The Chubby Cyclist takes the ‘Three Ferries’ route With Spring now upon us we thought it time to get back out on our bike again. For this Easter holiday issue we have chosen a route that involves ferries, islands and coasts. It not only offer wonderful views, but is a great inexpensive out for the whole family.” This is a very popular ride and on a good day you can expect to be joined by many fellow cyclists. It’s a really great outing involving; you guessed it, three ferry journeys. With a total of forty five miles to cover this may seem like a lot, but with three ferry rides to rest on for ten of your miles, the journey is broken nicely into manageable chunks of seven, nineteen and eight miles.
The other great thing about this ride is the choice of start points, Wemyss Bay, Gourock, Dunoon or Rothsay. We decided to start at the station car park in Wemyss bay. The first leg takes you to Gourock or the Western Ferries pier at McInroy’s point to be precise. This is a well-travelled route along the A78 taking the coast road to Gourock, distance of just under seven miles. An alternative could be to follow Cycle Route 753 through Kip Marina and along the Ardgowan foreshore, but that is for another day. The Western Ferries Clyde service will drop you neatly at Hunters Quay, Dunoon, in about 20 mins. The next leg of the journey takes you to the Colintraive/Rhubodach ferry which is a little over 19 miles depending on the route. On leaving the Western Ferry at Hunters Quay, turn right onto the A815, following this quiet main road past Hunters Quay Holiday Village to Sandbank and right again continuing on the A815 taking you up the left hand side of the Holy Loch. Continue until you come to a left hand turn onto the B836 where Colintraive is signposted. The going is easy at first with the road climbing gently up through the glen. The road turns into a much sharper climb Clyde Life Magazine
before reaching the top at Loch Tarsan. Following an exhilarating run down the other side, the road again climbs after Loch Striven, but both hill climbs are worth it for the fantastic views and the long downhill runs they lead to! Just remember if the hills are too much, you can always get off your bike and walk for a bit, it is not a training ride with Bradley and the boys! When the B836 joins the A886 take the left turn onto the A886 and a six-mile run towards Colintraive. After a couple of miles you can take the option of a further left turn onto the B886 to enjoy a lower level run, rejoining the A886 later – but if you still feel strong – stay on the A866 all the way. The hill climb is into Colintraive is not the worst but after 25 mile in the saddle, there is no need to be a hero! The waterside route is leafy and pleasant, with beautiful scenery and wildlife in abundance. The Colintraive Hotel is a good lunch spot. Opposite, the ferry from Colintraive to Rhubodach is waiting to take you the entire one minute crossing to the Isle of Bute. Once on Bute, head south on the A886, it’s a little over eight miles to Rothesay, along the rugged coastline road. The river views are beautiful with seal spotting is the main priority. Once in Rothesay the Calmac ferry takes us back to Wemyss bay. This is a longer trip but there is a bar on board and with our riding is over for the day, refreshment seemed logical! Point to Point: Wemyss Bay Station (Ferry terminal) loop Distance: 45 miles Time: 4-6hrs depending on ferry times and rest stops Difficulty: A couple of nasty climbs, but generally moderate depending on wind Speed and Direction! Equipment required: Any good quality bike will handle this – road bikes are most fun. Useful Links: www.western-ferries.com www.calmac.co.uk
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Published on Mar 6, 2014