Glencoe to: Glencoe
Throughout its length from Glasgow to Inverness the A82 is a joy. An A-road metelled for bikers - it doesn't so much change direction as gracefully sweep with a confident camber and no road furniture. It's almost as if you'd laid the tarmac yourself.
The bonnie bonnie banks of loch Lomond set the tone for the whole route as the road clings to the magnificent landscape. On through the splendour of Glencoe and past loch Ness (an opportunity to spot some of the more elusive wildlife such as Nessiteras rhombopterix) on to Forts William & Augustus - no boring straight Roman road here. Here you can see so far ahead it's unreal. There's nothing, absolutely nothing coming. Just breeze by and smile. During the summer the A82 is littered with Germans and the Scot's old ally the French. They come here in droves - well, cars and bikes. Perhaps they are overawed by the Alps and come here for scenery that's a bit less severe. Even with holiday traffic there's that sense of freedom, a feeling that simply glides you along this ride to remember.
The highpoint of the A82 is the stretch Bridge of Orchy, over Rannoch Moor through Glencoe to Ballachulish. Reverse the trip to double your pleasure. From the Bridge of Orchy the snaking black ribbon climbs rapidly as the Moor opens out before you. 1000 metre peaks fence in the vast, intimidating bog. Don't hang about as it could be Scotland's own Area 51. Lean and flow quicksilver across the elevated expanse of peat and rock. The Three Sisters wait to swallow you into fast approaching valley. As the sides begin to loom now you ease off. The roadside crash barriers give away the vital sign. Find your religon and pray to the great god Michelin as the clear opening bends invite you and your bike to shine. You're bathed in stunning landscape with heather, bracken and conifers partially clothing the huge great lumps of towering rock. Fresh mountain air and that immense feeling that the bike is part of the road. That big grin creeps over your face and sets hard.
This is perfect for that long get-away-from-it-all weekend. A chance to clear the lungs and recharge the head. Whether you're a bumbag or tank bag or full panier kit biker there's no problem finding a place to kip & scoff as the area is dotted with B&Bs, guest houses, hotels and hostels and of course - campsites. Grab petrol at any one of a number of modern or quaint stations. This is where they make Scotch Mist so check with Bill Giles first. The Ballachulish Hotel and The Kingshouse Hotel afford more comfort than most around here - and the Youth Hostel in Glencoe is spot on. The Clachaig Inn serves good food and decent ales - but won't serve Campbells!
In Glencoe stands a stone cross to commemorate the MacDonald's massacre by the Campbells. Down the road in South Ballachulish is a monument to James Stewart who was wrongly hanged for his alleged part in the massacre. If the tales of blood, guts and betrayal in the Visitor Centre don't put you off your food then head for the Fish & Chip caravan or local Spar. The Thunderace's brakes are tested just once as a deer bounded into the road - at least the flat cap in the Volvo is half predictable. After all this is sheep and deer country. It's also skiing country - either the dry or the snowy variety - we could try anything once. Whisky distilleries are scattered here and there to tempt you once the bike is tucked up safely.
Once you head has cleared the A82 has tributaries that each in turn lead to something special. And for my next trip... Wonder up to Ben Nevis or nip over the Corran Ferry to Strontian & Ardnamuchan? Twist down the A828 to Oban and perhaps a ferry to Ireland? Whistle up the A87 over the sea to Skye or catch the A830 to Mallaig? The strange roundabout at Ballachulish could prompt a few circles whilst you decide which way to go. Sod it! Let's go back up the glen just one more time.
Corran Ferry to: Fort William
OK so the A82 from Dumbarton up to Fort William is one of the most scenic roads in Scotland but the wee detour will add enourmously to your journey. Take the Corran Ferry, just past Onich, 7 miles south of Fort William, over to Ardgour and follow the sign for Strontian. Fabulous scenery, quiet single track roads. Good food at Strontian, Salen Acharacle. You could go the whole hog and turn left at Salen for Ardnamurchan Point, the most Westerly point on the UK mainland. Fantastic beaches at Sana, Ardtoe. Castle Tioram just past Acharacle is worth a visit before they restore it. World class resteraunt at Kinlochmoidart. Epic road from Strontian over to Polloch. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE BEEN ON A ROAD LIKE THIS ****EVER.
Creagan to: Creagan
The A828 used to take a detour all the way around Loch Creran until a bridge was built on the coast. This has left a six mile oxbow of old A-road abandoned with only one house on it and virtually no traffic whatsoever. And it is the most amazing bit of road, hugging the loch it is a never ending series of bends, sweepers, switch backs and blind rises. Going north, pass over the new bridge and keep your eyes open for a small sign saying local traffic only. The is the entrance to the Creaganring. Have fun.
Inverary to: Inverary
Approach to Inverary from A82/A83 from Glasgow is entertaining and gorgeous but the true twisty stuff is to come...This is a circular route from Inverary up to Oban and back. Either go via Lochgilphead on the A83 (awesome twisty and spectacular views of Loch Fyne) or the other way on the A819/A85 to Oban which is as good with Loch Awe appearing at what seems like odd times thru the trees. Once you get to Oban there are plenty of places to stop and fuel you and your machine before taking the route back. Time of year is important as mid winter when I did it was well hairy! And summer finds acres of tourists in caravans and coaches.
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