Cycling In Oban
There are cycle tours of all types around Bonawe House. We have done many of these ourselves, so do ask for more information if you have any queries.
RCS cycles Bike hire in Taynuilt. With mountain bikes delivered to here, including helmet and paraphernalia. Tel Nick Charlton on 01866 822 736 or 0779 197 4152.
If travelling to Luing, bikes can be hired at the Sunnybrae caravan site, just across the ferry from Mike Barlow - 01852 314 274. Helmet, child seat , map and guide included in price. Mike also has 2 electric bikes, which are great for cycling as a family with a range of abilities.
If travelling to the Isle of Lismore, then bikes can be hired at Port Appin near the ferry from Appin Bikes. They also hire out electric bikes.
We are planning to track all cycling routes so that we can provide GPX routes for you to download onto your GPS. We have lots more adventurous mountain biking routes from the house now, but just the descriptions are a bit too awkward.
Cycling On Road
Glen Lonan This is a perfect hanging valley with stunning views and scenery, very quiet mainly flat roads with good visibility of approaching traffic. It makes a wonderful cycle from Bonawe House to Oban (missing all major roads) via the Rare Breeds Park. This takes around 1 1/2 to 2 hours with a longish hill at the start in both directions. For those who want to avoid the hills, it is possible to drive up the first mile then cycle from there, which is as flat as it gets in Scotland.
Glen Nant Quiet wooded roads leading to Loch Awe that can be made as short or as long as wanted. Although there is no one major hill it is a fairly hilly road. Not as quiet as Glen Lonan.
North Connel to Bonawe ( 1 hour each way) Lovely road along the north side of Loch Etive through oak woodlands passing Ardchattan Priory and tearooms on route. This is a farly flat route and mainly quiet, however there is a quarry right at the end of the road and at times there are a lot of very large lorries on the road.
Glen Orchy A gentle cycle following the spectacular river Orchy along a single track quiet road. Another there and back.
Cycling on The Islands
Many of the small Islands lying just off the coast are ideal for exploring by bike for the day, being the right size and having very little traffic.
Lismore (9 miles long) Delightful island lying in Loch Linnhe. It can be approached by ferry either from Oban or Port Appin (bike hire available here). Lovely old ruins to see, one teashop on the island, and quiant houses and pier.
Luing (9 miles long) Great views and lovely scenery make this an idyllic day out, ferry is from Seil Island via the bridge over the Atlantic (there is also bike hire available here).
Mull (2/3 miles each way) A bit too big to cycle round in a day (or three) but a lovely gentle day out is to take bikes on the Oban - Criagnure ferry then cycle the short distance to Duart Castle ( The spectacular one as you approach Mull)
A two day trip for a fairly fit party can be had by cycling from Craignure up to Tobermory, to Dervaig and round Calgary Beach to Salen and back to Craignure. Catch it on a good day and you'll have your best day ever (on a bad day and you'll never return to Mull!).
Kerrera (6 rough miles, needs to be a mountain bike) This delightful island is the one seen from the main street in Oban. No cars are allowed on the island and there is a farm track right round the southern half, which makes for an adventurous days cycling (and some pushing). There is a tearoom and fantastic castle at the southern end of the island.
Cycling on Forestry Tracks
These really need a mountain bike or gravel bike to go along them
Balindor Circuit. Renate does this circuit frequently. From the house, go to Taynuilt, turn right onto the main road (I stick to the pavement), where the pavement runs out, cross over and turn left to Balindor (pronounced Balingeor). This goes up hill quite a way, and becomes a track. Where you join the Glen Loan road, turn left and whizz down. During dry weather you could avoid Taynuilt centre by turning right over the bridge onto the golf course, and sticking to the right, over the tiny bridge, turn left and to Aird's bay. Where you reach tarmac turn left, and head to the A 85, turn right and immediately left to Balindor. About 10 miles, also a good walking route.
Glen Lonan/glen Nant circuit. Head up Glen Lonan from the village, past Airdeny, and Lonan House, over the cattle grid. Take the left track that leads to a house. Just before the house take a faint track right along the river, through a gate. Then a bit of thrashing to cross the river and up straight ahead, leads to a forestry track termination. This track goes back to Glen Nant. Turn left at the road to get back to Taynuilt. Alternatively, you could carry on along the Glen Lonan road, and over the next cattle grid, turn left up the track for the windfarm access and get to the top.
Fearnoch Forest. Go out of Taynuilt and just before the Fearnoch turnoff are some forestry tracks on the left. The Tourist Board has leaflets on cycling here, and it's possible to cycle up to Glen Lonan, just beyond whee the Balindor track comes out.
Loch Etive (East Side) The top half of this loch running north from Bonawe House is only approachable by boat or rough track, it is a fabulous, wild, unspoilt area, home of golden eagles, wild cat and seals. The track runs north from InveraweFisheries through forestry for the first mile before opening out to give wonderful views along the Loch. It is a there and back (up and down) route so it's up to you how far you go, remember all those hills have to be done again on the way back, the main places on route are:
Glen Noe-worth a walk up for the views of Ben Cruachan's northern corries. Also great waterfalls and dipping in the river locations up here.
Glen Liver - Hone of eagles and wild cats
Ardmaddy- Lovely golden sands
Glen Kinglass- A fantastic wild glen heading across to Victoria bridge
Loch Etive (west side) Start from Bonawe and follow the track along the side of the loch through some lovely pastoral land with great views. Much less hilly than the east side though, still a there and back route.
Glen Orchy (12 miles, steep up and down) Glen Orchy provides some exciting and hard mountain bike riding through the woods on the west side, with a return along the delightful single track road that runs through the glen. A description of this route and other forestry routes in the area is contained in a leaflet printed by the Forestry Commission and available at tourist information centres (usually there is one in our cottages) Forestry Commission contacts 01546 602 518 www.forestry.gov.uk
Victoria Bridge to Bonawe House (25 miles, rough and wild terrain) This is one of Scotland's great mountain bike routes, with single track, river crossings, and flat out forestry roads, all through terrain that is as wild as it gets. It is easiest to get the train from Taynuilt to Tyndrum Lower, and cycle from there along the West Highland Way to Bridge of Orchy, then turn west to Victoria Bridge via Inverarnan, then cycle off road through Glen Kinglas.