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 Mull isn’t 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.