Loch LyonYou are Here: Scotland; East; Loch Lyon
You may have read of my manic journey up the Auch Glen and so Beinn Mhanach last October. On that day, I reached the shore of Loch Lyon and discovered to my delight that despite what the map said, there was a track all the way around the loch. Well, today was the day that I proved that right, and circumnavigated Loch Lyon, on my bike!
Glen LyonI parked up about three miles east of the dam, next to a much smaller dam for another little reservoir in the hydro scheme. From here, I cycled back up the road to the dam, an uneventful 3 miles along an undulating piece of tarmac. There are a few scattered farms and cottages along here, and a settlement that could almost be described as a village at Pubil, just short of the dam. However, I suspect that these cottages were either built by the Hydro or are holiday lets.
Anyway, after cycling up the easy gradients of the road, I was confronted with something much more severe, the lower slope of the road that climbs sharply over to Glen Lochay to the south. This road is doubtfully public highway, having been built by the Hydro. However, it seems to be open to the public and if you are willing to risk your car through the enormous potholes it certainly affords some fine views!
The south shoreI wish that I had something exciting to tell you as I right this, but in all honesty it was a pretty ordinary day. The track sets off down the loch's south shore, passing the dam and then a boathouse, after which there is nothing of note for mile after mile. About half way along, the bridges and culverts disappear, instead streams are crossed at fords. It was at one such ford that I saw the only other people I saw all day, and managed to fall off my bike as I stopped to wait for them to cross!
At the far western end of the loch, a large barn and small 'cottage' are evidently used for sheep farming, then a much deeper ford took me across to the short western shore. I now knew that I was approaching the track that leads down from the Auch Glen, and hoped that the river was not as full as it had been back in the autumn. But then again, my feet were already wet, so it wouldn't matter too much!
The north shoreThe river level was lower, and unlike the previous ford, the riverbed was fairly flat allowing me to cycle across this time. I had now connected my route Back to Home, and simply had to make my way back to the car. I had been looking across the loch all morning, and knew that the track ran most of the way back, there just being one side glen where the track had disappeared from view. In a short break from the drizzle, I stopped and ate my lunch in the sunshine, before setting off once more.
The side glen saw the track take a huge detour 'inland'. Of course, when the reservoir is full, the water level would make such a detour essential, but today with the level as low as all the other hydro lochs around the Highlands, it seemes unnecessary. Once more I had to ford the river, but this was the best constructed of all the fords, and soon I was back at the loch. Another barn was passed marking another sheep fank, and then the long slow drag up the track which passes the dam about 50m higher up the hillside. I was looking forward to the descent until I tried my brakes, and found that they were almost ineffective (I have since adjusted them and they work fine once more). If it wasn't for the sharp hairpins and loose rocky surface I wouldn't have worried too much, but I could see an accident ahead, and so used the vegetation alongside the track to slow my progress with the brakes hard on! At last I made it safely back to the road, and so back to the car.