Argyll offers fantastic cycling opportunities, and even if you don’t want to go very far there is something for everybody. Where you choose to go obviously depends on the kind of bikes you have, and your level of fitness, but here are a few suggestions. Please ensure that you wear a suitable helmet at all times and if you are going on the main roads, please wear highly visible clothing. And remember to take food and drink with you.
Many of you may be aware of the national effort to build dedicated cycle tracks and for further information about this, and in particular the Oban to Fort William track, please visit www.sustrans.org.uk
At the bottom of this page are details of local repair shops, bike hire, and clubs as well as links to further information.
ARDMADDY TO DEGNISH
Go back up the hill you came down to get here and when you get to the Lodge at the top, turn right. This takes you onto a good landrover track which goes all the way to Degnish point. There are stunning views from this track and all sorts of wildlife and birdlife to be seen – and no traffic to contend with other than the occasional landrover or other estate vehicle! From Degnish point, you can either come back the same way, or continue along the metalled road to Kilmelford – this is a quiet, single track road. Again, you can come back the same way, or make it into a circular route by taking the main road via Kilninver.
GLEN LONAN AND LOCH NELL
Glen Lonan is a perfect hanging valley with stunning views and scenery, very quiet roads with generally good visibility of approaching traffic. It takes you between Taynuilt and Kilmore, Oban or Connel, depending on your choice of direction, and misses all the major roads. It’s a wonderful area to enjoy cycling on metalled roads, take in the scenery and peace and quiet, without having to worry constantly about the traffic. A lot of this route is reasonably flat, especially in Glen Lonan itself, although there are hills at all ends! Taynuilt has a lovely cafe/tea room called the Robin's Nest - and a brilliant little village shop next door.
If you want to take your bikes into Oban, you can cycle from the town centre out to Ganavan Sands along a lovely little road along the shore giving you some terrific views. There is then a newly constructed cycle path which takes you out to Dunbeg and Dunstaffnage
Quiet wooded roads leading between Taynuilt and Loch Awe taking in the village of Kilchreggan. It’s a route that can be made as short or as long a trip as you wish. Although there is no one major hill it is a fairly hilly road and it isn’t as quiet as Glen Lonan. There is a forestry track off the road if you wish to explore that.
NORTH CONNEL TO BONAWE
Lovely road along the north side of Loch Etive through oak woodlands passing Ardchattan Priory along the way. This is a fairly flat route and mainly quiet, but there is a quarry right at the end of the road and at times there are a lot of very large lorries on the road. Come back the same way unless you want to be adventurous and take the Gleann Salach road over to Barcaldine and then back to North Connel along the main road. The Gleann Salach road is a contrast to the one you have just ridden along, as it takes you up into the hills – fantastic on a good day, but somewhat unforgiving in wind and rain! There are some wonderful views from up here before you go down through forestry into Barcaldine.
LOCH ETIVE EAST SIDE
The top half of this loch is only approachable by boat or rough track and is a fabulous, wild, unspoilt area. The track runs north from Inverawe Fisheries through forestry for the first mile or so before opening out to give wonderful views along the loch. It is a there and back again route, so it’s up to you how far you go – there are some hills that may weaken the faint hearted! The main places along the way are:
- Glen Noe – worth a walk up the track for a view of Ben Cruachan’s northern corries.
- Glen Kinglass – a fantastic wild glen heading to Victoria Bridge. The river is gorgeous, and there have been sightings of wild cats in this area.
- Ardmaddy (a different one!) – lovely sands.
The hard track comes and goes somewhat after Ardmaddy, but you can still walk beyond this point although it does get a bit boggy in places depending on the time of year. There are some old shielings not far north from Ardmaddy – on a good day, a cracking place to sit and absorb the atmosphere of the place.
LOCH ETIVE WEST SIDE
A little less demanding than the East side, you start from Bonawe and follow the track alongside the loch through some lovely pastoral land with great views. Another there and back.
This is up by Barcaldine and has mostly been an area for walking, but the North Argyll Cycle Club have mapped out a shortish track for those who enjoy something a little more technical and challenging!
This is a small road which links the Tyndrum/Glencoe and the Tyndrum/Oban roads. It’s a gentle cycle following the spectacular river Orchy along a single track road. Another there and back route, unless you want to make it a circular ride using the main road.
