Tour # 12.
Fort Williams - Glen Coe - Loch Lomond - Dumbarton
Approx. total hill climb: 550 meters.
Highest point: Rannoch Moor 320 meters above sea level.
Traffic: Moderate to Busy.
Severity Rating: ******
Fun rating: ******
How to get to Fort Williams: Train from Glasgow, Edinburgh, London
Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor. These two historic names strikes fear
into a long distance cyclist. These two mountains (each on over 300
meters) offers very hard cycling over a distance over 50 km. The cycling
is not particular steep, but it is without any rest or easy parts.
The cycling in this very majestic landscape is also very exposed towards
wind, rain or sunshine. Whatever weather; these 50 kilometres takes
everything out of the cyclist. This tour is by far the toughest cycle
trip in the West Of Scotland. But it is also one of Scotland's most
beautiful cycle trips. This cycle trip is a classic and a must do.
The road from Fort Williams follows the very busy and flat A 82 along
Loch Linnhe. After 20 kilometres, the road leaves Loch Linnhe at the
bridge at Ballachulish. The views towards Glen Coe and across Loch
Linnhe is superb. The village of Glen Coe (shops) awaits after some
The moderate steep climb up to valley to the top of Glen Coe goes
through the most dramatic alpine scenery in Scotland. The views along
this climb is worthy the whole cycle trip alone. From the top of Glen
Coe, there is a rapid descent to Kingshouse Hotel (drinks, food) before
the long, arduous climb up to the highest point of the tour: Rannoch
Moor. The climb up the moor goes on forever and it is very exposed
to the weather. The road drops down from the top of Rannoch Moor to
lake and a new climb. This rather flat climb is not hard, but it you
have run empty on the climbs up Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor (which I
always do), this is quite a nasty sting of the tail. From the top
of this climb, the descent to Bridge Of Orchy is vertical. The road
now goes along a small lake up a very small hill and down to the Bridge
Of Orchy hotel. Although the food and drink in this pub is expensive,
I recommend a meal in this pub. Mainly because you will need the strength
for the rest of the tour.
The road from Bridge Of Orchy climbs again to a new 300 meters above
sea level mountain. The climb does not seems steep, but it is arduous
and should be treated with respect. From the top of this climb, the
road drops down to Tyndrum. The shops and newsagents offer a welcome
rest. The road down the valley to Crianlarich (shops) is moderate
undulating with a short, nasty hill when crossing the railway line.
From Crianlarich, take the road (A 82) to the right under the railway
bridge up a short, sharp climb to a small moor. From this moor, the
road falls down the valley to Loch Lomond. The road along Loch Lomond
down to Tarbet is relative flat, with some potholes now and then.
Be careful. There is a short climb after the hydro electric station,
but that is all. The traffic is normally very busy on this narrow
road. Tarbet (hotel and shops) is normally very busy. There is a cycle
path from Tarbet to Luss, but it is off a very poor standard. If you
can live with the traffic, I recommend the road to Luss. Luss (shops)
is one of the most scenic villages in Scotland. The view from the
pier to Ben Lomond is world class. From Luss (15 km. from Tarbet),
please follow the designated, quite scenic cycle road. The road from
Luss to Dumbarton through Balloch and Alexandria is flat and reasonable
Train from Dumbarton back to Glasgow four times an hour.