Loch Eck 1997
I did not have a camera back then, I am afraid. So no pictures from that tour. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Dunoon" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
I had just bought my racing bike and were eager to try it out. So I tried out on a ride to Helensburgh and back again. That gave me an urge to do more rides. This one was a natural line which included train and ferry out and a bikeride back again.
I took the early train from Alexandria up to Glasgow Queen Street, walked over to Glasgow Central Station and took the train out to Gourock. The train journey from Glasgow to Gourock was itself an adventure and it is a great journey. The trainjourney ended in Gourock and I took the now discontinued old ferry (replaced with a foot passengers and bikes catamarans) between Gourock and Dunoon. A 40 minutes long sailing in an old ferry . A strange ferry it was, but an excellent ferry sailing. It is still recommended. In particular with the new foot passengers & bike ferry. The ferry berthed in Dunoon where I started my bikeride.
I chose the road along the shore instead of the shorter ride over the hill and the road was both flat and good. I reached the head of Holy Loch and the beginning of Loch Eck. The road along Loch Eck was flat and uneventful. I took it all in while pacing myself. At the end of the loch, the road climbed up a small hill and then descended down to Strachur at Loch Fyne. A nice place. I continued the ride along Loch Fyne to the beginning of the hillclimb at St Catherine. This very long climb up past Ardno has some very scenic views over to Inveraray, but is pretty boring besides of that. The road descended and then climbed a bit to the A83 crossroad. I had never been here before so I took it all in.
The climb up the valley to the sharp right bend and the final climb to Rest And Be Thankful was pretty boring. The area reminded me a lot about the Alps. It is indeed called The Arrochar Alps and with good reasons. The road rises from 100 to 280 meters above sea level and the mountains is around 1000 meters high. But it feels like a valley in Switzerland and 2000 meters higher. Stunning, although the bikeriding is pretty boring. I reached Rest And Be Thankful for the first time in my life . It is one of the small events in my life. I have been here many times afterwards. The descent down to Arrochar was a bit hairy and the brakes got some pounding. But I reached Loch Long and the road took me in to the head of the loch and out to
Arrochar again. This was my first ever visit to a place I was going to visit a lot during the coming years.
A small hill took me over to Loch Lomond and
Tarbet. I had actually been here in 1995 (see Scotland '95) and knew this place. I continued the ride down Loch Lomond. First on the main road and then on the cycle path on the old road. A very nice ride past Inverbeg and down to
Luss where I visited the pier again. A nice and easy ride took me down the rest of Loch Lomond to
Balloch and my flat in Bonhill, Alexandria after a nice ride.
This is not an interesting ride, I am afraid. The ride from Dunoon to Strachur and St Catherine is too flat. The rest of the ride to Rest And Be Thankful is too boring on hills that is really not that steep. I cannot recommend this ride at all and I have no intention of repeating it. I did ride it the opposite way in 2010 and that was a better ride than the 1997 version though and maybe worthy a consideration. But the 1997 ride is a one off in my case, I am afraid.