kilmartin past the standing stones and on to Oban.

Re: The way North
« Reply #14 on: 21 February, 2021, 12:40:04 am »
Note that its likely the Arran ferry will switch to Troon from Ardrossan this year. Dates tbc.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19100113.arran-ferry-move-troon-ardrossan-harbour-work/

"The switch will not take place until construction work begins with an official date yet to be confirmed."

I also the Bute option and if time permits, take the long way round the island. The wee back road from Largs mentioned by Chris is nice, you get much better views than on the coast road itself.

Re: The way North
« Reply #15 on: 21 February, 2021, 10:01:43 am »
Troon from Carlisle is even better, lets you go thro SW Scotland and you can catch the soon to be Galloway National park. Will be a  place with a go to name and on the bucket list😩, added bonus is the Ayrshire Alps. Will be a shorter ferry if direct.

Re: The way North
« Reply #16 on: 21 February, 2021, 10:21:08 am »
Arran ferry update, works due for completion  in 2024 with  21 months  construction time. Looking like this years timetable will not change.