Ron Cooper and friends set out on a three day touring trip by bike - here's their story.
"Our trip started in Largs, North Ayrshire. An early train journey to Glasgow Central was followed by a quick ride through rush hour traffic to Buchanan Street Bus Station and a 3 hour coach trip to Oban with our 8 folding bikes tucked away in the hold below.
After a 30 minute ferry trip to Lismore, the sun came out and we cycled past the chanting school children and onto the quiet lane along the spine of the island to the welcoming cafe for afternoon tea. We realised time was tight to catch the ferry to Port Appin so we dashed up the island to catch the ferry with minutes to spare. No worries, the crew were relaxed and helped us load our bikes for the scenic ride through the rocky outcrops to the Appin shore beside the Pierhouse Hotel, our wonderfully located luxury destination for the night.
We offloaded our luggage and rode north from the hotel to view Stalker Castle silhouetted in the evening sun. With only 13 miles done we stacked our bikes in the hotel bike shed. After a lovely meal and a good night's sleep we were waved off by the hotel staff. We followed the signed route round the Appin Loop to join the recently built Oban to Fort William cycle route.
We took a small detour for coffee at the cafe overlooking Castle Stalker. The cycle route followed a disused rail line right along the side of Loch Linnhe. The views over to Morvern and up to the high snow-clad mountains were stunning. Lunch was at the lochside Holly Tree Hotel and the ride continued on the railway line overlooking the rocky shore until the vistas up Glencoe emerged.
The crossing over the Ballachulish Bridge was a little daunting in the strong wind so we walked. The official cycle route is broken here but the footpath beside the main road provided a safe and scenic route to the ferry across the Corran Narrows. With 28 miles cycled that day, we spent the night on the Morvern shore at the Inn at Ardgour, a welcoming, traditional, well-appointed travellers hotel.
Our final day started with rain. Undaunted we rode the 10 miles up to Camusnagaul along the wonderful quiet, scenic and mainly flat minor road with views of Ben Nevis and Fort William across Loch Linnhe. At Camusnagaul we were early for the ferry so we skimmed stones and did silly things on the beach till it arrived. Again the crew helpfully loaded our bikes and we were soon landing at Fort William. A snack lunch at Morrisons and then on the coach to Glasgow and the train home to Ayrshire.
It was a really good three day break full of new experiences.
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