West Highlands Gravel Recce Part 1

West Highlands Mini Recce – The Clammy Chamois Rides Again
Day 1

Speed Bonnie Boat Like a Bird on the Wing Over the Sea …. to Mull
A wee half and half day from Craignure to Tobermory.  Half on tarmac and half on glorious gravel.  The section of forestry road overlooking Loch Frisa and the network of gravel roads from Dervaig and around by Glengorm Castle offer some fabulous traffic free riding and awesome views.

And where better to top up the tank with the finest curry than Tob.

63kms & 890m ascent.

West Highlands Mini Recce – The Clammy Chamois Rides Again
Day 2

To Strontian – It’s Elemental
Another mixed surface day today.  Pre dawn tarmac to Fishnish and a ferry over the Sound of Mull to Lochaline and then onto Strontian via some of Morvern’s finest forest roads, some tarmac, the Post Track section from Drimnin to Loch Teacuis, yet more gravel and finally some more tarmac and a muckle hill.

Sunshine, icy rain and headwinds. Life affirming and simply brilliant 🤓

100kms & 1700m of ascent.

West Highlands Mini Recce – The Clammy Chamois Rides Again
Day 3

A Change of Plans Sort of a Day
What was meant to be a day with three fairly decent bits of off road got derailed. Sometimes these things happen and the good thing is ….. I’ll just have to head back home again soon on another wee recce to fill in the gaps (and some other blank spots on my Strava Heatmap).

The climb up the Polloch road was tackled in the dark (working on the “if it can’t see me (lights off) then I can’t see it” school of thought).  It’s been 26-27 years since I’ve been over that way and, whilst I didn’t see the climb yesterday, I sure felt it with some luggage onboard.

There was a fair amount of both sparkly and black ice on the drop down on towards Polloch itself, so “canny away” was the descent mode.
Dawn appeared heading up Loch Shiel side – complete with a Proper Stag Do when four multi point stags appeared first running alongside me and then cut across in front of me, close enough to smell them and almost to be able to touch them.

The plan then changed and developed into a road ride to Corran Ferry (with Big Ben Nevis looking awesome in early winter garb), over the Corran Ferry and then onto The Ballachulish Hotel for, a rather splendid, lunch.  My preference for a postprandial siesta was derailed by the new imperative to get back to the Oban and the van a day early and so it was back on the bikes and down the, largely, old railway line cycle path to the Connel Bridge and the Old Gravel Drove Road as a finale back into Oban and one of those sunsets you only get on the West Coast in Winter.

Not nearly as much gravel as originally planned and as the tyres demanded but a braw wee burl all the same and in glorious weather.

135kms & 1399m of ascent.

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