Did this trip a while back and forgot to Blog it !!
Decided to take the bike for this one,but it can also be walked in one day or alternatively split into two days/sections.
21 mile loop of Loch Eck. A great trail giving a scenic tour of Loch Eck. Ground covered is mostly on wide forestry roads, there is a section of hardcore hill path above Inverchapel.
Starting from Benmore Gardens in a clockwise direction. Heading up the West side to Glenbranter then returning down the East side via Invernoden and Inverchapel.Can also start/finish at Glenbranter. The West side offers mostly Loch level walking, with a slight climb at the North end. Of course, what goes up must come down. The East side gives the chances if some fantastic elevated view points, so some bigger climbs on this side…..but worth it.
West side,never strays to far from the edge of the Loch. Benmore to Glenbranter.
A few points of interest on the West side.
– Small burial ground/cemetery.
– Bernice farmhouse, used as outdoor centre.
– Stuck Farmhouse ruin.
East side, climbs away from the main road high above the Loch. Glenbranter,Invernoaden, Inverchapel and to back to Benmore.
Of course, a huge incentive to complete this loop is a well earned treat at the Benmore Cafe .
For a fully interactive map with more photos and stats , CLICK HERE
Below is a basic route card.
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.