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4 Stars 4 Stars

We rode this trail on Sunday 8th Sept 2013. This is a great loop route with fantastic views. Our route started at 50m from the Ardgarten Visitor Centre and went in the clockwise direction as recommended. The route begins with a level warmup on tarmac roads, but after 2km or so the surface switches to hardpacked forest vehicle tracks and commences a 100m vertical climb over the space of about 1km. The track then levels off for another 5km or so before kicking up again over the next 4-5 km by another 100m until you reach a lake (Corran Lochan @ 260m) for a tranquil lake view and most appreciated picnic table for a well earned rest. After this things get significantly more technical as you take a sharp right turn and head back north again but this time along about 6km of loose and rocky singletrack with some pretty challenging climbs which takes you up and over the routes first major peak @ 325m and then some equally challenging rocky decents until you are about 1500m from Lochgoilhead back near sea level where another potential snack stop awaits, however we pushed straight on. After a kilometer or so on a tarmac public road the ride switches back on to hardpacked forest tracks for the relentless and punishing climb all the way back up to 300m. Although I enjoy this punishing stuff it proved a little too much for my wife who "hit the wall" half way up the climb and so we ascended at a very steady pace. After this climb is apparently a fantasticly fast descent, but my wifes legs had waved their wite flag, and the prospect of a further 30m of climbing to reach was too much, so at thefork in the tracks just south of Loch Restil we took the lower (left) track back to the A83 rather than the higher (right) track of the acutal route. This was still a great 2-3 km descent and then joined the A83 and spun back downhill to the Ardgarten Visitor Centre at a nice smooth 20-25mph. :0) The only problems were encountered regarded some of the signage. Having the etched posts with bikes painted in different colours for the different routes is a good system, but on bright days when they are in shade you have to ride right up to them to differentiate the different colours as they all look dark. Also, in a couple of places where the road splits the signs are placed immediately before the split rather than after which makes it impossible to know for sure which route to take without the aid of an OS map, which fortunately we had with us. Also in one place there was a cycle sign with a right arrow underneath, but only when you get up close do you reailse this is for a completely different trail which is written inside the arrow. The signage at the gate just above and around Lochgoilhead is also tricky and again an OS map helped us out (Hint, go over the gate and down towards the town then keep going straight ahead on the tarmac road for about 1.5KM until you see a path to the right) Overall 5 Stars for the Route but -1 for confusing signage which could cost you lots of time and effort if you take the wrong path.

Vacheron, 11/Sep/2013

Fancy doing this Route.have a Hybrid bike with cross Tyres could you Tackle on this?or is it Purely off Road Mountain?

Derek Mitchell, 4/Sep/2013

The Ardgartan peninsula circuit is a physically demanding route (a lot of it is uphill) but in terms of bikes, a good hybrid with decent cross country tyres should be fine as it's mostly on forest road. However it might be a bit bumpy over the Duke's Path between Ardgartan and Lochgoilhead which is single track, if the bike has no suspension.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We have some local knowledge and found the signage reassuring but route finding could be difficult for visitors

Ian Duncan, 29/Aug/2013
3 Stars 3 Stars

Ardgarten to the Point where Loch Goil/Loch Long meet is ok and well marked. Not explored beyond (yet). A map showing the whole route but particularly at the Point at Loch Goil where the route seems to run out would be helpful....or is it a case of follow the high route to Loch Goilhead? Nrthnwills 06/0513

Anonymous, 6/May/2013
1 Star 1 Star

Done part of this route last month found the sign posting confusing and misleading resulting in me taking the wrong route and bringing me to a dead end on a number of occasions. Some of the red marker paint has faded making it difficult to follow the route. Also after going down Dukes pass and just before Lochgoilhead a tree has fallen down over the track which needs looking at as if going fast you will hit it. Better signage needed at the Jcn of Lochgoilhead and were the Cowal penisular walk starts as there is no indication as to which way to go and i took the wrong route.

Davy, 19/Jun/2012

Thanks for this. I'll pass it to the local team to see if they can improve the markers.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Brilliant cycle route very well waymarked the veiws stunning the downhill though Glen Croe was welcome.Is the Coillissen Glen able to be cycled?

Carole 12 july 2011, 12/Jul/2011

There is a cycle route waymarked which takes in part of Coillessan Glen as well as part of the Ardgartan shore, it is approx 14km long and moderate to difficult in places.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I cicyle the circler route on average 5 times a year. I find the route both rewarding and challenging. A good endurance route that tests your cycling skills and fitness level. The scenery along the way is fantastic.

Jim Brown, 27/Apr/2011

A map would be good.....!

Anonymous, 30/Jul/2010

Thanks for your comments - we'll pass them on and see if we can get something sorted out..

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Nice morning's ride, especially so close to Glasgow. The climb up from Lochgoilhead is a killer tho - several km's of constant up hill just about killed me.

Niall, 23/Nov/2009
4 Stars 4 Stars

Scenic and enjoyable ride but suggest a mountain bike given some of the terrain. also suggest you need to have a good few miles under your belt to do the full circuit as the climbs can be challanging. However, an exhilarating ride.

KB, 18/Nov/2009
4 Stars 4 Stars

A cycle route with truly stunning views, however, this is a lungbuster of a route with serious amounts climbing. The Duke's Pass section is fabulous fun with some technical rocky climbs and descents which had as all grinning by the time we reached Lochgoilhead. Be wary of walkers as you descend back down to the Ardgarten Visitors Centre.

JK, 5/Oct/2009

3hrs to do 20 miles!!!!!

Anonymous, 13/Aug/2009