2009 Summer Tour – Day 2 (Loch Tay – Oban)
The day began and finished with cloudless blue skies – for much of the day, we had puffy white clouds. Unfortunately this didn’t lessen the temperature, and part way through today’s ride, I had to stop wearing my helmet as a consequnce of the torrents of sweat pouring out of it. We decided to try and reach Oban today, a distance of over 70 miles, much of it on main trunk roads.
For me, the day began lethargically, and it wasn’t until Kenmore that we were rolling effectively. Kenmore lacks B&Bs, though there’s a good tearoom (closed when we passed), a hotel, and a number of what looks like holiday cottages. We paused at Kenmore to take a few photographs, in cluding one looking across to the Loch Tay Crannog Centre, featuring a reconstruction of a crannog, a prehistoric settlement built on a platform on stilts over water. From Kenmore, we pressed on via the road on the north side of Loch Tay – this is a fair bit easier the that on the south side, which is a recommended cycle route. There’s not much accomodation to be had other than the Lawers Hotel until you get to Killin, where there are plenty of B & Bs. En route to Killin, we passed a Google Streets photography car, though judging from the speed it was doing, we doubt it was active.Along the way,the landscape was excellent, with high mountains to our right (for example Ben Lawers) and the glassy smooth waters of Loch Tay to our left.
After a cream tea in tearoom at Killin, we set forth with an expected 55 miles or so to still to cover (this was at 12.00, with 23 miles already on the clock). Next point was Crianlarich, followed soon after by Tyndrum – neither are particularly interesting, but do offer food and accommodation, mostly aimed at the climbing fraternity. For the rest of the day, we contented ourselves with bananas and snack bars, washed down with warm water from our bottles (vaguely plasticky tasting after two days in the heat). At one point, we paused for Carol to relieve her hot feet in a stream, in order to stave off foot cramps.
Most of the route from Killin to Oban is rather dull trunk road, though it’s only as you get within 10 miles or so of Oban that the traffic gets quite bad. Most of the time, the gradients aren’t bad (the notable exception being last climb before Oban), and the tree-lined road is quite attractive, sometimes with aromas strangely reminiscent of oloroso sherry rising from the trees in the verge.
Reaching Oban, we found a B&B, showered, then went to wander round the town. On such a lovely evening, Oban was delightful, and we went to Ee-Usk – an excellent seafood restaurant down on the harbour – oysters followed by king scallops for me, Thai fishcakes followed by salmon and prawn mornay for Carol. After a final stroll round the town, we returned to the B&B.
76.74 miles; 11.4mph ave; 35.5mph max; 6:41:01 total distance 129 miles