The weather forecast was benign, if a little cool, and we were granted our fourth successive day with no rain. Unfortunately blue skies were nowhere to be seen, and there was a strong southerly wind to test us on the route out.
After taking the Corran ferry across Loch Linnhe once again, we headed south down the main A861 road. This is slightly misleading, as the only traffic that comes down this road is that which comes off the small ferry. So, every half an hour a small convoy of cars or trucks whizzes by and then nothing until the next ferry unloads its cargo and the next convoy comes along.
We turned off the "main" road onto the very minor B road that leads down to Kingairloch. The first 5 miles or so is through rolling but quite barren hills, and then it follows the side of the loch for about 4 miles. The surface along these 9 miles or so varies from excellent to appalling, with the vast majority being of the rough variety....but the views are fabulous.
After passing through Kingairloch, which appears to consist solely of 5 houses and 1 church, the road turns inland and rises almost unnoticeably through the valley. The road for the next 4 miles is almost a perfect surface, and we saw as many cyclists as cars....and we only saw 4 cyclists!!!
This 13 mile detour away from the main road proved to be some of the most enjoyable cycling of our whole trip....lovely views, good roads in parts, almost no traffic, not too taxing...what's not to like?
As the road reaches the head of the valley it rejoins the main road for a very long gradual descent all the way down to Lochaline, where we stopped for lunch at the snack bar by the ferry...the only cafe of any sort open for many miles around.
Of course a very long gradual descent on an out and back ride also means a very long gradual climb on the way back, and of course the strong wind that we had hoped would be behind us for the return had disappeared. Still, being a very gradual climb, it didn't feel too arduous and we were soon back at the junction where we decided to ride our new 13 mile detour away from the main road back in the opposite direction. It was as enjoyable in reverse as it was on the way out, and Simon took the opportunity to inspect a bothy at an outdoor Leadership Centre on the way.
|Alternative accommodation is available|
After this, it was a straight run back to the ferry, with just enough time to make it back across for a quick shower and change before taking advantage of the last night of Rishi's Eat Out to Help Out offer.
All in, an extremely enjoyable days ride to finish off our tour around this area of the West Highlands.
63 miles, 4100 feet of climbing (but feeling nothing like that much) and very few cars.