Day Seven – Dumbarton to Fort William – 91 miles – I couldn’t have got this one more wrong!!

After yesterdays ‘off’ day I was slightly concerned about today as it may only be 90 miles but includes the biggest climbs by far of the whole journey and it would be back to doing it on my own so no words of encouragement from anyone. Also the A82 is notoriously dangerous (although it turns out I didn’t find it that way). Jed indulged in a full English (or Scottish) whilst I opted for the breakfast of champions, porridge after learning from my mistake earlier in the trip. It was overcast, nippy but dry. Jed set off on his merry way to cycle the 18 miles into Glasgow to catch his train home whilst I was heading for Fort William with only ‘some climbs’ past ski resorts in my way.

First photo stop (of many) was the south end of Loch Lomond looking straight up the loch, then it was on to Luss (famous as the location for Tak the high road – apparently a ‘quality’ bit of TV. It was swarming with Japanese tourists who take photos of anything eg Sunflowers, a man in a kilt and me (because I was talking with man in kilt) – I also got a photo with him ;-) Leaving Luss it started to rain but even that couldn’t put me off – the road is very narrow and rough at the head of the loch but once past there it opens up and it climbs and climbs (I don’t recall this from when I drove it). I climbed up throughTyndrum. The higher I climbed the colder it got but again that didn’t put me off. Destination for lunch was the Bridge of Orchy hotel which doesn’t look very good from outside but is transformed inside with ambient music, nice décor and expensive food but well worth it – I was so tired I almost fell asleep sitting up so thought I’d best make a move. Off I went, next milepost Glencoe ski resort followed closely by the Kings House hotel with many photo stops in between. The headwind on the top was really strong but again it wouldn’t spoil my day. Eventually I reached the long fast descent down to Glencoe Village and Ballachulish stopping to take a photo of the waterfall which was in spate the last time I visited but this time was a trickle. I got talking to a couple of keen amateur photographers who took a photo of me in front of the fall. It was the down to Glencoe Village and around Loch Leven and onward to Fort William to find the youth hostel right in the middle of town. A quick shower and wash my cycling clothes before heading to Stables Restaurant (below digs) for a very nice Italian meal of carbs.

I so misjudged this day – I’ve driven the route many times and it is good but to cycle it you really get to see how stunning it really is and you can stop anywhere you like to take photos. If you think you could ride 90 miles, you need to get the train to Dumbarton then cycle it and get the train back from Fort William – you won’t be disappointed.

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