It had been twenty plus years since I last cycled this circuit from Lochgoilhead. A combination of forestry roads and single track makes ideal terrain for the bike or even a walk. The Forestry Commission have marked the 22 mile route with red marker posts,the diversion to Mark Cottage Bothy adds 3 miles. Travelling this route is best done in a clockwise direction
To quote the forestry commissions website………..
A grand tour of the wild, rugged and remote Ardgartan Peninsula with excellent views of the Clyde and the surrounding mountains. It’s a real challenge of a route: you’ll need lots of stamina for the climbs but you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views, chances to spot wildlife and of course some exhilarating downhills.
I started from Lochgoilhead,heading up Gleann Mhor adjacent to the B828, a continuous climb to the foot of Ben Donich. Once through the gate at the mast it’s mostly descent to Ardgarten.The forestry road runs parallel to the Rest and be Thankful. Instead of following the route right to the lowest section at Ardgarten I decided to follow the upper section of the Cat Craig loop. This saved a loss in altitude and a climb back out of Ardgarten. Joining a short section of surfaced road below the Coilessan car park, a quick climb leads to level ground above Loch Long.
A worthwhile diversion is a visit to Mark Cottage bothy. A bothy maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association (MBA). Situated right across from the Finnart Oil terminal,a view with a difference!
I met two couples who’d stayed the night walking their way out. When I arrived at the bothy there was a group with their bikes that’d also stayed and were just packing up for their return home. A bite to eat and a chat and I was back on the road. The 1.5 mile climb back out from the bothy was another climb I didn’t need but worth the effort.
Onwards to Corran Lochan, then the single track of the Dukes Path leading back to Lochgoilhead. A great section in amongst the hills. Some sections did require a push, but I was glad to get off the saddle now and again !
Some pictures along the way………..
Interactive map of route with further pictures CLICK HERE.