The Glendruel ride




May 2006
135 km



My camera was malfunctioning that day. So no pictures.



Background

I was in need of a good ride that month. For some reason, which had probably to do with my free trainpass on the Glasgow to Wemyss Bay line, I chose this tour. I had done Glen Druel some years before and I renamed it Glen Dull. A very fitting name on this valley and the rest of this tour. It is a great shame that my camera was malfunctioning (flat batteries) because I wanted to take some pictures and then never do this tour again. But I guess I will return to this valley again next yeasr and then add photos to this tour.


The weather forecast was sunny and sunny it was on this Sunday morning. I arrived in Wemyss Bay after a forty minutes long train journey and took the thirty five minutes long ferry tour to the very scenic Rothesay at Isle Of Bute. The ride up the east coast of Bute was reasonable flat and scenic past Port Bannatyne with only one minor hill before I arrived at the next ferry, half an hour too early for the first sailing of the day. I could almost touch the shore on the other side. Not at least, the ferry on the other shore. But I still had to wait for half an hour. The midges had a feast on my unprotected body. Just to add insult to injury, this is where I found out that the camera was dead. I was not happy when the ferry arrived for this five minutes journey over to the mainland at Colintraive.

The road out of Colintraive was firstly pretty flat before I came to a crossroad between the old and the new road. I was stupid enough to choose the new road and that meant a dead boring steep hill climb and a dull descent down to the sea again at the beginning of the Glendaruel valley. The cycling here is pretty boring and so is the valley. Sorry if I am offending anyone here, but I call it Glen Dull. The road up along some farmfields and a campsite finally ended up at a bridge where the road started to climb pretty steeply up through a forest and up to a moor where the climb topped out at around 250 meters above sea level. The views over Loch Fyne was excellent on the descent down to the sea and along the fjord to Strachur.

Unfortunate, Glendaruel and the sun had taken it's toll. I was pretty tired and the round over Rest And Be Thankful was not tempting. But neither was admitting defeat too and cross over to Dunoon again. So after some food, I continued up Loch Fyne to St.Catherine and the beginning of the climb which was taking me over to the Oban to Glasgow road and the proper climb up to Rest And Be Thankful. The climb from St. Catherine was pretty boring and hard enough for me and my tempo pretty slow. I finally reached the proper climb through Glen Kinglass and after spending far too long on this climb, I reached Rest And Be Thankful.
I was both bored out of my skin and tired. I continued down the hill and in to the head of Loch Long to Arrochar. A smaller hill took me over to Tarbet and Loch Lomond. I was pretty dead now and suffering from cramps. A small climb took me up to the start of the cycle path down Loch Lomond. I really like this cycle path and both my mood and my tempo picked up. I was soon in Luss, one of the prettier places in Scotland. At least from the pier. The customary ice cream followed (a 99 as it is called) and I set off again over the flatlands to Balloch.
I was considering taking the train from Balloch to Paisley again. But a quick glance at the clock and the long que of people with the same idea as mine meant that I went for Erskine Bridge instead. I went down over my old haunts at Bonhill and bypassing Dumbarton again before I ended up at Old Kilpatrick where I found the bridge and the road from that bridge over to Renfrew again. I was dead meat and totally finished off. I spent the rest of the night with cramps and badly burnt skin.


Conclusion



This tour seems excellent on the map. The reality is rather different though. I don't like the road at all from Glendadruel over to Rest And Be Thankful. This tour is very dull. But you can be pretty sure I will do it again. Mostly just to get some good pictures for inclusion in this guide. But there is around twenty other rides in this area I would rather do than to repeat this ride again. I do not recommend this tour at all for reasons I have already explained.