A Trossachs Overnighter

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Rapideye
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:37 am

A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by Rapideye »

Over most of this year, I've headed home to Scotland quite a few times but sadly never managed to get a trip out. Finally, this time I’d leave Callander and head out in the evening and camp out either at Loch Venechar or Loch Drunkie, spend a day cycling around a loop through Aberfoyle, pick up the Lomond-Trossachs trail over the Loch Lomond, head up West Highland Way to Inversnaid, back past Loch Ard, round Loch Katrine and then back to Loch Venechar/Drunkie and camp at which one I didn’t camp at the night before. The next morning I'd cycle the short distance to pickup the car to head back to the folks.

Drove to Callander for about 17.30. About an hour later, I was at a spot by Loch Venechar. I’d been here a few years ago, not quite the same spot, that was under water. For the last few days, I’d been weather watching the incoming as Storm Agnes. Fortunately, the main impact would be on my main cycling day...40 mile winds and rains...but the forecast suggested it’d be calm-ish at evenings and during the night. That would do fine and how the first night panned out. It rained as I cycled to along the Loch but stopped to let me pitch the tent in the dry. A nice night was had.
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Next morning I packed up early. I was just inside the camping restricted area and thought maybe someone would turn up. In fact, I saw no one around Venechar at all. Maybe the forecast put people off? I cycled round to Drunkie and passed quite a few people in vans. Beautiful ride though and first time I’d been here. Made it to aberfoyle for a couple of coffees and a bacon roll. Something to keep me going towards Loch Lomond.

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Loch Drunkie

The ride through Queen Elizabeth Forest was also lovely and the 40mile wind was nowhere to be seen. Maybe it was hyped up? I passed a few hikers and some gravel bikers would pass me. I got to where I could split off to head down to Loch Chon. I very nearly took that road but stuck with the road over to Loch Lomond, as I thought I’d regret not carrying on. Hmmm....

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I continued on the road sign posted to Comer. The wind started to pick up, along with some showers. All was going good. I wasn’t fast but who cares. That road does get remote and at Comer I did wonder how people stayed there and how did they drive there? The views were amazing. I under-estimated how long it would take to make it across. I was looking around for Ben Lomond, thinking is that it? No, that one is bigger, so maybe that one? The wind did pick up and the 40 mile wind put in an appearance. Along with the rain. I stepped in boggy wash from the hills, well over my ankles. The bike got stuck and the sand and wash didn’t help the mechanics. Straight away the bike sounded pretty rough. On I went. The rain and winds made it tough but I was ok, kept determined and walked up some of the steeper climbs. Eventually, I made it over to view Loch Lomond from above. Now, that descent down is steep. Steep enough to walk down a lot of it. I didn’t want a fall or a mechanical.

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Eventually, I reached Loch Lomond and turned North on the WHW. I’d read about how bad the trail got after Inversnaid but didn’t realise it’d be mainly hike-a-bike the mile and half to get to the hotel too. That was a pain. What was worse was the trail Komoot suggested to take before the hotel to bypass it was barely a walking trail and meant dragging the bike up a steep muddy hill. I gave up after about 30mins and headed back to the hotel and the road around it.

The road past Loch Ard to Loch Katrine was welcome and didn’t take long. The wind and rain was getting to me a bit. The road around Loch Katrine was hillier than I thought it’d be and I tired. No surprise with my lack of bike miles and living in a county with no hills.

I nearly camped at Katrine but the lack of phone signal meant no one would know where I was. I stuck to my idea of heading back to Drunkie for the night. It was later than I thought it’d be at that point but eventually made it around. Saw a little red squirrel. Getting to the pier, I sent messages to update People to where I was and got a call almost straight away from My Dad to say my Mum had to go to hospital. Nothing serious but obviously I had to head back home, so cycled another hour or so, ending up at the car in the dark.

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I really was starving and ate quite a few of the the kid's haribo in the way back. Made it back to find out Mum had to stay overnight but nothing serious. Enjoyed a takeaway, couple of beers and a good nights sleep. Although I missed out on a second night out it was worth going out, even in that weather. Scenery was great, the ride both enjoyable, as well as a challenge in the weather.
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fatbikephil
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Re: A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by fatbikephil »

:-bd
Good stuff - it is really nice round there. I've never bivvied by either Loch Venechar or Loch Drunkie as it's always been ned central but I need to get out there over the winter sometime.
Autumn colours coming out nicely :-bd
Dean
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:03 am

Re: A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by Dean »

Rapideye wrote: Fri Oct 06, 2023 9:34 pmEventually, I made it over to view Loch Lomond from above. Now, that descent down is steep. Steep enough to walk down a lot of it. I didn’t want a fall or a mechanical.

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It is nice to see this view, when I went down this descent two weeks ago I did it at night with a faulty headtorch, also cooked a pair of brake pads to the metal. How I wish I had a FS for that track :-bd
Keith74
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Re: A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by Keith74 »

Looks great. Have spent a few nights in the bivy at loch Drunkie but mostly in winter as always thought it would be busy and full of numpties. There’s some brilliant riding round that area.
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Stay in the banks of Loch Fyne in Argyll.
Rapideye
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:37 am

Re: A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by Rapideye »

Dean - fair play for even going that way in the dark, Mate. And I'm not surprised about the brakes. I did consider going the loop the opposite way. Thankfully, I didn't. That climb would be brutal.

Keith - I thought there would be a lot of people around but only those in vans. No numpties at all.
Rapideye
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:37 am

Re: A Trossachs Overnighter

Post by Rapideye »

Phil...yes, It is close enough to attract casual campers. Last time I went, the Loch's level was a lot lower which gave camping spots outside the restricted area. Keith's idea of winter bivvys makes sense. The spots around the road area will end up busy. Lovely area though
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