Lochs of Lochs

I think I’ve ridden more in the past few days than I have in the last few weeks. That said though I don’t feel too bad.

I woke this morning, slept better but a bit stiff and sore from yesterday’s ride. I got up and had some breakfast and prepped my other bike. I just needed to swap the tubes in my bag. I left the frame bag off and decided to carry the gels in my pocket today.

I left around 11am again and rode back up the valley I did the day I got here. The weather was cloudy but warm with a bit of chill in the air but I expected that to disappear later in the ride. Loch Ard was still as serene as when I last saw it on Saturday. As I passed where I turned round after my puncture the road surface after here was pretty shit. Holes, patched, loose. It was as rough as the forest gravel in places and a punchy route too. Loads of little kickers to test the tired legs. I stopped at Loch Chon for a pic. This one reminded me of Canada so ironic there were Canada Geese having a dip.

Further on the first big climb came into view just as a car passed me. The road was up and arrow straight and the car just didn’t seem to disappear in the distance for an eternity. Looked miles long but really was probably only a kilometre. As it topped out Loch Arklet came into view.

Loch Arklet

At the foot of the descent I had to double-take when I passed a couple of parked cars on the right. The occupants were all out and they had a full clothes rail full of various outfits crammed onto the rail. The road is a dead end for cars. It’s pretty remote too so I had no idea what was going on. Some people are just odd. Just on from that I took a left at the T-junction and rode down to the shores of Loch Arklet which is a dammed reservoir as so many of the Loch’s are around here are.

As I approached Loch Lomond the road plunged down a really steep hill to a hotel, a car park and a jetty and that’s it. A dead end effectively. Awesome views across the Loch though with the added bonus of a waterfall beside the Inversnaid Hotel.

I began the climb back up from the shore around a sweeping hairpin bend and then up through the trees until I was besides Loch Arklet again. I passed the T-Junction and carried on to Stronachlachar which is another dead end on the shores of Loch Katrine. Here tourists can take a steam ferry ride but I decided to ride round it. I knew there was a cycle route around the Loch. I expected it to be a gravel path but after doing some research on it last night I was astonished to find out it’s a 13 mile tarmac, traffic-free private road. Awesome!

The road was fantastic. Obviously very quiet but it did have some steep pitches to test the legs and equally some long descents to enjoy too. I saw the odd cyclists and more walkers as I neared the end. I didn’t see a ferry on the water but there was one moored at the visitor centre end of the route. The road and the ferries felt like something the Victorians did back in the day.

Just 10km left now with Dukes pass in the way. I passed the hotel where I had my tubeless nightmare on the banks of Loch Achray and then the climb began. It kind of went up in steps and even descended near the top before the final kicker to the summit. Alarmingly though a couple of times when I was on a steep section so going slow, I heard cars approaching, I looked behind and saw a swarm of ninja flies following me. Horrible. Happened twice. It was only speed that seemed to drop them.

The descent into Aberfoyle down the alpine-like road around the hairpins was awesome and a great way to end the ride. I parked up at a coffee shop at the bottom and downed a toastie and coffee before home and a shower. I counted six Lochs today.

Rain is forecast tomorrow so I might book a tour of the local Glengoyne Whisky distillery. The legs will be grateful for the rest too

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