Todays itinerary – 47 miles, 3000ft of climbing and no ferries!
We had planned to wild camp just outside Callander but the forecast was for rain from mid-afternoon. We decided arriving in the forest wet through to pitch a tent with nowhere to dry our kit wasn’t going to be much fun so we reluctantly booked a B&B in Strathyre last minute.
The road from Kinloch Rannoch was gorgeous, it was a single track deserted road which started off winding through farmland with the loch in the distance and then it gradually started to climb. We saw all terrains on this road, eventually climbing up through woodland and onto the heathlands above. Although this was a long, big climb the gradients were manageable and much easier than some of those sharp inclines we’d experienced alongside lochs on previous days.
We arrived in Kenmore on the shores of Loch Tay and searched out a coffee shop!
Not a bad view for coffee and cake. We were so pleased we had given ourselves a really achievable mileage each day, it meant we could stop in places like this and take our time without worrying about getting the miles in.
The route follows Loch Tay for 16 miles. This was the third time I’d cycled this part of the route, that’s because its my favourite stretch of cycling I’ve ever done in Scotland! After this trip I may put the Ardamurchan Peninsula up there with Loch Tay! But just like Loch Awe on day 3 the road constantly goes up and down with some very steep inclines, its quite a tough ride.
After Loch Tay the Sustrans route takes you through Forestry Commission land on very rough trails, we had a look at the trails and decided we wouldn’t be able to ride them on our road bikes so opted for the A85 to Lochearnhead. I was quite concerned as I’d done this exact same stretch with my Mum in the past and I felt lucky to escape with my life! I remembered it being a very busy road with lots of coaches and lorries but as the rain started falling we felt we had no option. We had 5-6 miles to ride before we’d be able to get onto the disused railway. It was Sunday and there seemed to be a lull in the traffic, we were very relieved to reach this most amazing stretch of Sustrans trail.
We only had about 8 miles to go now and the route was entirely traffic free 🙂
Strathyre was an interesting place, built mainly in Victorian times when the Oban to Callander railway attracted visitors to the area. It sits in the bottom of a deep valley with dramatic views. We unloaded our bikes, had a shower and headed out to find the pub for a drink before dinner. A three course meal was served in the B & B for us and the other 2 groups staying, the proprietor was Italian and a brilliant chef! On balance although I was disappointed not to camp it was the right decision, in the morning there was a lot of standing water so it wouldn’t have been much fun camping. I guess that means you can classify me as a fair weather camper!!!
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