For the real thrill seekers, Fort William’s Nevis Range, and Glencoe Mountain Range have excellent facilities and tracks for downhill mountain biking.
Some of the small Islands lying just off the coast are ideal for exploring by bike, being just the right size for a day trip and having very little traffic.
The island of Luing is just 9 miles long and offers fantastic views out to the west and lovely scenery on the island itself. There is a small village shop at Cullipool, and the recently opened Atlantic Islands Centre which has a restaurant and tea room. To get there, you take the ferry from North Cuan on Seil Island (accessible via the Atlantic Bridge). You can either cycle all the way from here – about 8 miles – or you can take the car and park at North Cuan, although parking can sometimes be a bit tight on a busy day.
This island is mainly served by fairly rough farm tracks and a mountain bike would be the best option here. This is the island seen from the main street in Oban and, like Lismore, it is like going back in time. There are virtually no cars on this delightful island and there is a tearoom and fantastic castle at the southern end.
Just 9 miles long, this is a delightful island lying in Loch Linnhe. It can be reached by ferry either from Oban or Port Appin. There are some wonderful archaeological sites including a couple of Brochs and a Castle. There is one teashop on the island. The feel generally on Lismore is that of going back in time.
Although not a small island, and way too big to cycle round in a day, or even a few days, Mull is still a stunning island to visit and can be a gentle day out by taking the bikes on the Oban-Craignure ferry and then cycle the short distance to Duart Castle (the spectacular one as you approach Mull) and also visit the gardens at Torosay Castle on the way past.
A mountain bike is best for these tracks, and for the best routes and maps call in at a Forestry Commission office or the tourist information centre in Oban. Here are a few suggestions.
RAERA FOREST, LOCH SEIL
This forest has a myriad of tracks running through it, so wise to keep an eye on your map and/or GPS. Some of the trees have been cleared recently opening up some great views. You can cycle all the way to Kilmelford and then come back via Degnish point and the track back to Ardmaddy.
INVERLIEVER FOREST, LOCH AWE NORTH SIDE
This has many tracks both for walking and cycling and has some well signposted tracks.
EREDINE FOREST, LOCH AWE SOUTH SIDE
Not quite so many tracks as Inverliever, but a huge forest, and a real feeling of remoteness.
For more ideas, please visit http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/argyll-forest-park/cycling and
ISLE OF LUING CYCLE HIRE
Bikes are available for uplift from Sunnybrae Caravan Park which is a short distance from the ferry. Luing Cycle Hire, Sunnybrae Caravan Park, Isle of Luing, PA34 4TU Telephone 01852 314274 firstname.lastname@example.org
87 George Street, Oban, PA34 5NN. Telephone 01631 566033 – bikes for hire, and Kevin is very helpful and great at fixing bikes!
Has a range of bikes and equipment and Nick will do his best to arrange any special requirements you may have. Bikes are properly serviced and can either be collected, or delivered, although there is a charge for the latter. RCS Cycles, Barr Bheag, Taynuilt, PA35 1HY Telephone 01866 822 736 or 0779 197 4152
If you are going to visit Lismore, then bikes are a great way to see the island. Bikes are normally available on the day, but during the main holiday periods, it’s best to check in advance. email@example.com or telephone 01631 760213
Carry a large range of bikes which can be hired from a half-day to a full week. All ages and sizes are covered. For children under the age of 6 years (approx) they have trailer bikes, and for toddlers, some of the adult bikes can be fitted with a child seat. All bikes come with a helmet, pump, spare tube & adjustment keys on request.
They also carry a wide selection of spare parts for your own bikes and are able to order in any required components which they don't hold as stock. For those of you not wanting to attempt a repair yourselves, they offer a comprehensive service - from a simple component replacement to a complete bike overhaul and re-tune.
Crinan Cycles, 34 Argyll Street, Lochgilphead, PA31 8NE Telephone 01546 603511
Bike hire, spares and repair service available. Inverinate, Salen, Isle of Mull PA72 6JB Fergus and Babs Whyte Telephone 01680 300501
Based in Oban, they have regular rides out and competitions. Their Facebook page is worth a look for the latest things going on