Cycling to GlenborrodaleAs I said on the front page, I had intended to cycle from Strontian to Acharacle today. The reason? Part of my mad plan to link up all of the walks / cyclerides I'd already done. Well, I failed, so sometime soon I guess I shall have to go back. On the plus side, I will also be able to cycle from Strontian around to Liddesdale on Morvern, and so link another bit in. Then all I'll need to do is walk from Loch Teacuis across to Glencripesdale and I will have incorporated all of my Morvern trip into the main web. There's a link back there somewhere if you think I'm talking gibberish! Anyway, on with what I actually did do:
StrontianAs you will have figured out by now, I didn't start at Strontian! I actually parked my car in a layby near Camuschoirk, then after some mad woman came out screaming at me I moved it to another layby 100m up the road. As I cycled along the undulating road that loosely follows the shore of Loch Sunart, I was catching occasional glimpses of the water, and Morvern beyond. After about a mile the road found the first of the Sunart Oakwoods car parks, and I followed the little trail to the viepoint. Sadly, however, as with so many of these places the trees have grown substantially in the last 10 years since the viewpoint was established, and so there is not much of a view left!
The road continues to alternate between wooded hilly sections and shoreside straights until it reaches Resipole, little more than a Campsite. I then had to climb over the highest bit of hill yet - over 50m - to get to Salen where the road off to Ardnamurchan leaves. It wasn't until I got there that the idea of taking that road really started to set in, but for the time being I was still heading to Acharacle!
AcharacleFrom Salen, the road starts climbing once more and despite a couple of stops I managed to cycle all the way to the top of the hillat or above 66m. I then accelerated rapidly down the hill, freewheeling all the way to Acharacle. It's over a year since I last visited the village, and that was also by bike when I was exploring the village, Kentra Bay, Castle Tioram and the surrounding area. This time, however, my aim was simply to link the two routes together, so I cycled down the road to the pier where the Steamers used to call, and the set off back up that steep hill.
It was as I was freewheeling down the other side that I passed the 30 limit signs into Salen at 31.2mph (according to my bikes little speedo). I braked hard, not just because I was speeding, but also because I finally decided that I would head out west a little further. The road through Salen and beyond remains fairly level and easy going as far as Camasinas, but then climbs sharply over the hill to Laga. I had originally intended not to go any further than Camasinas, but in the back of my brain I remembered a large 'castle' at Glenborrodale, and fancied taking a look. After all, I had only cycled 14 miles so far, and having just stopped for lunch I was feeling refreshed too!
GlenborrodaleThe hill over to Laga was not too bad on the ascent, but I knew that the return journey would be worse as it was much steeper! Never mind, though, as I would have to reclimb the hill whatever, I decided to carry on. That sentence was rubbish, but you get what I mean I hope. Laga is a little village huddled along the shore, but the road stays high in the trees behind, so there is little chance of getting a decent view for a photo. Glenborrodale is less than 2 miles further on, and my tired legs were rewarded when I found the 'castle'. In truth, it is a Victorian Lairds House, now used as an outdoor activity centre by the looks of things! Apparently it was built in 1898-1902.
There isn't much else to see in Glenborrodale, a few cottages, a Hotel hidden in the trees, a school. No shop or anything like that, the residents have to head west to Kilchoan or (more likely) east to Acharacle / Fort William. The other alternative would be to get the ferry from Kilchoan, or the passenger ferry from Laga to Tobermory! This is a distant and remote communityseemingly hanging half way between the past and 'modern' life. However, I suspect that the biggest problem with living there is the cost of fuel...
It was now time to head back. The hill beyond Laga wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated, but I did push my bike most of the way even so! Then a long freewheel down the other side, followed by the easy level road back to Salen. Again, I pushed my bike up the hill from Salen, my legs very tired by now, but I had had a fantastic day, despite not actually doing what I had set out to do!