Bike-Ben-Ben-Bike

Discussion in 'General Cycling' started by Ian Smith, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    Monday was a scorcher, by west of Scotland standards. I had the day off
    work and decided to tackle 2 mountains in the Arrochar Alps. It was also
    a perfect day for cycling, so got there from Clydebank on my hybrid-fixie
    conversion mentioned recently on this fine newsgroup.

    Thought I would share a few photographs. The scenery is spectacular, even
    with a bit of haze in the air. Some of the zoomed pics are a wee bit off
    focus; camera seems to have issues at fullest zoom (no big deal).

    http://www.1r5.net/bnc/

    It's 28 miles from Clydebank, up the west shore of Loch Lomond, to the
    village of Arrochar, where I locked the bike up and commenced ascent of
    Beinn Narnain (926m). It was fairly hard going, but Narnain is blessed
    with a very interesting climb, at least from the Arrochar side, with some
    scrambling on all fours, but nothing too intimidating for an
    inexperienced hill-walker such as myself. "Spearhead Gully" is the
    trickiest bit. The summit top is a huge flat football-field of a place; a
    good spot to have lunch and take in the splendid vista.

    Upon descending to the bealach (high valley) on the other side, I then
    went up "The Cobbler" (Ben Arthur, 884m). You'll see from the later
    photographs that this is a very unusual peak, with a really dodgy looking
    pinnacle at its summit, which I'm afraid I was too chicken to scale up.
    The rock has a hole which one crawls through to the exposed side (30m+
    drop), then somehow slither up to the top. People have died trying this!
    Several adventurous souls managed it this day, though. Maybe another
    time, with friends to encourage/guide/etc.

    Anyway, sorry about all the non-cycling content. However, it was a great
    feeling on the ride home to know that I had tackled 2 Highland peaks
    without the aid of motorised transport. This is the kind of day out which
    I would like to repeat with other bens in future. Consider myself lucky
    to have easy access within a days ride to areas of such outstanding
    natural beauty and to take in the breathtaking views from lofty heights.
    It is principally the fitness from cycling which has enabled me to do so,
    and long may it continue!

    Final Score: 1 Munro, 1 Corbett, 4 litres of water, 56 miles on bike, 1
    sunburnt body, dozens of aching muscles, 2 milkshakes on the way home, 1
    large pizza and bottle of red wine later. Oh, and 1 happy me. :)
     
    Ian Smith, Jul 7, 2011
    #1
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  2. Ian Smith

    Peter Clinch Guest

    <snip nice TR>

    Was good over on the east too. Kids did their longest ride on their own
    bikes yet with a 20km total to Broughty Ferry and back. One was a bit
    grumpy on the last mile but by bedtime it'd sunk in how far he'd gone
    and he was justifiably pleased with himself.

    We didn't take any nice pictures like you though :-(

    Pete.
     
    Peter Clinch, Jul 7, 2011
    #2
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  3. Ian Smith

    mrc7--urcm Guest

    In message <6O6Rp.12259$2>
    Great trip report and combining cycling with hillwalking is a great
    combination.

    On the camera issue I find that with one of my compact cameras that when
    using it at full zoom to take landscapes that I need to make sure the
    setting is on scene=landscape rather than on Program or Auto so as force
    the camera into focussing at infinity.

    Mike
     
    mrc7--urcm, Jul 7, 2011
    #3
  4. Ian Smith

    John Dunlop Guest

    Ian Smith:
    You struck it lucky with the weather.

    There's a hill a few miles from here I go fell running on, but I've never
    felt like leaving the bike in the walkers' car park for an hour or so. No
    worries in Arrochar though, I'd've thought.
    Cycle path or A82?
     
    John Dunlop, Jul 7, 2011
    #4
  5. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    20km is plenty for young kids. Well done! Hope the sun didn't burn too
    much. I forgot my hat on the climb. The lobster effect. :)
     
    Ian Smith, Jul 8, 2011
    #5
  6. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    Thanks; I hope to get in more peaks this way before the summer's out.
    There are a few more Arrochar Alps to be done, plus Ben Lomond another
    obvious one as well.

    The camera yes, I'll try one of those set modes next time and see if any
    different. At 18x, the maximum zoom is way more than one needs in normal
    situations, so I'm not too perturbed by it all, plus it was a fairly
    cheap camera.
     
    Ian Smith, Jul 8, 2011
    #6
  7. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    Yes, after our recent dreich weather, some decent sunshine was overdue.
    Arrochar seems like a reasonable place to leave a bike, but I don't have
    any local crime figures to back this up. A cable lock is obviously only a
    deterrent against casual theft. I did consider hiding the bike somewhere
    in the forest out of sight, but had visions of scouring the area until
    sunset, unable to remember where I left the damn thing. :)

    The A82 road is my preference for making good progress as it's generally
    a lot smoother/faster than the lochside path. At least between Balloch
    and Tarbet the road is nice and wide to allow easy passing. The path is
    great for a leisurely day out with the family though.

    I have previously cycled northwards from Tarbet (heading for Fort
    William) along the twisty narrow section and found it quite an
    experience. Extra care definitely required to negotiate that. There's no
    alternative pathway either.
     
    Ian Smith, Jul 8, 2011
    #7
  8. Ian Smith

    Phil Cook Guest

    Spotted your other half on the idiots lantern tonight. Prog recorded
    last night. I presume you know the other protagonists seeing as they are
    based at Ninewells.
     
    Phil Cook, Jul 8, 2011
    #8
  9. Ian Smith

    TerryJ Guest

    was this a program about digging up bodies of civil-war victims? I
    thought one of the names rang a bell during that.

    As for not taking a chance with the kids on a scramble I am reminded
    of a trip with my boys to Trevan when I withdrew from the climb having
    seen that low cloud was coming and we had not been before. The boys
    were very cheesed off. That weekend a man lost in the cloud fell to
    his death . I allways try to arrive home with the same number of kids
    that I left with.
    First time I did snowdon by the zig-zags I realised at one point that
    a slip off the metre wide track meant something like a thousand foot
    fall. At the top rocky lip a family dessed for shopping were lifting a
    pram with chlid in it over the edge intending to go down that way.

    I have avoided the loch lomond road since driving up it a long time
    ago. Is it really a reasonable cycle? I have done the A9 inverness to
    wick , which the ctc lejog leaflets advise is to be avoided, and found
    it mostly ok and not too bad at any point except just north of the
    bridge to black-isle.

    TerryJ
     
    TerryJ, Jul 10, 2011
    #9
  10. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    The A82 is ok for cycling up to Tarbet (about halfway). Northwards from
    Tarbet to the head of the loch, it's not for the faint-hearted, with many
    blind bends and much narrowness shared with lorries and tour coaches. I
    have cycled the entire road, and made sure to swing wide around those
    blind bends so that drivers approaching from behind would see me early.
    Also pulled in often to let traffic pass.
     
    Ian Smith, Jul 10, 2011
    #10
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