Argyll Alps 200km
Route can be found on ridewithgpshttps://ridewithgps.com/trips/30271405
This events starts in Gourock on the shores of the River Clyde heading west to the ferry terminal at McInroys Point for the short trip across the Clyde to Hunter Quay
Turning right from the ferry terminal you follow the shores of the Holy Loch to join the A815 which continues around the loch until you turn off on to the A880 signposted for Kirn. This road hugs the coast the Holy Loch turns in to Loch Long as you round the headland. The road itself narrows to a single track just past Blairmore. A little further on you reach Ardentinny which will be the first information control.
After the rather easy start the first climb of the day starts soon after the control, the climb steepens as you progress up the hill eventually being rewarded with a panoramic view of the area and a rather fast descent – take care on the way down as sightlines are restricted in places.
At the bottom you turn right re-joining the A815 for a fairly flat run along Loch Eck and Loch Fyne until just after St Catherines where the road start to rise again before turning off the main road onto the B839 to Hells Glen with a nice descent down to the junction with the B828 (take care at the bottom as there are a couple of sharp turns on the road just before the junction) and the next control
Turning right after the control and it’s the climb back out of the glen to the top of the Rest and Be Thankful, this is a tough climb which steepens as you move on up the hill. The view at the top is worth the effort – honestly
Once at the summit the road joins the A83 and turning left to drop down through Glen Kinglas heading towards Inveraray. This gives a slightly better opportunity to enjoy the scenery as well as the speed on this pleasant decent. Close to the bottom of the descent the route takes a right turn and rejoins the A815 in the direction of Dunoon. The route takes us to back to Strachur before taking a right turn on to the A886, there is a small shop/café on the right just after the junction it might be as well to stock up here as there is not a lot available until you get to Tighnabruaich .
After a few more flat kilometers the climbing begins again this time a long steady climb up the main road heading towards the next control at Glendaruel. Once at the top of the climb there is an enjoyable fast descent on open roads, followed by a run along the valley to the control.
After the control the route turns right on to the C11, a minor road which takes you up the hardest climb of the day, known locally as the Ballochandrain. It’s very steep near the bottom and eases off just a little for pretty much most of the climb so pick your gear early as you are unlikely to be changing it too often on the way up. This road has little traffic but once at the top the decent is fast and sight lines are restricted in places so take care just in case there is oncoming traffic.
Once at the bottom you turn left onto the B8000, this stretch of road has some rather sharp up and downs so save the legs as there’s lots more climbing to come. Once at Millhouse , you cross the junction heading for Ardlamont Point and the next control point before continuing round toTighnabruaich, however the views around this area are well worth it so enjoy it if you can.
There a few places in and around Tighnabruaich to buy food so stock up on supplies as there is not much else available until Dunoon - so be warned
Once at Tighnabruaich the route joins the A8003 out of town in the direction of Dunoon, the climb out of town is pretty steady and lasts for a few km as we meet up with Loch Riddon and enjoy views of the Kyles of Bute which is well worth a photo stop as well as a good excuse for a rest
The joys of going up hills are that there is always a down and the drop down from the top is fast and open. At the road end the route takes a right turn to join the A886 again with another up and over climb to the final control before the penultimate control at Colintraive.
Then it’s a turnaround up over the hill again before turning right on to the B836 and the last lot of hills before the end of the route. Up and over the first hill, off in the distance you will see the dam at Loch Tarsan which is where the route heads, but first there is a rather fast and tight decent (so take care) before edging round Loch Striven then the last pull up hill to get a closer look at Loch Tarsan followed by a gentle desc¬¬¬¬¬¬ent along Glen Lean to rejoin the A815.
The last little bit now as the route takes you back along the edge of the Holy Loch and the left turn on the coastal road to Hunter’s Quay for the ferry trip back to Gourock.
The ferry only takes twenty minutes to make the crossing and once over the other side it’s only a few km back to the centre of Gourock and the end of the route.