Fort William to: Ballachulish-Oban
OK, I do like the Cat and Fiddle, but lets get this straight, there is no road on earth, even Route 1 in the US, that comes close to the stretch from Ballachulish to Oban. Twisty? You get sweaty just bimbling along, there are virtually NO straights at all on this road, yet there is also next to no traffic most of the time. The section from Fort William is absolutely fabulous if you enjoy high speed cornering, er, very high speed, like close to the top end of a modern sportbike, so I am told, of course...
After Ballachulish, tighten up those sliders and drop your shoulders and bend your arms and get ready for a workout...some really grippy surfaces (tho some are really, really shite in the damp), interesting blind corners, great crests for wheelying - normally crossed up, making you feel a right hero, even though it just sort of happens anyway...
There is one section, and I can't remember exactly where, along the coast, where the road goes out into the sea almost, in little penisulas which are made up of 230 degrees corners (yes, they DO come back on themselves) of a constant radius, taken at a reasonable (above 60) pace. There are about 8 of these all in a row on FLAT grippy tarmac, try not to faint with pleasure...you need spare sliders for the return journey, or even half-way through...
TRERURELFOOT ROUNDABOUT to: TORPOINT
VERY FAST TWISTY ROAD WITH LONG SWEEPERS AND A FEW SHARP ONES THAT CAN CATCH YOU OUT IF NOT CONCENTRATING, FROM ROUNDABOUT HEAD TOWARDS POLBATHIC-FIRST SET OF BENDS ARE VERY GOOD SURFACE (AS IS MOST OF ROUTE)AFTER THEM SOME VERY FAST SWEEPERS INTO POLBATHIC, GOOD IDEA TO SLOW FOR SMALL VILLAGES!(SHEVIOCK) KEEP ON THIS ROAD ALL THE WAY TO TORPOINT AND THERE ARE TWO VERY FAST LONG CURVES BUT BEWARE OF PICNICKERS EXIT ON ONE OF THEM, COUPLE OF VERY LONG FLAT OUTish STRAIGHTS, WHEN REACHING TORPOINT TURN AROUND AND DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AS A LOT OF RIDERS DO AND AFTER HAVIN A BLAST OR THREE THERE IS WINDY RIDGE FOR MEALS/COFFEES ETC OR LITTLE CHEF/PETROL STATION ON ROUNDABOUT BEWARE OF PLOD SOMETIMES PARKED UP IN BENDS WAITIN TO GET SLIDERS HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Uttoxetor to: Sandon (Staffs.)
A great road for experts and novices alike, but watch out for the latter if you are the former!!. A good selection of well sighted bends, sweepers, and a cracking flat out straight, but do watch for mud on the road as this means the local farmers are out and about. stop at the pub on the left as you complete the run and have an orange juice outside and wave to other bikers going the other way(back to uttoxetor) A super evening run in the summer...especially on a 600 bandit.
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.
The routes on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.