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West Highland Way

MuirieMuirie Posts: 34
edited June 2009 in Routes
Has anyone done the West Highland Way by bike.

If so, how long does it take, what kit is needed, hardtail or fullsus?

Me and a mate are looking at doing it over 2 days for chariy.

Cheers,

Muirie

Posts

  • gs3gs3 Posts: 249
    Did it in 12 hours for charity 2 years ago with support vehicle meeting up with us at various points along the way so we didn't need to carry too much kit or food each.
    Weather was perfect for the attempt - cloudy but bright (except the first two hours which were in the dark!) and little wind except Rannoch Moor.

    Quality hardtail with good forks and disc brakes would be adequate - lightweight full-susser even better! (Comfort is the priority if you haven't done this sort of distance before)

    There is a large section at North end of Loch Lomond which requires you to hike-a-bike for some distance so you will have to be able to pick up and carry it at some point.
    Alternatively - you can try to get the small ferry which runs from Rowardennan to Inverbeg and cycle the equivalent distance on the west side of the loch to Ardlui before rejoining the WHW proper.

    There is a lot of climbing to be done, especially towards the end where you enter the Nevis area but the route is almost completely rideable.

    Try to aim for a mid-week attempt as there are a lot of walkers on the route during holidays and at weekends. Not that this is a negative thing as everyone we saw said hello and wished us good luck, but it makes any of the descents that bit more enjoyable without worrying too much about what is round the next corner.

    Will you have a support team or are you taking all your own kit with you?
    With a support team/ van I would say 2 days is a comfortable attempt but unsupported I couldn't really advise. We were able to travel light and fast but actually missed out on a lot of the awesome scenery.
    If I was to do it again I would try over 2 to 3 days so I had time to see what I missed the first time.

    p.s. don't forget the chamois cream - aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Soothing.

    Whatever you decide, be prepared and have fun - no point in doing it otherwise.
  • MuirieMuirie Posts: 34
    Thanks GS3

    We are looking at carrying own gear and doing in 2 days.

    1st day to Tyndrum and rest on 2nd day.
  • RedJohnRedJohn Posts: 272
    I did it in 4 days staying in youth hostels. A small rucksack and seatpack were enough to carry all I needed. With a fully rigid bike (ya big girls :P ) in 1989.
  • gs3gs3 Posts: 249
    ...in the good old (true) hardcore days!! Respect where it's due!!
  • Pah Redjohn I did it in two days in 1998 on my rigid Raleigh Max and a 50 litre rucksack!

    Going to have an attempt at there AND back in the next few weeks. Encouraged to see that GS3 did it in 12 hours one way - I'm aiming for 24 hours for the round trip but not sure if it can be done.... well I'm sure someone can do it, but if that's me has still to be seen!
  • SJLcpSJLcp Posts: 239
    Am planning the trip later this month - am torn between my rigid MTB with panniers and wild camping or full susser and a saddle bag and using hotels? Would really like to try the wild camping option - rading up on the web it looks like most of the route is flat singletrack and very rideable - or am I wrong?

    Thanks
  • Just back from walking it (my poor bloody feet!).
    Planning on biking it next year and useing the baggage service availabe from TRAVEL-LITE 0141 956 7890, 07778 966 592. For few quid they transport your bags from daily departure point to arrival point (whether campsite, hostel or hotel ). Excellent service, especially for gnarlier bits at northern end of Loch Lomand and Devils Staircase. 90% of riders I met were opting for north to south route.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    The baggage service is really good... I've seen them help recover damaged bikes to shops for repairs as well, which was very good of them. Don't make a stop at beinglas farm campsite, it's a lovely site but totally infested with vampire midges :(
    Uncompromising extremist
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    yer gran wrote:
    Just back from walking it (my poor bloody feet!).
    Planning on biking it next year and useing the baggage service availabe from TRAVEL-LITE 0141 956 7890, 07778 966 592. For few quid they transport your bags from daily departure point to arrival point (whether campsite, hostel or hotel ). Excellent service, especially for gnarlier bits at northern end of Loch Lomand and Devils Staircase. 90% of riders I met were opting for north to south route.
    Done it both ways,IMHO North to south is the best,although the views are better south to north!!!We did it in 4 days S to N,7 days N to S but we also did the Great Glen Way north to South with it and had a rest day in Fort William 8) We stayed at Kingshouse(Glen Coe),Crianlarich and Balmaha.The section to the Northern end of Loch Lomond really is a long Hike-a-bike.I'd miss it out and take the ferry if i was to do the ride again.As said before watch out for the midges :(
  • I've done Tyndrum to Fort Bill twice, both times over-estimating the time taken to do it by splitting it over two days.

    First time I camped outside the Kingshouse, which had some excellent venison and nice Guinness. Second time I stayed in a hostel in Kinlochleven, far better as we got some ice climbing in at the Ice Factor and there are a few pubs in the village too.

    I too am thinking of doing it end to end in a day, probably won't be until around May I reckon as it'll be pretty baltic at the moment.

    The riding from Tyndrum up is excellent, the first stretch to Kingshouse isn't particularly strenuous but there are some fast descents to savour. The staircase is a 45 min push, but the ride down to Kinlochleven is lovely, rocky and techy in places, swoopy in others. Kinlochleven to Fort Bill is a big push followed by a long ride through the Lairig Mor, which is great in the dry but one big river in the wet (I've experienced both).
  • #9dream#9dream Posts: 1
    It's a great ride and definitely worth doing, although your ability to do it quickly will seiously depend on the weather. As mentioned above the northern end of Loch Lomond is a long rocky carry and I would certainly think about the ferry as an alternative.
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