It’s been a long summer stuck at home. Cycling holidays cancelled, friends not visited, places not seen. This last week however, my wife and I finally managed a short cycle tour in the beautiful Argyll, within easy cycling distance from Scotland’s major population centre of Glasgow.
We started by rail to Oban (Scotrail bike bookings pretty much essential) and thence by ferry to the island of Lismore for a few days, a place that neither of us had explored. After some great explores of this beautiful and little visited island we cycled south to Glasgow via Loch Awe, Kilmartin, Ardrishaig, the Kilberry Loop, Tarbert and the island of Bute.
The point of this post however, is not about our cycle holiday, it’s about yours. Argyll is beautiful; it’s close to Glasgow and offers wonderful cycling. If you start at Oban, as we did, you have so many choices.
- Do you go north by ferry to the islands of Mull, Coll & Tiree? Perhaps Ardnamuchan by way of Mull?
- Do you head up the Great Glen to Fort William and thence onward?
- Do you head south along the Loch Awe route to see the prehistoric sites at Kilmartin (as we did), but then how to choose an onward route? As a suggestion there is a summer foot ferry from Tayvallich to the island of Jura giving access not just to Jura but a short ferry hop to Islay too. The ferry is run by Nicol who has a website at https://jurapassengerferry.com/
- Alternatively, keep heading south, perhaps following the Crinan Canal to Ardrishaig and then onto the splendid Kilberry Loop around to Tarbert, about 30 miles of quiet cycling loveliness.
- From Tarbet, where to? Perhaps the fantastic Cowal Peninsula so well-known as part of the Five Ferries Route? Alternatively down the Mull of Kintyre (east side highly recommended); possibly over to Arran. So many good choices, so little time.
A small word of caution to those who don’t know the area; Argyll is not always the easiest of cycling. Even in summer, Scotland can deliver more wind and rain than is comfortable, and when the wind stops, biting midges can make themselves all too apparent! Did I mention hills? They are ever present but never too challenging for the average cyclist. However, put the caveats aside; the scenery, the beauty, the flora, the fauna, the availability of quiet roads and the potential for island-hopping make Argyll a World-Class cycling destination.
So for Glasgow folk, you lucky, lucky people, Argyll is on you doorstep! If you don’t live near Glasgow, fear not, an excellent train service connects Glasgow from all parts of Britain.
And now some pictures.