AJoG – Day 5 – Dunoon to Fort William – 173km

Plan: https://www.routeyou.com/en-gb/route/view/6309644/race-cycle-route/ajog05-dunoon-to-fort-william

Actual: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3847318136

The hotel breakfast was meant to start at 7:30, but no one turned up until close to 8, so it was a late start to the day.

I’d been looking forward to this point in the trip, finally cycling off into the wilderness. It didn’t disappoint, despite starting off in the rain.

Rain!

From the previous days experience, I decided to put on the thermal wet-weather tights (they didn’t come off until JoG) and didn’t regret it.

The roads from Dunoon to Inveraray and on to the A85 and Dalmally were all well surfaced, wide and quiet.

Out of Dunoon, I had good views of Loch Eck and the mist shrouded hills.

Then I hit the firth, where I could see Inverary the other side, but knew I was going to have to go the long way round.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0206.JPG

Having joined the A83 and rounded the end of the firth, I started to see loads of heavily laden cyclists coming the other way. I tried to get a picture of some of them, but rain drops all over the lens make them abit pointless. This also put paid to several pictures of Inveraray castle.

I stopped at a petrol station in Inveraray to stock up on pills and had a couple of chocolate bars while I was at it. I was tempted to find other food, but it seemed early and only 20 miles to the next possible food stop.

The A819 between Inveraray and A85 was another excellent road, quiet and smooth with a great descent.

A819

A819

The only shame was that the low hanging clouds completely obscured the view of mountains opposite I should have had.

The A85 was a little busier, but I knew I wasn’t going to be on it for long. I had intended to stop at the Glenorchy Lodge Hotel, but I was dismayed to roll up and find it closed. Who doesn’t open for lunch?! Fortunately, I spotted signs off the A85 to the Highland Critters Gift Shop & Tearoom, so I had some sandwiches and cake.

After lunch, I turned off the A85 onto the B8074 into Glen Orchy, which turned out to be really excellent. The surface wasn’t great, but I had it almost entirely to myself with only the noise of the river for company, including the Easan Dubha waterfall.

I emerged onto the A82 only having seen about 2 cars in the past hour. For a while the A82 was also deserted, but with a good surface and a tailwind! It was nice to spot yet more cyclists coming the other way.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0233.JPG

Road to myself

Fellow travellers

I felt strong on the ascent up out of the valley to the Loch Tulla viewpoint.

After my photo stop, I kept climbing for a while before the route flattened out. I assumed I’d soon be descending into Glencoe, but the “top” went on for ages. Also, at the same time, the beautiful tailwind somehow turned into a vicious headwind, the surface fell apart and loads of traffic turned up. I’m not clear where it all came from at 3:30 in the afternoon as the road has no turn offs!

The moorland was suitably barren with the clouds closing in on the surrounding mountains (yet again denying me the view).

Across the moor

I finally got to the descent into Glen Coe only for the rain to arrive (or did I just ride into it the other side of the mountain range?).

I didn’t feel I was going very quickly, probably because of the headwind, so I dived off the main road onto back roads through Glencoe.

Glencoe back road

The final 25k to Fort William was un-inspiring, apart from the Ballachulish Bridge.

Ballachulish Bridge

Traffic was heavy, surface was in-consistent and there were no views to speak of.

The random cycle paths now returned, with various sketchy bits on either side of the road, with cyclists expected to cross every few hundred metres. I tried one or two when I was feeling particularly tired, but the chopping and changing annoyed me more than just plugging along with the traffic.

I was glad to roll into Fort William and take a picture of Ben Nevis (well, what I could see anyway).

The Premier Inn had a secret drying room, so I was able to do a little washing (especially socks!). I even got let in by the night porter to re-arrange my stuff at 3am!

I can’t remember what I had at the attached Brewers Fayre, but it did involve a large pile of chips!

Day 6: https://cyclingcoder.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/ajog-day-6-fort-william-to-lairg-185km/

  1. August 2nd, 2019
  2. August 2nd, 2019

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