The Loch Striven ride
I did not have a camera back then, I am afraid. So no pictures from that tour. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Dunoon" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
I did the Loch Eck to Balloch over Rest And Be Thankful at the end of September 1997. I was pretty keen to go back to this area again the following year and this tour came up as a good idea. On a Sunday in July and after some other training tours, I set my mind on this tour.
I was a sunny Sunday morning when I arrived in Gourock after a two hours train journey from Alexandria through Glasgow.
The half an hour ferry tour from Gourock took me over to Dunoon
and the start of the tour. I was feeling fine when I took the coastal road from Dunoon towards Holy Loch and the start of the B836 and the hill climb over to Loch Striven. The climb up on this single track to the first hill at the dams at Loch Tarsan was desperate steep in the beginning before the road became pretty flat with only a small climb just before Loch Tarsan. The descent down to Loch Striven was a vertical drop. In particular when I spotted the very steep road on the other side of the loch. My heart sunk. The road around Loch Striven was OK before I started the desperate steep climb up to the hill over to Glendruel. I was suffering in the sun. The descent down to Glendruel was pretty hairy and I was happy when I arrived at the valley floor.
The ride up Glendadruel was pretty boring until I reached a bridge and the start of the climb up to a 250 meters above sea level big hill. The views over Loch Fyne were excellent and I arrived at Strachur after a hairy descent from this mountain.
The ride in to St. Catherines and the shop there (now closed) was pretty scenic. The climb from the fjord up to the hill above St. Catherine was pretty dull. I was glad when I arrived at the cross road and the B839 road over towards Lochgoilhead. This road was steep in the beginning, before it ended up in a vertical descent through Hell's Glen down to another crossroad. I was now in danger of running out of daylight and I very gratefully accepted a lift from this crossroad up the vertical hill and down to Rest And Be Thankful. Without this help, I would have been very marginal on time.
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. The ride down Loch Lomond past Luss was without problems and I was pretty happy when I arrived at Balloch.
A short ride from Balloch through Alexandria took me up the hill to my flat in Bonhill.
This ride has some good stuff and I will very probably do the ride over Loch Striven again. In fact, I did it the opposite way in 2008 on my way from Islay (see the Islay button). But I will definate not do the Hell's Glen again. It was a pretty horrible experience. I have done this ride once in my life and that's it. I therefore cannot recommend this ride.