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Ben Lomond reflected 'in still magnificence' in Loch Ard
Ben Lomond reflected 'in still magnificence' in Loch Ard

The Off-Road to Skye

 
A dozen or more working colleagues agreed that, to raise money for charity, we needed to work hard. I thought long about the characteristics of my comrades. Were they "young, intelligent upwardly mobile, environmentally conscious. Equally drawn from both sexes who are probably going to be the public opinion formers and social managers of the future". As this was a description I had read of 'typical off-road cyclists' (Arthur Philips who runs a mountain bike centre in Peebles), the dye was cast and we set off on a fine day in May.

The bikes we used were typical ATB's -All Terrain Bicycles-, strong and sturdy, wide tyres, tough brakes and 18 gears, generously loaned to us by the Achnamara Outward Bound Centre in Argyll.

Day 1


Glasgow has the benefit of two Sustrans cycle paths, 20 miles to Balloch, at the foot of Loch Lomond, and over 30 miles to the coast at Irvine. Gingerly avoiding the shattered glass where Glasgow drinking meets the environment, we soon relearned the skills, balances and refreshing delights of cycling on the path to Balloch. Turning right on bye-roads we lunched at Croftamie in luxury and comfort. The backlanes past Drymen to Aberfoyle are being promoted by the Scottish Tourist Board as a cyclists' route to Killin. We abandoned their leaflet for a track through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to Kinlochard. "The road became wide and open, as we left Glasgow behind us and was growing more dreary as we advanced" . This being Rob Roy country I cannot resist a quotation from Sir Walter Scott, though I am not sure I felt the sentiment.

Our destination for the night was the Youth Hostel at Kinlochard (now sadly closed). I am told by BUPA, who have failed to adjust my premium accordingly,that cycling is one of the best forms of physical recreation ever invented (and by a Scotsman, too), failing only on flexibility, for which there are substitutes available!, and on safety where it comes behind swimming, although I cannot conceive how swimming from Glasgow to Skye would have been safer!

Close by the Youth Hostel is Ledard, where Rob Roy's wife regaled her guests with a picnic of "all the good things their mountain could offer".

We sat on the wall to munch chip suppers which was the best 'Aberfoyle could offer'.

And reshod our steeds.

And watched the sunset over Loch Ard, "that beautiful sheet of water, reflecting in still magnificence the high, dark, heathy mountains, huge grey rocks and shaggy banks."


ebb

"The road became wide and open, as we left Glasgow behind us and was growing more dreary as we advanced"

For details of our route and a map click here

If you should follow our route, I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know of any interesting events on your trip.

If you would like to comment you may email me (below)

Enjoy your visit
Ed (aka. Basil)

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